Did you know that a mere 1” of water can lead to over $10,000 worth of damage to your property? Basement flooding is one of the most common causes of water damage to residential and commercial buildings.
What causes basements to flood?
Whether it is burst pipes, leaky windows, or damaged foundation, there are many reasons why basements flood. Water flows downhill into the lowest areas and it can make its way through even the smallest cracks and openings. Depending upon the age of your home and the region in which you live, your foundation is most likely either poured concrete or stacked concrete blocks. Sometimes the foundation is coated or shielded with a water barrier material, designed to keep water out. Over time homes settle and shift, sometimes compromising the structural solidity of the foundation. Small fissures form and can be a source for water to pour in. Another source of water damage is through basement windows (whose sealants fail over time), crawlspace vents (the vents that allow air to circulate under the home), and overly saturated soil surrounding the home. A change to the landscape around you, a recent removal of trees in your neighbor’s yard for example, could have a negative impact on the ability of the soil to absorb water. A foundation contractor will be able to assess specific issues. Plumbing can be another source of basement flooding. Water heaters, washing machines and other appliances are often located in the basement and frozen/leaky pipes can lead to serious damage.
What can I do to prevent a basement flood?
If you discover that your windows or vents are to blame you must fix the sealants around them. You can fix the sealant yourself or call a professional to assist. If you notice any cracks or damage to your foundation, call a foundation repair specialist. A professional will have the knowledge to fully research why cracks formed in the first place and have the skills to properly repair the foundation. If you think that overly-saturated soil is to blame, the issue will require a professional who can assess your gutters, roof and landscaping. If your gutters are leaking, allowing large puddles to form around the home instead of being directed through the pipes below the home, the excess water can easily make its way underneath the home and into the basement. A landscaper can also help overly-saturated soil by creating French drains, which will help direct water away from the home. If your home’s plumbing is to blame, call a plumber or an appliance repair person immediately.
Who should I call when my basement floods?
If you have standing water, or water actively flowing into your basement, do not attempt to wade through the water until you shut off your electricity. It is vital to be absolutely sure that there are no open circuits standing in the water. You’ll want to use a bucket or a wet vacuum to suck up as much water as possible. You can also hire a f
lood cleanup crew to come in and expertly clean and remove damaged items. If you have a lot of electrical items that may have been exposed to water, call an electrician immediately. Appliances that have been sitting in water should also be assessed by a repair person before you operate them. Consider removing any valuable items from the area until the basement is water free.
What are steps I can take to prevent water damage to my basement?
- Do not store valuable items in a basement with potential flooding issues
- The ground next to your foundation should slope away from the home
- Point gutters and downspouts to discharge water at least 5 feet away from the home
- Plant plants and boarders at least 12 inches away from the foundation
- Seal all windows and vents
- Unclog gutters and downspouts
- Consider installing a sub-pump to pump out unwanted standing water
- Consider a foundation contractor to address ongoing and outstanding issues with your foundation
If the damage is significant you may need to hire several types of professionals. For basements that have constant flooding issues, you may need to install a sub-pump to actively pump out and remove water. For more information on water damage restoration , contact the experts at Rainbow Intl.