• Howard Gallagher

How To Prevent A Flooded Basement

Updated: Apr 24

Floods can be natural disasters that can devastate your home. Every homeowner doesn’t want to experience an event like this. Certain regions are more prone to flooding than others. Heavy rainfall and large scale flooding can permanently damage your home. A flooded basement is a breeding ground for infectious diseases and pests. This can compound and have horrible effects on your health. Flooding doesn’t just affect the structural integrity of your home but also your HVAC system. Flood can leave lingering damage in the form of mold and mildew. Learn these surefire tips to stop basement flooding in its track.

Causes of Basement Flooding

Flooding can come in wet weather and dry weather. Particularly places near the Mississippi river,Southern Texas, Great Lakes and southeastern Florida are prone to flooding. Especially this time of year rapid snow melt during the transitory period between winter and spring. The most common cause for basement flooding is burst pipes. Pipes burst due to clogs and freezing. This can be prevented with annual inspections. Broken dams can cause flooding on unsuspected homes. This was seen during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Natural causes can be sudden and hard to prevent. This includes heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers,high water tables, storm surges and melting snow. Contaminated Groundwater aka Black Water Flooding is the most destructive type of flooding. This floodwater contains contaminants that cause a myriad of health issues . Only a licensed and bonded contractor can assess this type of floodwater. This type of flood cleanup and repair is usually the most costly, often requiring mold and chemical remediation crews. It will often requires replacement of the affected home materials. Anything that touches Black water has to be replaced even the drywall.Basements are the lowest part of your home. Closest to the groundwater in your area . Groundwater is essential for the growth of plants and keeping the water supply clean.When there is a lot of rain the ground can’t absorb excess water and the groundwater level is above your basement. Excessive groundwater can seep through the foundation. Sewer backup can be unsightly and dangerous for the health of your family. This happens when the sewer drain is blocked. Dry weather flooding may be either from the sanitary lateral or plumbing system issues. A sanitary lateral is the sewer pipe that flows waste water away from home into the sewer line. Sometimes unmaintained foundation or poor lot grading can be the issue. There are rare instances where a water heater can rupture and flood a basement or the sump pump fails to work.

Floodwater Facts

Every year, flooding causes more than $2 billion of property damage in the U.S. In high risk areas your home is more likely to be damaged by flooding than a home fire. Flash flooding can happen anywhere. Your basement flooding can be caused by cracks in the basement walls, poor drainage, septic system issues, and damaged gutters. Conventional asphalt and concrete pavement blocks water from naturally seeping into the ground. This reduces runoff from rain fall and reduces your home’s risk of flooding. If you have flood insurance it is important to contact your home insurance company and understand the coverage limits. Find out your neighborhood and home’s flood zone through FEMA. In event of a storm surge, your family should have an evacuation route and sand bags/plywood to prevent flooding.

Basement Flooding Prevention

Check your home’s interior and exterior for any cracks and holes. Make sure gutters prevent rain water from building up on your roof. Have a professional assess your foundation to see if the ground slopes away from the foundation. Foundation repairs can be costly but are important to ensure your home’s structure lasts long. Make sure your plumbing system is properly maintained. Sump pump failure is a common cause of basement flooding. Sump Pump maintenance is key to weathering any storm. Inspect your sewer system. Install window well covers to properly waterproof your basement. Have your sewer drains snaked out annually. Flood Repair can be one of the most expensive repairs in home improvement. It costs on average $10,000 to repair the water damage.

What To Do If Your Basement Floods?

Never enter a flooded basement. Outlets and Electrical Equipment are in the basement. Flood water also isn’t the most sanitary. You are exposing yourself to electrocution and infectious diseases. Call an electrician or licensed contractor to check the issue. Shut power to the circuit breaker to prevent electrocution.Consult your home insurance. You should have flood insurance if you live in an area prone to flooding. Your home insurance company should send an adjuster and a water remediation company to check the damage. Contact your city’s water department. Remove the water with a wet vac and a mop.Remove all water damaged items . Remove important items and put in a dry area. Mold often grows in flooded areas. You can clear mold by using bleach and water. Disinfect every surface. Use a heavy duty cleaner and scrub brush on your walls. Dry the basement out with dehumidifiers and fans. A professional water remediation company can do the cleaning for you.

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