You’ve been a responsible homeowner. You’ve called a waterproofing contractor, you’ve had your basement prepared for excessive rain and floods, AND you gotten flood insurance to protect your home. You’ve done everything you were supposed to do. After taking all of these precautions, the last thing you want is to come home to is a basement that looks like a swimming pool. But, believe it or not, it can happen. Here’s how.
Though rain, floods, and snow are the primary causes of basement flooding, there are other factors that can result in flooding, and these nasty ne’er-do-wells are in plain site. All it takes is one rusty pipe, a broken water heater, or a clogged floor drain, and your precious belongings are in danger of being damaged or destroyed.
Leaking pipes. Most basements, whether finished or unfinished, have some exposed piping. Thankfully, since the pipes are exposed, half of the work is done for you! (Is that a sigh of relief I hear?) Now you must determine what kind of leak you have.
– If there is cold water dripping from the pipe, the cause is most likely condensation. This can be easily fixed by insulating the pipe with foam insulation and securing the insulation with tape or zip-ties.
– If the leak is coming from a pipe joint, be sure to turn off your home’s water supply and open a nearby downstream faucet to remove all water from the leaking pipe. Now use an epoxy and force it into the joint with a putty knife. Leave the epoxy to cure and then turn on the water supply once again.
– For a small leak that occurs in between joints, again turn off your home’s water supply and open the downstream faucet to remove any water. For a very temporary fix you can place duct tape or a pipe clamp over the leak until you are able to gather the proper tools and replace the section of leaking pipe.
Water Heaters. These basement behemoths may be responsible for your nice hot shower in the morning, but they can also cause a lot of damage to your basement if they are not maintained. They are prone to everything from leaks, to mildew, to fires, so it is vital that you know how to properly tend to your home’s water heater. (WARNING: Maintenance checks on water heaters should be done with caution to avoid any burns and/or scalds.)
– Frequently check all valves, pipe connections, water lines, and underneath the tank itself. Any signs of rust or water under the tank indicate that the bottom may be wearing thin and can go at any time. If that were to happen, all of the water in the tank would wind up on your basement floor.
– Annually check your water heater’s temperature/pressure valve. Pull up or down on the test handle, hot water should flow out of the overflow pipe. If it does, then your valve is working correctly.
– Prevent damage under the water heater by painting the area with a water sealant (be sure that the heat source OFF). You can also prevent damage by using a pan with a drain to collect any condensation.
Floor drains. Having a drain in the floor of your basement is a perfect way to avoid any possible flood damage. Although they are a great precaution to take, drains can’t work if they are clogged. Here are a few steps to unclog any basement floor drain.
– Remove all standing water, find the clean out access port in your plumbing system, and remove the plug closing the port with a crescent wrench.
– Place a snake into the access port slowly and retract it, removing the clog from the drain.
– Pour a small amount of water down the drain to make sure that it is in fact unclogged. If not, use the snake again to unclog the drain and repeat the previous step.
Maintaining these common basement items should be done regularly. In doing so, you can make sure that your belongings and your basement are protected from sources of flooding that are separate and apart from wet weather outside, preventing you from being left with the nightmare of dealing with a flooded basement.
With over 30 years of basement waterproofing experience, Ameri-Dry offers patented, permanently dry systems that are backed by a full lifetime warranty. For more information about Ameri-Dry and Ameri-Dry Guy, visit (www.keepamericadry.com), follow Ameri-Dry on Facebook or Twitter.