11 Jul The Dreaded Flooded Basement
We don’t like to be the bearers of bad news, but even if you don’t live on a floodplain, or anywhere near a river for that matter, basement floods should be a concern. In fact, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, floods are typically the most damaging natural disaster in America, and with over $3 billion in claims every year, they’re no ignorable foe.
Every basement is prone to flooding. Period. The reason for this is simple – gravity! Water flows from high ground to low ground, putting your basement, or any underground space, at risk of being inundated with the wet stuff. Your new, unwanted indoor pool may be filled by:
Heavy rainfall over a short period of time saturates the ground around your basement, and can even push itself through the cracks in your foundation, leaking into your personal space. This excessive moisture can sometimes overload basement waterproofing systems that were put in place to avoid this exact situation.
One way to avoid this predicament is to make sure your lawn slopes away from your home, directing the runoff rainwater to a less destructive destination. Do yourself a favor and take a quick lap around your home during the next storm. If you see puddles forming right up next to your foundation, you might want to call in the cavalry.
A landscaper, drainage contractor, plumber, general contractor, or waterproofing contractor can help out with the saturated soil by installing French drains which help direct rainwater away from your home. These are basically just trenches filled with gravel or rock, or with a perforated pipe that redirects surface groundwater.
Water heaters, washing machines, etc. are usually located in basements, and their pipes can freeze, leak, or burst without warning. If your flooded basement is due to a burst water supply, you should try to shut off the incoming water valve (if it’s safe to do so of course) to help minimize the damage.
Or (are you sitting down?) Possibly Even Sewer…
Most suburban homes have a sewer line that is buried lower than the basement floor. This is so used water from toilets (and tubs, and sinks) can be carried away without incident. But what if this line gets clogged, or damaged? If this happens, you are now at risk of having that wastewater rush right back into your home. Sometimes you might not want to get too close to that flooded basement…
Are you considering the purchase of a home that’s on the mend after suffering a flooded basement? It is important to understand the extremity of the damage, and to determine if this is a recurring problem. Work with an inspector to have the water damage assessed. Be sure the bid you submit to the seller takes these elements into consideration.
Water evaporates, but the damage it causes may not be visible as it slowly ruins your home. Mold and mildew don’t just impact the structural integrity of a house, they are known to cause eye irritation, sneezing, nasal issues, skin irritation and other, more serious health concerns.
Remember: when pipes break, rain runoff seeps through cracks, roofs leak, or sewers back up, time is of the essence. If the previous owners of that home didn’t act quickly and thoroughly, the memory of that flooded basement may not just be a memory…it could be an ongoing problem that you just aren’t prepared to deal with.