For most homeowners, basement flooding is a rare occurrence. Residential construction includes lots of codes that require homes to be built with sufficient surrounding and internal drainage systems to minimize the possibility of water seeping into the structure and causing damage to the foundation.
But flooding does happen, nonetheless. Here are six common sources.
Water Line Break Within The House
Whether it’s due to an accumulation of pinhole leaks, generally aging pipes, or a pipe freezing and splitting open, a water line break within the house is a rare but easily identifiable source of basement flooding.
Burst Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters tend to be installed on lower floors like the basement. These big metal kettles heat up water continuously and thus last only about ten to twelve years. Keep an eye out for leaking valves and rust spots in order to switch out an old tank before catastrophic failure.
Gutter Clogs And Insufficient Landscape Slope
Water running down or pooling near the foundation walls can be the cause of basement flooding, particularly during rains. This could be due to clogged gutters, downspouts that don’t direct water far enough from the foundation, or a landscape that doesn’t slope appropriately away from the walls. If basement puddling is a fair-weather problem, check for irrigation systems that might be causing pooling too close to the foundation.
Homes that were built in low-lying areas may require frequent use of a sump pump or an effective gravity foundation system to keep pooling water out of the basement. Over time, sump pumps can fail and gravity foundation systems can fill up with silt or debris and lessen their effectiveness. If your home is in a low-lying area and you seem to have a chronically damp basement, check whether it’s time for a major drainage upgrade.
By far the most unpleasant of basement flooding, a sewer backup occurs when there’s a break in a sewer main, a clog formed by tree roots or other debris, or a blockage due to something inappropriate and non-biodegradable being flushed down a toilet. All these situations can lead to sewage coming up through the floor drains, basement sink drains, and the lowest-level toilet. Prevention is the best policy in this case. For older houses, consider using tree root killer once or twice a year to keep old sewer lines clear.
Excessive Snow Melt Or Heavy Rains
Even the driest of homes can’t always avoid a flooding basement during a weather event like a nor’easter, a hurricane, or a tropical storm. When the soil around your house is flooded, hydrostatic pressure can push storm water into your basement. Having a well-maintained drainage system and a functioning sump pump can help limit the damage.