Basement flooding – Finding the cause
Basement flooding can be a problem in some homes, and there are steps to take to minimize potential damage. But since a flooded basement can result from a number of things, there is no single method for prevention. The most important things are to determine:
1) When is the basement flooding?
- Does the basement flood every year at approximately the same time?
- Does the basement flood during random intervals?
2) Where is the basement flooding?
- If water is entering near the top of the wall in one location:
- An improperly sloped landscape angled toward the house could be the cause.
- Extend and re-direct the downspouts.
- Reshape the landscaping around the foundation of the home.
Basement flooding – identifying solutions
Inspect the location where water is entering:
- Caulk any cracks on the interior.
If the entire wall is damp or water is entering through multiple wall surfaces, this may be a sign of a faulty or missing water proofing membrane.
- Remove soil around the foundation.
- Hire a licensed contractor to install a waterproofing membrane.
- Consider applying an internal sealant that can be painted on interior surface of basement walls:
- This is not an option for finished basement walls.
- These products require constant maintenance or they will stop working.
If the water appears to be entering the home near the foundation or through a floor drain:
- One solution is to install a “French Drainage” system around the perimeter of the home or at least in areas subject to frequent flooding.
- Remove the soil around the perimeter of the home.
- Waterproof the foundation wall with a waterproofing membrane.
- Install a French Drain at the base of the foundation:
- Ensure that the drain has a method for diverting the water.
- The drain should empty into the primary storm drainage system, a retention pond or other source.
- Backfill the area with gravel to provide adequate drainage.
- Install a sump pump with a battery backup:
- This requires demolition of a portion of the basement floor.
- To be effective, the sump pump needs to be hooked up to a drainage system, usually installed around the perimeter of the basement foundation, or at least in areas subject to repeated flooding.
- Because this is installed at the perimeter of the foundation, the flooring in this area will also face demolition to install the drainage system.
- Sump pumps should be tested at least once a year, preferably in the early spring.
- Test the system if a storm is approaching.
- Make sure the sump pit does not contain any debris that will clog the sump’s inlet pipe.
- Ensure the outlet pipe is not frozen shut.
- Pour water into the sump pit until the sump turns on (about 5 gallons of water).
- If the sump does not turn on contact a professional to diagnose the problem.
Source: Institute for Business & Home Safety
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