A basement is a wonderful asset in your home... until it isn't. Because basements are below ground, they can be prone to flooding. Even non-flood conditions in your neighborhood can still cause a flood in your basement.
Flooding can cause mold, water damage and other problems in your home. Water in basements can be both annoying and expensive. As with many home maintenance issues, an ounce of prevention is the key to avoiding expensive, time-consuming repairs associated with water in basement environments.
WHAT CAUSES WATER IN BASEMENTS?
Understanding the causes of the water in basement environments is the first important step towards stopping your issue.
There are several factors which can contribute to this problem. Surprisingly, an actual flood in your community is pretty low on the list. Flooding conditions in your community will be a rare event, but other contributing factors are more likely to happen several times each year.
Blockages and clogs of different types are one of the main reasons that basements get flooded. Your home has many different systems for processing water. When any of these systems become blocked, the water will need to go somewhere. Water will run downhill, of course. Since your basement is below ground, that makes your basement one of the first stops the water will make in its search for a resting place.
When the construction of a home itself is faulty or damaged, you will see problems such as flooding in places where it should not happen. Cracks in foundations and windows are one of the main contributors to basement flooding.
These cracks will allow water into places where it should definitely not be. Making sure that that your home is structurally sound is something you should do before purchasing the home. However, after you have lived in your home for some time, you will want to check on the health of your foundation on a regular basis.
When a sewer system becomes backed up, it can also cause flooding. If you are on a municipal sewer system, you may not be able to control how well maintained the sewer system is. You should, however, keep an eye out for warning signs that there is a problem, and then contact the proper authorities quickly.
This could help prevent major flooding later when there is a heavy rain. If you are in charge of the maintenance of your own sewer or septic system, then you will want to stay on top of this job to avoid flooding and all the damage that causes.
During the winter, pipes can freeze and burst. Sometimes a homeowner is absent or may not even realize that this happened. Broken pipes can start sending water in all kinds of directions it should not go.
This can contribute to water in basement environments as well. Keep a good watch on pipes in the winter. Winterizing your pipes before hard freezes set in can help you avoid this serious problem.
WHY IS STOPPING WATER DAMAGE IMPORTANT?
If you think that you can simply ignore a little flooding in the basement, or that it is just expected, you should probably keep thinking about this issue. Flooding in your basement and the resulting water damage can be a real problem that will cause even more serious problems in the future.
The first and most important reason you should never ignore water damage and flooding in your basement is mold. Mold can begin to grow in any moist area. Flooding provides the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Even if the flooding recedes quickly, the conditions for mold are there. Basements are often darker than the rest of the house, and mold loves to grow in dark, moist places. In addition to this, the basement is not usually a main traffic area of the home. Therefore, mold can sometimes start growing and go ignored for quite a while before anyone even notices that it is there.
Mold can be very dangerous in your home. Mold spores can cause sickness in your home. If you have very small children or elderly people in your home, they can especially be at risk of getting sick from mold. This is also true if you have individuals in your home with lung issues.
Preventing Further Damage to Your Home
Flooding may be happening in your basement due to damage in your home, but flooding will also cause further damage in your home. When water is allowed to stand in any area, it will inevitably weaken that part of the structure.
If flooding is allowed to stand and continue, eventually the foundation of your home will be compromised. Once your foundation is compromised, it can be a very costly repair. Prevention is the best way to keep your home safe and secure.
Preserving Your Home's Value
Allowing ongoing water in basement rooms of your home will, over time, decrease the value of your home. One of the first things that a home inspector will look for when appraising your home is water damage.
These professionals know how to tell if a home has flooded or if water damage has occurred. These facts will decrease the overall value of your home. If you are trying to sell your home or if you are having your home appraised for any reason, this will work against you.
TEN POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS
All hope is not lost, however. There are plenty of ways you can prevent ongoing flooding and water damage in your basement.
A basement can be a great asset to your home, but you must be willing to take care of the maintenance items which that basement will require. If you take care of these items, then your basement really can be an asset rather than a liability to your home.
in order to prevent flooding down below, you will need to start by looking upward. Gutters are one of the first systems intended to divert the rainwater that is coming into your home. When gutters are clogged and dirty, the rainwater must seek an alternative route. Gutters are designed to take the water to the right place.
When the water starts seeking an alternative route, it usually means trouble for you and will result in water in basement rooms. Make cleaning the gutters a regular chore for yourself. You will be glad you did later on!
In addition to cleaning gutters, you should also make sure that your downspouts are actually doing their job properly. A downspout should be directing water from the gutters to at least three feet away from your foundation.
If your downspouts are not doing their job properly, you might want to consider downspout extenders. These handy inventions can be added on to increase the distance the water is being redirected away from your home.
Pay Attention to Landscaping
You may think your landscaping has little to do with basement flooding, but it really does make a huge difference. Landscaping can have a huge impact on how water travels in your yard.
You will want your home to have a landscaping slope that flows away from the home. Water naturally flows downhill, of course, so if the slope of your home is coming down toward your home, you are in for some water in basement rooms eventually.
Increase Growth & Vegetation
It also helps to make sure you do not have large bare spots in your yard. Grass and plants will help to process water as well. When the ground is bare, water will rush more quickly to the lowest point. Do a little research to learn about the best plants in your area for preventing flooding.
Evaluate Your Foundation
As mentioned earlier, issues with your foundation can allow water to seep into places it does not belong and will often cause water in basement rooms. If you notice cracks or other leak sources in your foundation, you must get these repaired quickly.
Make Sure to Seal All Cracks
It is only a matter of time before a heavy rain will come your way. When that happens, those cracks will allow water into your basement. Foundation maintenance is crucial to the integrity of your home.
Get a Sump Pump
A sump pump is a wonderful asset to your home. This handy invention is solely for the purpose of dealing with water in basement rooms.
If You Have a Pump Already, Check on It
This is another item in the home that you may not pay any attention to until it fails. Keeping a proper eye on the pump and testing it when you don't need it can prevent a failure when you do. You should also keep in mind that some insurance policies will not cover flooding claims if the sump pump failed due to poor maintenance.
Check for Sewer Issues
This is another often-ignored water processing system in the home. Sometimes, no one thinks about the sewer or the septic tank until it too late.
How Well Is Your Septic System Operating?
During a flooding situation is just about the only time most people think about the septic system. Keep up with your septic tank maintenance before it becomes a flood situation.
Basement flooding does not need to be inevitable. When homeowners complete these simple maintenance checks and tasks, they can usually prevent any major water problems in their basements.