No matter where you are located your home is at risk of flooding. While these potential disasters are more likely in places that are near large bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, they can also occur in environments that you would never expect. In fact flooding is the number one disaster in the United States, accounting for $3 billion in annual damage claims. That is why it’s important to know the causes, and the potential costs of a flooded basement.
The most common cause of basement flooding is excessive rain fall. If an area gets pelted by multiple prolonged storms, the water can seep down into the soil, saturating the area around the foundation of your home. If the issue becomes too serious, this liquid can get in through cracks in the concrete slab that supports the building, spilling into your basement. Since this is based largely on weather rather than environment or location it has the potential to happen anywhere.
The level of your home and the ground around it can contribute to these issues. Water will always roll down hill, so if you live in a valley or location that is near high ground, you could have an issue with rain run off, spilling down into your area to cause a flood. While you can’t control the entire neighborhood, one thing you can do is make sure that the lawn of your property is graded sloping away from the structure of the building. That will help to direct some of the runoff back into sewers.
Another culprit that can cause basement flooding is backed up sewer lines. Your home’s plumbing is connected to the public sewer system. That is how water from your sink, shower, and toilet is disposed of in a sanitary manner. However if the pipes that allow waste liquid to drain get clogged, that same water can come rushing back into your home, flooding your basement and causing a toxic mess.
There are several safety valves that many basements have which can help to prevent some of the damage that occurs when a flood hits. Often there will be special drains that are used to direct the water back into the sewers. In some cases there will also be a sub pump, which is an electrical device that automatically kicks in and actively moves water out of the area. However if these fail due to clogging, or electrical outages, then the damage that ensues can be worse.
When a flood does happen in your basement you have to act quickly in order to offset long term damage. Start by airing the room out, opening windows, and running a dehumidifier if safely possible. You should also document the situation, taking pictures of everything. Then call your insurance company right away to see how much assistance they can give you.
Once you have the initial damage control handled, you’ll need to enlist the help of a professional flood repair company to restore the function and safety of your home. A waterproofing company will be able to remove the moisture, and help to repair your foundation so that the building is strong and secure. A disaster restoration service will go further, dealing with mold and mildew issues, and helping to completely replace the look of your basement.