When you own a home with a basement that provides storage for valuables or additional living quarters, it is imperative that you protect that space from moisture and water. While there is nothing you can do about natural catastrophes that cause flooding, you can prevent other causes of water damage. If you are a new homeowner worried about water entering your home, the following list of the most common causes of household flooding can help you identify problems areas so you can take swift action to safeguard your basement.
Faulty Sump Pump
If a sump pump runs without fail for years, you may forget that the device is even in your basement. Furthermore, if you are a first-time homebuyer, you may not realize that your basement has a sump pump.
Typically found in houses located in flood hazard areas, the device is your first line of defense from water entering a basement or crawl space. It pumps water that accumulates around the foundation away from your home via a pipe system. When the sump pump stops working, water begins to seep into the basement.
There are several reasons why a sump pump may stop working:
- The backup battery power fails when the power to the device is interrupted
- Debris causes blockages inside the pump's discharge pipe
- The sump pump discharge line freezes during the winter
- The device's motor burns out
Poor Soil Conditions
Your yard's soil type can also affect your basement's vulnerability to flooding. The best type of soil for basement flood prevention is well-drained, non-acidic and filled with nutrients and organic matter.
However, if you have heavy clay soil around your home's foundation, the ground will become waterlogged and compacted after heavy rains. Water will not drain properly and can lead to cracks and swells in concrete foundations.
You can contact your local cooperative extension office to get your soil analyzed. The cooperative extension can also provide you with guidance on how to improve your soil such as adding compost and other types of organic matter.
In addition, you can hire contractors to install an exterior drainage system around the foundation to help waterproof your basement. The drainage system will also help to move water away from the house that travels from roof gutters and down spouts.
Overactive Lawn Sprinklers
While your lawn may look beautiful because your grass and plants are well-watered, your automatic sprinkler system could be a threat to a dry basement. Sprinklers that are left on too long can cause significant damage if accumulated water seeps through cracks in the foundation wall when water fails to drain away from the house.
You may need to modify the placement of sprinkler heads and adjust the sprinkler timer in order to prevent water from accumulating when you irrigate your lawn. In addition, you should inspect the sprinkler system for signs of damage such as broken water lines when you notice that there is standing water or soggy soil after the system runs.
One of the most unpleasant ways your basement can get flooded is via a sewer overload. Sewage that seeps into your basement smells foul and is a serious health hazard. During torrential rains, sanitary sewers may become overloaded with storm water. This will overload sewer lines and water will backup into homes.
In addition, damage to sewer pipes from tree roots and accumulated debris can also lead to backups. Contractors that specialize in basement waterproofing can install a floor drain plug or a backup valve in your basement to prevent sewage infiltration.
A floor drain plug will prevent liquid from the sewer's drain from flowing into the basement so it can drain properly away from your home to the municipal sewer system or a septic tank. A backup valve stops the water in the sewer pipes from moving into your basement.