Flooded Basement
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Flooded Basement: Common Causes and First Actions

Facing a flooded basement can be frustrating and extremely stressful. Provided that a variety of causes may lead to an unexpected pond in the basement and potential damage to your home, it is always recommended to hire a water damage restoration company to tackle the problem and prevent further incidents. Attempts to apply DIY solutions seen on YouTube can result in greater damage to your house, undermined family safety, and higher repair costs.

Flooding is not just about puddles on the floor; excess water and humidity are the key factors of mold infestation, which, in its turn, is toxic and hazardous.  

Unfortunately, the cause of the flooding isn’t always clear, so you will need specialists to:

          figure out the reason for having water in the basement,

          eliminate the cause,

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          dehumidify the space and fight mold growth if mold has appeared,

          and restore the basement to its original state.

Flooded Basement: Guidelines

As soon as you’ve discovered basement flooding, the first thing to do is to contact a reliable contractor promptly. Opt for reputable companies offering emergency services — the faster the crew arrives at the scene, the less your house will be damaged by water, which means lower repair and renovation costs.   

If you see small puddles on the basement floor, call a local plumber to figure out the cause and fix it. If the problem is of a larger scale and you have more than a couple of inches of standing water, contact the emergency repair service asap.

In fact, frequent flooding of any part of your house may lead to hazardous mildew or mold growth that is capable of putting in danger the health of family members and undermining structural safety.  

But you can avoid this by hiring basement lowering contractors beforehand. Be sure to do your research and check their experience and credentials. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had similar work done or look for reviews and ratings online.

What You Can Do While Waiting For Pros

Once you’ve called pros, do not forget about the insurance provider — you need to clarify what costs your homeowner’s insurance covers. In some cases, the policy might cover even living expenses if remediation work requires you to leave the home. And there are several things you can do before the crew arrives.  

Rule #1 states “Stay safe.” As unfortunate as it may seem, flooding in the house can be hazardous and unsafe too. Whenever you find standing water, do not enter. 

Consider the following steps:

  • If you’re not sure about the cause of the flooding, shut off the main water supply.
  • Make sure to turn off the power in the basement. Note: if the service board is inside the basement, do not enter but call an electrician instead.
  • Cut off the gas supply if you have gas-powered equipment. If you can smell gas, leave the house and call a gas specialist immediately.
  • If there is no standing water, you can remove wet or water-damaged objects to a dry place.

Basement Flooding: Typical Causes 

As overwhelmed as you can be whenever you come up against unwanted & unexpected water in the basement, it’s always good to know about the most typical causes of puddles and preventive measures to avoid similar situations in the future. 

Plumbing leaks. All sorts of leaks, including a leaking supply pipe or waste line, leaking hoses for household appliances, such as a washing machine, water heater, etc. Leaks can appear when a pipe is clogged and water pressure is high, or the lifespan of pipes is about to end and the material is worn out. Before a tiny leak turns into a pond, call a plumber to fix the problem.

Burst pipes. Ok, it can happen to anyone as a surprise. When a plumbing system is old and/or water pressure is too high, a burst drainage or supply pipe can lead to flooding. Burst pipes require a comprehensive professional approach, particularly when the waste line is damaged — as dirty water presents a serious health hazard.

Malfunctioning or damaged sump pumps. A pump is part of a drainage system that helps to maintain the foundation dry. The pump takes the unwanted water and pumps it out of the house. Like any device, a pump requires scheduled maintenance and cleaning to prevent failures. A power outage also can be the reason that a pump shuts off and water enters the basement.  

Leaky basement window. Well, this is likely to be the easiest reason you can figure out on your own. If you find damp patches on the wall around the basement window and paddles on the floor after heavy rain, probably, there is a problem with window sealing.

Incorrectly installed or destroyed downspouts. Generally, downspouts are designed and installed for navigating water from gutters and taking it away from the house. When downspouts are worn out, damaged (for instance, by a massive tree branch), or displaced, they can direct water toward the basement. In such a way, a drainage system can get overloaded leading to a pond in the basement. Thus, it is crucial to ensure that downspouts are positioned correctly, not too close to the house wall; at least 6-8 ft. from the house walls distance and an external drainage system (for regions with rainy seasons) can avert water accumulation in the basement.     

Clogged gutters. Whenever debris (sand, leaves, and twigs) is collected in the gutters, the draining from the roof is blocked. Even if you live in sunny California, a sudden rain can catch you off guard and result in a flooded basement given that you don’t have a habit to cleanse gutters regularly. As a preventive measure, you may also consider installing dedicated gutter guards.  

Damaged drainage system. A draining pipe, also known as a weeping tile, passes under the basement and serves for directing water further from the construction. As time goes by, a pipe can wear out, so water can appear in the basement. Actually, this scenario is substantially damaging for basements without a proper waterproof layer.  

Poor sealing. Some locations are known for underground water accumulation. Hence, the basement needs to be water-protected: typically, pros use special sealants to ensure water resistance of the house. Over time, the sealant can get exhausted or cracked allowing water to leak inside.  When you observe small puddles around the basement floor, don’t delay calling a plumber to avoid worsening the situation and higher costs.  

In Conclusion

Again, the first priority in case of a flooded basement is getting expert assistance promptly to minimize potential water and, consequently, mold damage to the house. Pros are trained to deal with emergency events and fully equipped to pump out water, dry up the space, discover & fight mold infestation, and restore the basement if required.

As experience shows, it is much cheaper and easier to stave off unfortunate events and accidents through routine servicing of the plumbing system and timely cleaning of the roof of debris. 

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