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Basement Flooding in an Old Home

Finding water in your basement can be quite a shock. Not only does basement flooding mean expensive repairs, it may also mean the ruin of whatever was stored down there. Therefore, we need to get to the bottom of where that water is coming from to ensure it doesn’t return, once the current disaster is cleaned up!

For now, we’ll focus on basement flooding in an old home. Basement flooding is likely caused by different things in an old home than a new one. If you need help with basement flooding in a newer home, check out our last article. If you’re struggling with moisture, rather than water, we have an article for you as well.

Outdated, Broken Plumbing

When a home has been standing for decades, the plumbing takes quite a beating. In fact, when plumbing has been used for that long, it begins to lose its efficiency. Not only can old pipes be unable to keep up with modern water pressure, they can also rust.

Rusted pipes don’t just make the tap taste like metal. When pipes rust, it can weaken them and the parts holding them together. With every year, your home’s plumbing becomes more and more likely to burst somewhere.

If the there’s no storm outside and the water in your basement looks mostly clear, there’s a good chance it’s coming from a burst pipe. Call us immediately for emergency repair services.

Damaged Basement Walls

If the water in your basement looks a bit less clear, or straight up muddy, it’s most likely coming from outside. There are two ways for outside water to come in. The first is that it’s coming through damaged basement walls.

Over the years, your basement walls, if not properly waterproofed, will gain cracks for water to get in. The cracks won’t allow much more than damp walls at first. However, with time, the cracks will widen and reach all the way inside. When it rains, the water that soaks into the surrounding soil will begin leaking into your basement through the walls.

If this is the source of your basement flooding, it’s either a very minor flood, or there were warning leaks leading up to this. If it’s storming hard at the moment, a small leak may have turned into a sudden stream of water in your basement. Either way, it’s time to get that fixed with exterior basement waterproofing.

Groundwater Rising

The second way water can come in from outside, causing basement flooding, is through the basement floor. If you live at the bottom of a hill, if it’s been particularly rainy lately, or if an existing subfloor sump pump has stopped working, water will rise up into the basement from the surrounding ground. This is caused by the equilibrium of the groundwater. The solution is to have a sump pump installed, or to have an existing one checked for malfunctions. A sump pump will collect water that rises up beneath the floor, redirecting it away from the house.

Basement Flooding in a New Home

If you’ve recently moved into a new home, suddenly finding water in the basement is a huge shock. After all, it’s old homes that should be having these problems, right? Unfortunately, new homes have a couple of potential causes for basement flooding as well. Because the home is new, you’re the first family living in it after it’s been built. That means, any issue in the construction of the building that’s gone unnoticed until now is now your problem. 

For now, we’ll focus on basement flooding in a new home. Basement flooding is likely caused by different things in a new home than in an old one. If you need help with basement flooding in an older home, check out our next article. If you’re struggling with moisture, rather than water, we have an article for you as well.

Poor Plumbing

Unfortunately, not all buildings are made with good plumbing. Plumbing contractors are often hired to do the entire plumbing system in a new home as it’s being built. If the company in charge of the building’s construction wants to save money, they’ll cut corners. That can mean that they hire people with a poor reputation or lack of training. That leads to a home with extremely poor plumbing.

If pipe connections are done wrong or placed poorly, or even if the wrong size piping is used, the new owners of the home may end up with a burst pipe right off the bat. A burst, inflowing pipe means an immediate flooding situation. If the pipe is placed in a wall without any nearby openings, or below the main floor, a burst will lead to basement flooding. In that case, you need immediate, emergency plumbing assistance.

How do you know if poor plumbing is the cause of your basement flooding? The easiest way to figure this out is by ruling out water from outside. If it’s not storming and the water looks clear, it’s probably from a burst pipe. If it is storming, but the water looks clear, you might need a professional’s opinion. Storm water is typically filled with sediment, but stranger things have happened than clear storm water.

Poor or Nonexistent Waterproofing

If your home was just recently built, it’s unlikely that your basement has flooded from through the basement walls, but not impossible. If the basement walls were built poorly, there may be enough space, perhaps between bricks, for water to come in. With exterior basement waterproofing, this wouldn’t be possible.

Any home in a location that risks heavy groundwater should have exterior basement waterproofing done during initial construction. However, this isn’t the industry standard, which leaves homeowners, like you, having to get that done yourself.

Give us a call and have us come out to assess your basement flooding. If we find that your walls are letting in groundwater, we can make a plan for you to have your basement walls waterproofed.

Poor Home Location

Finally, the basement flooding could be caused by poor location. For example, if your home is at the bottom of a hill, rainwater will pool there. While water pooling on the surface can cause issues, it’s more likely to cause problems after it’s soaked into the ground.

You know how the amount of water in your straw will always be at the same height as the water in your glass? This is from equilibrium. If the ground around your basement is full of water, that water will rise up, into the water-free space in your basement. The solution to this kind of flooding is installing a sump pump, which should have been done during construction.