What To Do If Your Basement Floods Whenever It Rains
You don’t need heavy downpours for your home to flood. Even light rain can pose a risk to your basement. While beneficial for your garden and lawn, spring showers can become problematic when water leaks into your basement. In this blog post, we will explore the common causes of basement floods due to rain and provide you with essential steps to take if you are dealing with a flooded basement. Additionally, we will share tips to prevent basement floods and ensure your home is prepared for the rainy season.
Causes of Basement Floods from Rain
Basement leaks during rainy weather can be attributed to several factors. Understanding these causes can help you take appropriate measures to prevent or address the issue:
- Hydrostatic Pressure: Persistent rain leads to soil saturation, resulting in hydrostatic or water pressure. This pressure forces moisture through your basement walls and floor, causing leaks and flooding.
- Lateral Pressure: Loose soil around your foundation absorbs water, especially when rainwater pools near your foundation due to clogged gutters and downspouts. As the soil expands, it exerts lateral or sideways pressure against the foundation, leading to leaks and potential foundation damage.
- Window Well Issues: Improperly installed window wells can fill with rainwater, which can then seep into your basement. Ensuring proper installation and maintenance of window wells is crucial to preventing this source of water entry.
- Clogged Gutters: Clogged gutters prevent rainwater from draining away from your home, leading to water collecting near the foundation and eventually infiltrating through basement walls.
Steps to Take If Your Basement Floods
Experiencing a flooded basement can be overwhelming, but taking immediate action is essential to mitigate the damage. Here are the steps you should follow if your basement floods:
Turn Off the Power Supply:
The first thing you should do when you notice your basement is flooding is to turn off the power supply. Water and electricity don’t mix; you don’t want to risk electrocution. Find your electrical panel and switch off the main breaker.
Determine the Source of the Water:
The next step is to determine the source of the water. Is it coming from an internal source such as a leaky pipe, or is it external, like rainwater seeping in through the foundation? If it’s an internal source, call a professional plumber. If it’s external, take immediate action to prevent further flooding.
Contact the City Water Department:
Get in touch with your local municipality to obtain information about the mainline sewer condition of your home. Understanding your pipeline and sanitation drain structure can help you determine the extent of the problem.
Ensure Personal Safety:
Prioritize your safety by wearing protective gear such as eye protection, gloves, and boots. Avoid spreading sewage contamination by being cautious about where you step. Additionally, cover any exposed areas of skin, and keep children and pets away from flooded areas.
Clean and Dry Affected Areas:
Thoroughly clean the flooded basement areas. Use a mixture of eight tablespoons of liquid chlorine bleach diluted in one gallon of water to disinfect all surfaces that have come into contact with floodwater.
Discard Contaminated Items:
Dispose of any items damaged by the floodwater. Take photographs of these items for insurance purposes and avoid keeping contaminated or toxic materials in your home.
Remove Damaged Drywall:
To prevent mold growth, remove all flooded drywall within 24 hours of the flood.
Seek Professional Assistance:
Contact a water damage professional or plumber who can assess the situation, provide necessary repairs, and offer guidance on preventive measures. Additionally, consult emergency sewer service professionals to learn about proactive measures during heavy rain seasons.
Preventing Basement Floods
While addressing a flooded basement is crucial, preventive measures can help you avoid such situations. Consider implementing the following tips to prevent basement floods:
- Consult a Professional: Seek the assistance of a professional for repairs and waterproofing. They can assess your situation and recommend the most suitable Baltimore basement waterproofing solutions for your basement.
- Inspect Lateral Sewer Lines: Regularly inspect your lateral sewer lines for root intrusion and blockages. Hire professionals to snake your piping annually, ensuring it remains clear and free from obstructions.
- Check for Cracks and Weak Spots: Regularly inspect your basement walls and floors for any cracks or weak spots. Address these issues promptly to prevent water seepage during rainfall.
- Seal Basement Openings: Ensure basement window wells, vents, and exterior openings are properly sealed to prevent rainwater infiltration.
- Proper Landscape Grading: Ensure that the landscape around your home slopes away from the foundation, directing water away from your basement. Proper grading helps to minimize the risk of water accumulating near your foundation.
- Extend Downspouts: Extend your downspouts at least five feet away from your home’s foundation to divert rainwater from your basement.
- Be Proactive with Insurance: Contact your insurance company in advance and review your homeowners’ policy annually to understand coverage options related to basement flooding. Clarify any doubts with your underwriter or agent.
- Consider Waterproofing Systems: If needed, installing an interior drainage system connected to a sump pump can keep rainwater out of your basement. An interior drain tile along the foundation joint helps alleviate hydrostatic pressure, reducing the risk of leaks and floods. An exterior waterproofing membrane is a cost-effective solution to keep the water out.
- Install Backflow Valves: Installing backflow valves on your main and lateral sewer lines helps prevent sewage backups in your basement. This easy-to-install system can protect against basement floods due to clogged or broken pipes during heavy rains.
Basement flooding is a common problem faced by homeowners. Taking preventative measures and understanding the steps to take if your basement floods can help you stay prepared for such situations and avert extensive damage.
Is Your Basement Prepared for Rain?
Taking swift and appropriate action is crucial regarding basement floods caused by rain. By understanding the causes of basement leaks, implementing preventive measures, and knowing the steps to take if your basement floods, you can minimize the damage and protect your home. Remember to prioritize safety, seek professional assistance when necessary, and consider implementing waterproofing systems for long-term protection.
With the right knowledge and proactive measures, you can ensure that your basement stays dry even during heavy rainfall, giving you peace of mind during the rainy seasons.