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Common Causes of Basement Flooding


Basement flooding is a common problem faced by homeowners that can be exacerbated when heavy rains arrive. Find out common causes.

As a homeowner, you know that there is a lot that can go wrong with your house.

You could get hit by a bad storm that damages your landscape, or maybe black mold starts growing in your home, or you just deal with everyday home maintenance issues.

But there aren’t many home problems worse than a flood. And if your home has a basement, it’s always at risk of flooding. 

In fact, 98 percent of homes with basements will experience some form of water damage of flooding during its lifetime.

Luckily, a lot of the common causes of basement flooding are preventable. You just need to know what to look out for and be proactive with any problems that arise.

Here are some of the most common problems that lead to a basement flood.

Bad Pipes or Sump Pump

Basements contain three main sources for flooding: pipes, the sump pump, and the water heater. If there is something wrong with one of these, your basement may have a flood.

Pipes are at risk of rusting as the age or freezing in cold weather. They can also get damaged and have cracks or holes in them, which will lead to a flood. That’s why it’s important to monitor your pipes, especially if they are old or you’ve recently had a freeze.

If your home uses a sump pump, it means your home needs help keeping up with groundwater so there isn’t a basement flood. Therefore, if your sump pump isn’t working properly it won’t be helping reduce groundwater around your home, which will lead to a flood. 

Monitor your sump pump to make sure it’s functioning as it should so you can avoid a basement flood.

Gutter Debris or Damage

The purpose of gutters it to move water away from your home so it doesn’t flood. They are essential for keeping your basement dry and safe from any water damage.

But your gutters need to be clear if you want them to work as they should. If your gutters are full of debris, or they have broken anywhere, they won’t deter water as they should.

Your gutters need to be cleaned regularly to keep them clear of debris like leaves, pests, and more. Cleaning your gutters can be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, so hiring professional gutter cleaners is a great idea.  Click here for more about estimating your gutter cleaning costs.

Poor Basement Sealing

If the walls and floor of your basement are poorly sealed, you can be at a higher risk of a basement flood. Poor sealing can happen when your home is being built, or a good sealing might deteriorate over time.

If your basement has poor sealing, it may flood during severe weather conditions because water can easily seep through the walls and floor.

To prevent this, you can pay attention to your basement after it rains. If you notice a bit of water seeping through the floors or walls, then you need to re-seal your basement before a severe storm hits.

The House Was Built in an Unsuitable Location

If your home was built somewhere that isn’t suitable for a basement, such as a location that often floods, your basement is at risk. 

Also, if your home was built with a poor design in terms of water flow, water may run down to your basement during a heavy downpour. If you suspect this is the case for your home, you need to take extra precaution to prevent your basement from flooding. 

Improperly Installed Drainage System

Your home should have a drainage system installed around it. A drainage system is meant to deter water away from your basement and should block the entry of water into your home.

If this drainage system was improperly installed or is not working properly, then water won’t be drained and can end up flooding your basement.

If your drainage system is not working, it may be due to a weeping tile failure. This happens when a part of the drainage system (a pipe) disconnects or is clogged full of debris. This prevents water from flowing away from the house.

When this happens, the water level will rise and spill out of the sump pump or out of leaks in the foundation into your basement, causing a flood. 

Sewer Backup

One of the worst ways your basement can flood is from a sewer backup. Sewer backups are out of your control and if they happen, wastewater can completely flood your basement if you don’t notice right away. 

When sewers are too full, the water level will rise above the pipes. You may notice dirty waste water coming up through the toilets and sinks. If the water levels continue to rise, the water will spill out into your basement, potentially leading to a flood.

Heavy Downpours or Natural Disasters

While there are precautions set in place to prevent a flood such as a drainage system or sump pump, natural disasters and extreme weather events do happen. When they happen, your basement may be at risk of flooding no matter how well you’ve protected it.

To protect your home investment, it’s important to get flood insurance in case something like this does happen.

Basement Flooding: Take Caution and Be Prepared

While a basement flooding may seem like something out of your control, it’s actually preventable for the most part. As long as you stay on top of issues with your home and you’re proactive, you can prevent a basement flooding before it’s too late.

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