Here's What to Do if Your Basement Floods

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Homeowners in Indianapolis, Indiana worry about basement floods when inclement weather rolls around. However, that’s not the only time basement floods happen. A myriad of issues result in excess water in the basement. You never know when a flood is about to strike, so not many homeowners know how to deal with the aftermath.

Luckily, Mr. Plumber wants to help you get your basement back. In this post, we detail everything you need to know about basement floods. From causes to long-term solutions, Mr. Plumber has you covered. Never worry about what to do when your basement floods again.

Causes of Basement Floods

Basement floods result from many different issues. Common causes of basement floods include:

Plumbing

Issues with plumbing cause basement floods in a few ways. First, old pipes suffer leaks and have the potential to burst when put under pressure. Both of these occurrences lead to puddles at the least, and basement floods at the worst.

Additionally, if your sump pump malfunctions or fails, then your basement is left vulnerable to any form of leak. A sump pump removes excess water from the basement, which means it takes care of potential basement floods. If it stops working for any reason, then you’re open to flood issues. Finally, floods potentially stem from washing machine malfunctions, water heater problems, or other pieces of household equipment that deal with water.

Sewage

Next, sewage leaks lead to floods in the basement. This happens when the septic tank backs up or if the sewer line clogs. Septic tank problems, no matter the severity, must be addressed by professionals. Also, this problem may stem from an outside city sewer service. In that case, you must call the local sewage department to determine if clogs are pervading the neighborhood.

Foundation

Rain, snow, poor yard drainage, and sewer backups all result in basement floods if your foundation is not up to standard. Cracks and other damages impede the quality of your home’s foundation, which makes it vulnerable to leaks and floods. These issues usually are taken care of by the sump pump, but some cracks are so substantial that a sump pump cannot remove all the water let through.

Poorly Sealed

Basement floods are more likely to occur when the space is not properly sealed. A poorly sealed basement lets leaks slip through. This usually happens when the house is first built. Even if a home had proper seals, over time that seal deteriorates, which leaves you vulnerable to basement floods. If you find puddles of water consistently in the basement after any kind of rainfall, this likely caused the leaks.

Gutter Debris

Gutters lead water away from your home via the downspout, which directs the water far away from the foundation. However, if the gutters are clogged, the water drains down the sides of the home and pools around the foundation. From here, the water seeps into the basement with the help of foundation cracks caused by an increase in pressure from the excess water.

Improper Drainage System

This goes along with cluttered gutters. If the downspout points too close to your house, then it leads water straight to the basement. Additionally, it can overload the weeping tile and cause leaks. A weeping tile—or a porous pipe—discharges underground water and redirects water away you’re your home. However, excessive pressure on the weeping tile leads to flood problems. Also, downspouts should lead toward the street or the backyard to be most effective.

Immediate Responses

When you first discover that your basement flooded, your mind runs in a million different directions. Even for those who have experienced basement floods before and know the correct response, the shock of a basement flood causes homeowners to panic—and for good reason!

However, there are a few things to do when you find out about basement floods.

  • Call the professionals. Before you do anything else, call in professional help. First on your list should be a plumber. They are able to assess the damage and help you proceed. Next, call an electrician. You never know if the water got into your electrical components, so it’s best to contact an electrician to evaluate any damage your wiring may have. Lastly, call a septic specialist if you believe the flood happened because of sewage problems.
  • Do not enter. Though it’s tempting to immediately enter a flooded basement to assess the damage, refrain from doing so. As stated previously, leaks and floods have the potential to impact electrical wiring. If you enter the basement and touch the electrically charged water, extreme injuries are to follow.
  • Collect damp possessions. Once you determine that the water is safe, remove your possessions from the basement. Basement floods damage more than the space. They have the potential to ruin memories. If you store valuable possessions or family heirlooms in the basement, a flood can damage those items beyond repair. Move any untouched items from the basement to a safe, dry area to limit the damage done.
  • Clear the water. For a couple of inches, use mops and towels to remove the excess water. If your basement floods, it’s likely that your sump pump malfunctioned in some way—even if the initial cause does not relate to the sump pump. For two feet of water or more, it’s time to call Mr. Plumber to help remove the water.
  • Remove carpet and drywall. After everything is cleared, evaluate the damage to your carpet and dry wall. This doesn’t apply to every homeowner, but those with carpeted basements must remove the carpet to completely dry the area.
  • Dry the space. Next, take steps to dry the basement. This goes beyond letting it air dry. Use industrial fans, towels, and a dehumidifier to get rid of that final layer of wetness.
  • Mold prevention. Finally, take steps to eliminate mold growth before it even starts. Mold flourishes in flood environments, so be sure to take the preventative measures necessary to keep it at bay. Use soapy, warm water to clean the area and spray an anti-mildew solution for good measure.

Long-Term Solutions for Basement Floods

Now that you know how to immediately respond to basement floods, there are long-term steps you can take to ensure the safety of your basement. In general, preventative care provides the most protection from floods. This means it’s important to invest in solutions that last beyond the short-term. Here are some things to think about.

  • Invest in sump pump backups. No matter the cause, sump pump must malfunction in some way for your basement to flood. Sump pumps should be able to handle minor flood risks without issue. However, sometimes sump pumps lose functionality. In that case, it’s good to have a backup. A backup covers any problems the primary pump faces.
  • Check sump pump functions. After basement floods, it is good practice to have your sump pump evaluated by a licensed plumber. They determine if the sump pump needs a repair, or if you need a replacement. Like with all other household equipment, sump pumps reach an age where their functionality plummets. In general, a sump pump lasts 10 years.
  • Waterproof your basement. An experienced plumber waterproofs your basement with a multitude of techniques. Sealers—usually epoxies or urethanes—are pressure injected into cracks and holes. Coatings are also used, but do not solve major problems. Finally, exterior waterproofing and foundation crack injections are utilized to firmly seal the exterior.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts. The easiest way to combat floods stems from gutter maintenance. Clean gutters allow water to flow from the roof to the downspout, which transfers the water away from your home. Make sure to clean your gutters regularly to remove clogs and excess debris.
  • Inspect sewers and septic systems. Like with the sump pump in your home, the septic system requires preventative care to ensure it functions properly at all times. Have your septic tank cleaned and your sewers inspected regularly to prevent clogs, backups, and overflows. These cause basement floods more often than you think, so stay on top of your sewer and septic system maintenance.
  • This one seems like a no-brainer, but many homeowners don’t know how much their insurance covers basement floods—or if it even covers flooding at all. More often than not, homeowners need flood specific insurance to cover all of the damages done by flooding. Know how your insurance works in case you ever experience another flood.

Contact Us

Mr. Plumber wants the homeowners of Indianapolis, Indiana to feel safe from basement floods. With all of the information provided in this article, you are ready to embark on the wild world of basement maintenance. Even if you’ve experienced a flood, know that you are not alone. Many homeowners deal with these challenges once in their life—some even more than that!

With these tips, recover from a flooded basement with confidence. The flood itself caused enough stress as it is. Don’t let the cleanup stress you out even more! For more information on basement floods—or if you have other plumbing related questions—call Mr. Plumber today. Our experienced plumbers are ready to help at the drop of a hat. Call today for a free estimate on your service and to schedule your next maintenance visit.

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