Water In Your Basement Can Cause Damage
There are a few things you’ll need to know to protect your home’s basement from the unexpected. Unwanted water in your house can be a big problem, so prevention is the key. Whether water is spilling out of your home from a blockage in your pipes, or from “backflow”—waste stemming from the sewer system flowing back in the home—water problems in your basement can wreak havoc on your lifestyle, not to mention your wallet. You’ll want to stay ahead of the game and prepare your home for any unforeseen plumbing trouble.
7 Things To Do To Prevent Basement Disaster:
1. Keep basement clutter free from storm drains
Nothing’s worse than having water problems. What can add to the dilemma is having too much stuff near and around the very drains or walls water can enter in from.
2. Protect valuables by raising furniture with blocks
Valuable items such as photo albums, paper documents, and antique furniture are typically stored in basements. Unwelcome waste or water seeping in from drains or walls can damage these precious items. Often times, finished basements include heirloom furniture pieces, large screen televisions, charged cords and intricate electronics. If these electrical items get wet, there’s a safety hazard for you and your family.
3. Maintain outside house soil grades so that they’re sloping away from home
If you see any part of your foundation revealed, build soil inclines, sloping away from the house. Use clay based soil to slope water away from your home, as regular dirt absorbs water faster and can melt down your desired incline from your home’s exterior walls.
4. Regular plumbing assessments and snaking out sewer system drains are essential
Invest in plumbing maintenance by having your sewer drains snaked out at least once a year. A power snake with sharp cutting blades should be used to cut through unruly tree roots.
Tree roots can grow and invade your sewer system up to 10 years after the tree causing the problem has been removed. Tree roots are thirsty and thrive on any water that’s available in the drainage system. Roots can extend 8-10 feet longer than the longest branch of the tree, so sledge and root remnants can still be found in your pipes long after tree removal.
5. Take inventory of possessions
In the event of a flood, inventory details of your home can be the most important thing you do in recovering precious items in your home, especially in your basement. What’s documented is what’s accounted for. Make sure you include photos and checklists of your valuables. Inventory professionals can assist you in staying proactive in this process.
6. Check insurance company for adequate plan coverage
Nothing’s worse than water in your basement other than not being covered properly. Based on your geographical area, previous claims, or any unique coverage extensions, state laws and insurance rules can change. It’s important that you have and continually check your homeowner (or rental contract) policy details. Remain proactive by speaking with your insurance underwriter agent that will periodically have a conversation with you about your specific basement coverage.
7. DO NOT let things get worse
It’s much better to be diligent with plumbing maintenance than to wait until basement problems escalate. Most people wait until it’s too late to contact a professional Plumber. Remember: Water damage is already done when there’s an emergency call.
If installing a drain system is what you need, you’ll want on honest assessment as to which system is best for your issue. The last thing you want is to be told that you need to bust up your front yard, walls, and concrete basement floors, if all you really need is regular plumbing maintenance.
Should you need a more elaborate perimeter drainage system installed, look for a plumbing company you already trust to recommend to you the proper solution—and the most cost effective solution for your individual basement needs.
Do the job right the first time. If you have a less invasive above-slab gutter system installed by suggestion, and three months later you still have water problems, you’ve wasted time and money. When you can rely on a good plumbing company, you’ll know they won’t steer you wrong. If a complex under-floor drainage system was what you really needed, you’d want to know sooner than later.
Look For Common Basement Water Problems
If you’re experiencing basement trouble, first determine where the water is coming from. A broken pipeline can often be the culprit, however blockage is typically the reason for water problems. Blockage is caused by roots that have overgrown into the line, or by something that was flushed down the toilet and got lodged in the drain pipe.
Surface water: Runs down foundation walls; possible causes:
- Overflowing gutters or downspouts due to leaves or debris
- Downspout distance is not far enough from the home structure (10 feet or further from the house is ideal).
- Pavement settles over time and can slope towards the home
- Low landscape slopes around the perimeter of the home
- Irrigation system might be too close to the home or system doesn’t have a rain gauge
Subsurface groundwater: Soils that push into basement by hydrostatic pressure
If you determine that it’s not surface water, groundwater may be the cause.
This problem can be more extensive and costly to fix. Subsurface groundwater is when ground levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor. Your basement acts like a boat sitting in a lake, where leaks can occur through holes and open cracks. Hydrostatic pressure can push water and saturate soils around your house, causing water to soak through multiple basement locations such as hairline cracks in your walls or your concrete floors.
If your home is older house and your basement has no sump pump, it’s likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects into the city storm sewer system. And, if the level of your basement is below street level, there’s potential for storm water backing up in the city storm sewer system. As a result, this water gets pushed into your perimeter foundation drain system.
Storm sewer water: Municipal storm sewer system that backs up existing perimeter foundation
Homes built before 1980 typically have an exterior drain at the level of the basement that runs to the street, where it connects to the city sewer system. As communities develop and there’s more rain runoff, the sewer systems are too small to handle the increased load. Rainwater within the sewer system can get so high, that water can flow backwards into your house.
Often, an interior perimeter basement drain system connected to a sump pump can solve your problem. On occasion, a more expensive process is needed and your perimeter foundation drain can be dug up and capped. However, this pipe may also serve to drain sanitary waste from toilets and sinks into your house. An experienced professional can address these types of advanced water problems.
Sanitary sewer water: A clog in the municipal sewer line or from home’s sewer line, causing sewer water to come up through lower level floor and sink drains
Sewer backups are often caused by water backing up from the municipal sanitary sewer system. During heavy rains, city systems get overwhelmed with water, backing up in your home sewer system. Swelling sewer lines can be caused by individual service lines plugged up by waste, tree roots, or grease. Other causes include broken pipes, saturated ground material, obstructive vandalism, or large items dropped down manholes.
Sewer flooding is an enormous problem for homeowners because fecal waste can back up into your basement, presenting a serious health hazard. Many times, municipalities are involved in the solution.
If it’s a larger sewer problem, ask your Plumber if you should install valve back flow preventers to help stop sewer water from flowing backward into your home. Pouring tree root killer down your toilets once a year can also go a long way in preventing sewage backups as well.
Stay Prepared and Keep Pipelines Clear
Home water damage can be a major setback in your financial planning, not to mention a possible loss of valuables. Regardless of the reason, water problems in your basement can cause reoccurring trouble and can easily wipe out your savings account. Time and energy is wasted on bandage answers. It’s best to address any potential water problems head on—arming yourself with wise basement prevention tips and plumbing professionals that can address your concerns.
Need a reliable local plumber in the Metro Detroit area to take a look at your basement? Consider WaterWork Plumbing. Give us a call us today at 248-542-8022 to schedule an appointment.