Homeowners in Toronto, Canada worry about basement floods when inclement weather rolls around. However, that’s not the only time basement floods happen. A myriad of issues results in excess water in the basement. You never know when a flood is about to strike, so not many homeowners know how to deal with the aftermath.
Luckily, we want to help you get your basement back. In this post, we detail everything you need to know about basement floods. From causes to long-term solutions, we have you covered. Never worry about what to do when your basement floods again.
Causes of Basement Floods
City of Windsor provides some causes of basement floods result from many different issues. Common causes of basement floods include:
Issues with plumbing cause basement floods in a few ways. First, old pipes suffer leaks and have the potential to burst when put under pressure. Both of these occurrences lead to puddles at the least, and basement floods at the worst.
Additionally, if your sump pumps malfunction or fails, then your basement is left vulnerable to any form of leak. A sump pump removes excess water from the basement, which means it takes care of potential basement floods. If it stops working for any reason, then you’re open to flood issues. Finally, floods potentially stem from washing machine malfunctions, water heater problems, or other pieces of household equipment that deal with water.
Next, sewage leaks lead to floods in the basement. This happens when the septic tank backs up or if the sewer line clogs. Septic tank problems, no matter the severity, must be addressed by professional plumbers. Also, this problem may stem from an outside city sewer service. In that case, you must call the local sewage department to determine if clogs are pervading the neighborhood.
Rain, snow, poor yard drainage, and sewer backups all result in basement floods if your foundation is not up to standard. Cracks and other damages impede the quality of your home’s foundation, which makes it vulnerable to leaks and floods. These issues usually are taken care of by the sump pump, but some cracks are so substantial that a sump pump cannot remove all the water left through.
Basement floods are more likely to occur when the space is not properly sealed. A poorly sealed basement lets leaks slip through. This usually happens when the house is first built. Even if a home had proper seals, over time those seals deteriorate, which leaves you vulnerable to basement floods. If you find puddles of water consistently in the basement after any kind of rainfall, this likely caused the leaks.
Gutters lead water away from your home via the downspout, which directs the water far away from the foundation. However, if the gutters are clogged, the water drains down the sides of the home and pools around the foundation. From here, the water seeps into the basement with the help of foundation cracks caused by an increase in pressure from the excess water.
Improper Drainage System
This goes along with cluttered gutters. If the downspout points too close to your house, then it leads water straight to the basement. Additionally, it can overload the weeping tile and cause leaks. A weeping tile—or a porous pipe—discharges underground water and redirects water away you’re your home. However, excessive pressure on the weeping tile leads to flood problems. Also, downspouts should lead toward the street or the backyard to be most effective. Here is an helpful article about drain cleaning. Know how to do it.
When you first discover that your basement flooded, your mind runs in a million different directions. Even for those who have experienced basement floods before and know the correct response, the shock of a basement flood causes homeowners to panic—and for good reason!
However, there are a few things to do when you find out about basement floods.
- Call professional plumbers. Before you do anything else, call a professional plumbing company for help. First on your list should be a plumber. They are able to assess the damage and help you proceed. Next, call an electrician. You never know if the water got into your electrical components, so it’s best to contact an electrician to evaluate any damage your wiring may have. Lastly, call a septic specialist if you believe the flood happened because of sewage problems.
- Do not enter. Though it’s tempting to immediately enter a flooded basement to assess the damage, refrain from doing so. As stated previously, leaks and floods have the potential to impact electrical wiring. If you enter the basement and touch the electrically charged water, extreme injuries are to follow.
- Collect damp possessions. Once you determine that the water is safe, remove your possessions from the basement. Basement floods damage more than the space. They have the potential to ruin memories. If you store valuable possessions or family heirlooms in the basement, a flood can damage those items beyond repair. Move any untouched items from the basement to a safe, dry area to limit the damage done.
- Clear the water. For a couple of inches, use mops and towels to remove the excess water. If your basement floods, it’s likely that your sump pump malfunctioned in some way—even if the initial cause does not relate to the sump pump. For two feet of water or more, it’s time to call Mr. Plumber to help remove the water.
- Remove carpet and drywall. After everything is cleared, evaluate the damage to your carpet and drywall. This doesn’t apply to every homeowner, but those with carpeted basements must remove the carpet to completely dry the area.
- Dry the space. Next, take steps to dry the basement. This goes beyond letting it air dry. Use industrial fans, towels, and a dehumidifier to get rid of that final layer of wetness.
- Mold prevention. Finally, take steps to eliminate mold growth before it even starts. Mold flourishes in flood environments, so are sure to take the preventative measures necessary to keep it at bay. Use soapy, warm water to clean the area and spray an anti-mildew solution for good measure.
Long-Term Solutions for Basement Floods
Now that you know how to immediately respond to basement floods, there are long-term steps you can take to ensure the safety of your basement. In general, preventative care provides the most protection from floods. This means it’s important to invest in solutions that last beyond the short term. Here are some things to think about.
- Invest in sump pump backups. No matter the cause, the sump pump must malfunction in some way for your basement to flood. Sump pumps should be able to handle minor flood risks without issue. However, sometimes sump pumps lose functionality. In that case, it’s good to have a backup. A backup covers any problems the primary pump faces.
- Check sump pump functions. After basement floods, it is good practice to have your sump pump evaluated by a licensed plumber. They determine if the sump pump needs a repair, or if you need a replacement. Like with all other household equipment, sump pumps reach an age where their functionality plummets. In general, a sump pump lasts 10 years.
- Waterproof your basement. An experienced plumber waterproofs your basement with a multitude of techniques. Sealers—usually epoxies or urethanes—are pressure injected into cracks and holes. Coatings are also used but do not solve major problems. Finally, exterior waterproofing and foundation crack injections are utilized to firmly seal the exterior.
- Clean gutters and downspouts. The easiest way to combat floods stems from gutter maintenance. Clean gutters allow water to flow from the roof to the downspout, which transfers the water away from your home. Make sure to clean your gutters regularly to remove clogs and excess debris.
- Inspect sewers and septic systems. Like with the sump pump in your home, the septic system requires preventative care to ensure it functions properly at all times. Have your septic tank cleaned and your sewers inspected regularly to prevent clogs, backups and overflows. This causes basement floods more often than you think, so stay on top of your sewer and septic system maintenance.
- This one seems like a no-brainer, but many homeowners don’t know how much their insurance covers basement floods—or if it even covers flooding at all. More often than not, homeowners need flood-specific insurance to cover all of the damages done by flooding. Know how your insurance works in case you ever experience another flood. Know what Insurance Bureau Canada says to take preparation for water damage.
Do these eight things before calling a plumber
Few things are worse than walking into your basement and finding standing water. Dealing with a flooded basement is time-consuming, exhausting, and—you won’t be surprised to hear this—expensive. Fortunately, you can save yourself some big bucks by following this step-by-step guide before you call a professional plumbing company.
1: Know when you need help.
If either of these statements is true for your situation, don’t try to DIY a fix:
- You need to walk through water to turn off the electricity in your basement.
- You have more than two feet of standing water.
Also consider bringing us in if you need help inspecting, repairing, or preventing future damage. It’s never a bad idea to call in a professional plumbing company before you need one.
2: Shut it down.
Make sure you can get through your basement without walking through any water. If you can, then slip on some non-conductive boots and gloves (better safe than sorry!) and turn off all electricity to the basement and any appliances in it.
Also, shut off the water to any broken appliances or pipes. You can make this process quick and simple by turning off the main water supply.
If walking through your basement means walking through water, call an electrician immediately to turn off your electricity safely.
3: Call your insurance company.
Are you covered? Check with your insurance about your policy and how to file a claim.
4: Determine the cause.
If it’s storming, you can likely blame the weather for your flooding. In that case, wait to enter your basement until the weather event has completely passed. Then, when it’s safe, scan your basement to inspect for leaks through the walls, floors, foundation, or windows. Those are all indications that the storm caused too much water to build up around the outside of your basement.
If it’s not storming, you might have a burst pipe. If your basement is finished, it might be a bit tricky to spot the leak—unless it’s a real gusher. Shining a flashlight on the walls and ceiling might help you pick up on wet spots.
Still, no luck hunting down the leak? Check your appliance hoses. Sometimes it’s that simple.
5: Remove the Water
You can remove standing water from your basement with just about anything, but we recommend a pool pump, wet vacuum, or a mop and bucket.
If you had a sump pump and your basement still flooded, the sump pump obviously failed. (So sorry.) A trustworthy Toms River plumber can help you determine what went wrong and how to fix it.
6: Assess the damage and start the removal.
Remove your belongings from the basement, and let them dry for at least 48 hours. Don’t leave these items in the basement to dry; take them to another room in your home or outside for some sun. After 48 hours, begin checking for mold and mildew.
Next, inspect the basement floors and walls. Remove any wet carpet and drywall, which can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.
7: Vent and sanitize.
To dry things out, you’ll need good airflow in your basement for about three days. Get some fans, use a dehumidifier, and get as much circulation as you can. HEPA air purifiers can also be a huge help.
When everything’s completely dry, clean it all with anti-mildew spray. We’re talking floors, walls, appliances, furniture… everything. Take precautions to not track anything affected by flooding into other areas of your home. You don’t want to become a fungus farm!
8: Prevent another disaster.
You just went through all of that work to clean up the damage. Let’s make sure you don’t have to do it again! Here are several ways to prevent basement flooding:
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- Move any rain downspouts away from your foundation—at least five feet.
- Install a sump pump and regularly maintain it.
- Inspect sewer lines for invading tree roots and other blockages.
- Snake your indoor pipes annually.
- Check for cracks and weak spots in your walls.
- Grade your landscaping away from your home, sloping at least one inch per foot for six-eight feet.
- Consult a professional plumber for repairs and waterproofing.
The Aftermath of a Basement Flood
A flooded basement could generate a lot of problems besides property damage.
The moisture that a flood leaves behind instigates the growth of mold in your basement. Mold thrives in damp spaces made of wood and cardboard. It can cause severe health problems like allergies, irritation in the eyes, colds, and even brain-related issues. If your basement was flooded, you might want to consider speaking to your plumber about ways to remove and prevent mold.
Damage to Your Possessions
Water can cause massive damage to your belongings. It would be best to act quickly, especially if you have electronics in your basement. Water can damage and destroy furniture, electronics, and wiring.
How to Manage a Basement Flood
Basement flooding can cause severe water damage to your home and is not a DIY activity. Seeking the help of your emergency plumber can help mitigate the impact.
Make Sure You Are Safe
If you think the flooding is dangerous, you might consider packing a few essentials and leaving the house immediately after contacting your emergency plumber.
Contact the Experts
Once you establish the area is safe, contact your emergency plumber. When the plumbing expert arrives, they can do the necessary assessments and repairs. Professional plumbers have equipment like pumps and vacuums that can clean the water immediately.
Remove Your Belongings
After your emergency plumber has drained the water, you may retrieve your belongings in the order of priority. It would be best to remove electrical and electronic items first before moving on to furniture and carpets.
Find the Underlying Problem
After you are done cleaning and restoring your basement, try and do everything you can to prevent future flooding. A good start will be to find the reason for the flood. Your emergency plumber can get to the bottom of the issue with inspection and assessment. The expert will also educate you on what you need to do to avoid a similar situation.
Finding the broken pipe or damaged sump is the first step to maintenance. Once the damage is detected, your plumber will try to identify the cause of the damage. Getting to the root cause is the best way to solve it. You can always get help from a professional plumbers, here is how to choose a professional plumber.
Fix and Replace
It may not always be as simple as taping a pipe crack with insulation tape. You may need to replace your plumbing and drainage components to put an end to the problem. If the flood was caused by sewage backup, you might have to apply for an additional indirect connection to the main sewer.
Regular Inspection and Maintenance
Regular check-ups and inspections by your emergency plumber can help prevent flooding. You may ask the experts to check how stable the piping is or how strong the sump and foundation are. Fixing cracks and leaks as soon as they come to attention is also essential. If you live in the area it’s best to stay prepared ahead of winter or tropical weather.
Solve Your Plumbing Emergencies With Citizen Plumbing
Have you noticed slow-moving sinks, gurgling noises, or unpleasant smells coming out of your sinks? It could be time for a drain replacement or repair.
We’re the best plumber in Toronto who provide guaranteed solutions to all your plumbing problems! Our professional plumbers can expertly fix clogged or damaged pipes. Not only do we deliver outstanding plumbing service, but we also always put our customer’s needs first.
Plumbing problems are an emergency. That is why we have 24 hour plumber in Toronto. A pipe leak can cost you a lot in water bills if not fixed quickly. Don’t try to fix it by yourself, you might be doing more harm to yourself than good. Oftentimes people watch videos online and try to fix their own plumbing problems, and failing at it makes the problem bigger.