Why Is There Water in My Basement? May 8, 2017 – Posted in: Air Movers, Blog
You walk down to the basement and turn on the lights — and you see water coming in. This is a challenge that is most likely to occur during springtime, so don’t be surprised if you have this experience in March, April or May when the weather is rainiest. This can happen in an unfinished basement, but cleanup and the related challenges are even more intensive when you have a wet basement that’s also finished with carpet, wood or tile.
When you do have water coming in a basement, it is important first to identify the reason for a wet basement floor — which will help you prevent it from happening again. It is equally as important to know how to clean up water in a basement so there’s no lasting damage.
The Reasons You See Water in Your Basement
When you have water coming in a basement, there is a long list of places to check for the leak. Here is what you should look for first:
- Window Well: It is always nice to have windows in your basement, so you can enjoy a little bit of natural light. Groundwater and rainwater can accumulate, though, and make it more difficult for the integrity of your window wells to hold up. Examine your window wells for signs of leaks, and also check your gutters and downspouts. Overflowing gutters and downspouts can often lead to leaky window wells as water collects around the foundation of your house.
- Honeycomb: If poorly mixed concrete was used to create your basement walls, honeycomb-like air pockets could form and allow water to leak in. You should be able to see these honeycomb formations, and they are relatively easy to treat as part of your basement waterproofing process.
- Water Pipe Conduits: Water pipes need holes to get into your basement. These holes are typically sealed with a water plug, but those plugs only go so deep — about two inches on average. There may be a gap between the plug and the opening that allows for water to gather and leak into your basement.
- Floor Drains: Water backups related to your own drain system or even the municipal water supply may lead to flooding up through your floor drain. Your basement’s waterproofing system should include a filter that draws this type of water away from your home. If you have one, and you are still experiencing water backups in your basement, it may be time to have the system serviced and checked for problems.
- Wall Leaks: This is a challenge mostly in older homes. Water gathers in low spots after the soil settles over time. This lower settling level allows for water to begin leaking over the top of the wall of your basement. Water may also leak in through cracks in the middle of your walls, which is one of the more severe basement leaks. Middle-of-the-wall leaks appear because of massive pressure buildups in the ground and water pushing against the wall over time.
- Tie Rods: Steel rods are often used to make concrete forms. When concrete walls are finished, these 5/8 steel rods are removed, and they leave holes. In older homes, these holes can be a source of basement leaking.
- Sewer Pipes: Smaller sewer pipe leaks are the most difficult to deal with because they can go undetected for so long. You may first notice a sewer pipe leak of this variety by seeing stains on walls below the drain, ceiling staining or even signs of mold formation.
- Mortar Joints: Are your basement walls made of cinder block or brick rather than concrete? These blocks can break down and deteriorate over time, which then leads to leaking.
- Floor Cracks: Basement floor cracks are often the result of a home settling over time. As your home settles, water begins to collect in spaces underground, applying pressure to your basement floor. Water can then leak into your basement through these cracks, or it can even enter as humidity that creates mold and mildew.
- Sump Pumps: Sump pumps can fail for a number of reasons, including but not limited to poor installation, maintenance needs, clogged or frozen discharge lines, power failure, etc. A backup sump pump can help prevent leaking in most cases.
- Joints: Joints are like seams in your basement’s construction. Walls and flooring have to meet somewhere, and these bonding spots can be prone to water leakage.
- Drain Tiles: If you own a newer home, you may have drain tile wrapping around the edges of your basement. This system includes a plastic pipe wrapped in cloth sock and surrounded by gravel. A system like this is durable and effective, but it can be impacted by tree roots and other outside forces.
Solving Your Basement Leak Problems
First of all, it is important to understand that a leaking basement can be a dangerous situation for you and your family. A wet basement can lead to gas leaks, transmit bacteria if related to sewage, create risk for electrical shock, and can even weaken walls and structural integrity in some severe cases. How do you handle such a dangerous situation?
Remove your family from the home if you smell gas or sense another imminent threat. Then call on a basement waterproofing contractor to help secure the area and make the needed repairs. Find a contractor that’s locally based and that understands the unique challenges in your area. As with hiring any service provider, take what time you can to read reviews or contact references to ensure your contractor has a track record of success in helping people in your situation.
Not all basement leaks are severe, though. For example, if your leaks are related to overflowing gutters and compromised window wells, you can make the repairs on your own. Wondering how to clean up water in a basement? For small amounts of moisture, invest in quality air movers that can help dry your space and get it looking like new again — an air mover like the B-Air® Vent VP-25 compact air mover. You’ll find that a quality air mover like the VP-25 comes in handy in all sorts of home situations, and it can help quickly dry out your basement after leaking.
What to Expect When You Call a Pro
A professional can arrive at your home, assess the damage and make recommendations about the best course of action. A professional also has the experience and tools needed to navigate the situation safely and ensure you get the quickest, most effective solutions for your unique situation. Not only will a professional know how to dry a wet basement, but they can also provide solutions that help prevent future issues and long-term damage.