In our area, basements are a must. Whether the basement is a home theater, man cave, or kid's bedrooms, we love the versatility and extra space they afford. Unfortunately, because basements are the lowest point in a home, they tend to be the first area to flood during any type of water emergency.
Causes of Basement Flooding
Flooding can be caused by sources both inside and outside the home and can occur at any time of year. Common basement flooding causes include:
1. Improper sealing on the flooring and walls
2. Damaged/improperly positioned sprinklers
3. Frozen/damaged hose bibbs
4. Improperly installed downspouts
5. Debris in the gutters
6. Leaking window wells
7. Water supply line failure
8. Backed up floor drains
9. Water heater failure
Poor Basement Sealing
When a home is constructed, the foundation needs to be sealed properly. If this is not done or done incorrectly, water will begin to seep into the basement from the ground over time. Excessive rain or snowmelt can oversaturate the ground, resulting in hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure occurs when moisture outside of the basement or foundational wall exceeds the pressure inside. Water will naturally seek the lower pressure, resulting in foundational leaks and even cracks. If your basement floods during all or most rainstorms, this may be the cause.
Damaged Sprinklers or Hose Bibbs
Freezing temperatures are the main culprit here. If your sprinkler system has not been properly winterized and water is left in the lines, that water can freeze when the temperature falls and cause the lines to break. The same can happen with your hose bibb. If the faucet and pipe leading to it aren’t properly insulated they can fail and cause serious leaks. Oftentimes these leaks go directly into your basement.
Improperly Installed Downspouts and Gutter Debris
Downspouts should be at least five to six feet away from the basement wall and drain away from the home, usually towards the street or backyard. If your downspouts are broken or missing, water will pool next to the house and can seep slowly into the basement or pour in through cracks in the foundation. Like the downspouts, gutters are essential to diverting water away from the home to keep the basement dry. Debris impedes water from moving off the roof, through the downspout, and away from the home. Overflowing gutters will cascade water down the sides of the home where it can pool and seep into the basement.
Leaking Window Wells
Window wells are an essential part of the basement, but if they don’t drain properly they’re just a basement flood waiting to happen. If a window well collects water faster than it drains away, the water will seep through the window and into your basement. The most common sign of this is water trickling down the basement wall near the window. There may also be staining on the walls or mold growing near the window.
Supply Line Failure
A water supply line may break because of aging pipes, shoddy workmanship or frozen pipes that ultimately crack and burst. These can be the pipes supplying your sinks, toilets, or washer. A very common failure we see is in the refrigerator supply line. These small, flexible tunes are prone to breaking and can leak into your floor and basement for months before being discovered.
Backed Up Floor Drain
There are a number of reasons water can back up through a basement floor drain. Usually, the problem is not in the drain itself, but rather in the main house drain under your basement floor. When water is under pressure, as it may be when the sewer backs up, it will seek the easiest and lowest point to escape, i.e., your floor drain. If there hasn’t been a recent heavy rain or snowmelt dumping excess water into the sewer system, then there is probably a clog in your mainline.
Water Heater Failure
We all have water heaters in our home, but did you know they can leak from up to five different locations? From the top at the cold water inlet or hot water outlet connections, from the bottom drain valve, from the pressure release valve, or from a corroded tank bottom. The most common leak we see is caused by a corroded tank. Deposits accumulate on the bottom of the tank that corrodes the tank liner and heater elements. The bottom of the tank will start to leak and will do so continuously unless the water is shut off to the water heater.
ServiceMaster is Here to Help
A flooded basement is not only one of the most destructive events your home can experience. It’s also one of the most emotionally stressful events you may ever go through. The professionals at ServiceMaster Restore have seen the full range of basement flooding causes. Our team of trained, caring and professional water-damage technicians is here for you and your family. We’ll answer your call 24/7/365 if your basement floods and take care of everything from the water extraction and drying process to mold remediation as needed. We’ll guide you through the process and do everything as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to get your home and life back to normal.