Flooded Basement? Here Are Some Common Causes
Have you ever walked down to the lower level of your home into a surprise pool of water? A flooded basement is the last thing any homeowner wants to experience, but unfortunately it does happen pretty often. Any sort of water or flooding in your home is not only frustrating, but also serious. Water-related injury to a home can lead to extensive damages to walls, floors, personal items, etc. Severe flooding can also lead to dangerous mold and this mold can come with the need for expensive mold remediation services. There are several reasons why your basement may be flooded, and there are also ways to proactively prevent these incidents from happening.
A flooded basement can happen during both dry and wet weather, depending on the root cause.
Potential Causes Of A Flooded Basement In Dry Weather –
- A blocked, failed, or damaged sanitary lateral – A sanitary sewer lateral is the pipe that connects your plumbing to the public sanitary sewer system. These pipes can degrade over time. Another way that these pipes commonly get damaged are due to roots growing through and penetrating them. This can result in a sewage backup. Additionally, if you have a septic system and are not properly maintaining it (regularly pumping it, and being conscious of what’s being flushed), this could lead to a blockage that can cause a backup in your pipes as.
- Water supply-line or hot-water tank failure – A flooded basement can be a result of a break in a home’s water supply line/plumbing or your hot-water tank. This could be the result of several things; old plumbing, punctures during construction, or freezing pipes. If your water heater is leaking, since it is programed to fill automatically, when there is a leak, the unit will continue to refill as water leaks out, potentially leading to flooding.
- Failing washer hoses – If your washing machine hoses are old, they may be more prone to failure and may struggle to withstand the pressure. If these hoses do fail, you can potentially have a very large amount of water pouring into your basement.
Potential Causes Of A Flooded Basement In Wet Weather –
- Overland flooding – Overland flooding refers to flood waters flowing from an outside source or body of water. There may be nearby depressions in pavement or surfaces that collect water in storms and/or you may live close to a water source. In severe weather, these areas may overflow and flood onto your property towards your home’s foundation. Proper grading can generally help to avoid basement flooding due to overland flooding.
- Foundation drainage failure – Generally speaking, a home’s drainage system is designed to promote the movement of rainwater away from the home.
- Seepage – If a water table rises, this allows the opportunity for water to enter the basement through cracks in the foundation. Cracks can be a result of settling or deterioration due to age.
- Grading – Positive grading helps to direct water away from your home’s foundation by sloping away. Negative grading slopes towards your home, which directs storm water right to your foundation.
- Sump pump failure – Some basements use a sump pump (or several sump pumps) to help with drainage of groundwater. Sump pumps can safely and effectively pump excess water above the foundation and away from it. However, if the sump pump is not working properly, or can’t keep up with the amount of water, the groundwater level can rise to a point where it flows up and out of the sump – leading to a flooded basement.
- Weeping tile failure – Weeping tiles are pipes that discharge underground water from around the perimeter of your home. Exterior weeping tiles manage water at ground level and are typically placed in a trench around the home. Interior weeping tiles can be used if exterior tiles have failed. If these tiles deteriorate or are not working properly, you may be dealing with major flooding in your basement. Maintaining and keeping your weeping tiles clean is key in ensuring its functionality.
- Gutter system – As part of your home’s drainage system, your gutter system is designed to channel rain water away from your home’s foundation. If your gutters are installed incorrectly, clogged, or damaged, they will not work properly and this can lead to pooling water by your home’s foundation, and/or water backing up into your home. In extreme storms, this pooling around your foundation can seep in through cracks or can begin to wear out your foundation due to continued water exposure.
When dealing with a flooded basement, you want to contact your plumber as soon as possible to remedy the problem quickly, and hopefully avoid larger damages. If you suspect the water is due to a plumbing issue, make sure to turn off the main water line to prevent further flooding and damages, and call your emergency plumber immediately. Cleaning up the water as best you can, and as quickly as possible is a good idea. The quicker walls, rugs, and floors are dried out, the less chance there is of mold growth.
While not all reasons for a flooded basement are due to plumbing issues, many are. In emergency situations, Kulk’s Plumbing & Heating offers 24-hour plumber services. We know how important it is to protect your home and we are here to help you with any and all plumbing needs. Regularly participating in plumbing maintenance is a great proactive way to preserve your pipes, and plumbing components to help avoid these emergency situations. Additionally you should be regularly maintaining and cleaning gutters, properly landscaping your yard to foster positive grading, inspecting and repairing foundation cracks, inspecting and repairing sewer and septic, and maintaining your sump pumps.