Why is my basement flooding?
Walking in on a flooded basement can be a nightmare. Once you recover from the initial shock, you need to find out what caused the flooding in the first place so that it can be fixed. There are many things to consider in regards to how and why the water came into your basement. For example, heavy rain, broken pipes, sewer back-ups, the slope of your lawn or foundation, and neglected gutters, to name a few of the most common.
Rain or melted snow is the most obvious problem, as large amounts of precipitation saturate the earth around your basement, it will then seep in and make its way through the foundation, thus making your basement its new stomping ground. The best way to combat the heavy rain and/or drainage from the melting snow would be to keep your gutters clean. Keep them clean, clog free, and in great working condition. The gutters of your home are your irrigating system. This is an important part of protection against water damage. They keep the water flowing away from your house, which keeps it from seeping through the foundation of your house.
A broken pipe or sewage back-up is another possibility as to why your basement has water in it. Some homes have a sewer back-up line, which is lower than the basement floor. It carries the water from toilets, tubs, and sinks out of the house to the sewage system. If there is a back-up problem or a break in that line, you can expect the water to come flowing back into your house, ending up in your basement or ground floor.
The "grade" of your house—which is the slope of your lawn, could possibly cause flooding or water to leak into your basement. Your lawn should be on a downward slope so that gravity does what it is supposed to do and moves the water down and away from your house and into the sewers or drainage areas. Check to see if you might have a problem. Take a walk around your home during or right after a heavy rainstorm to check for small pools of water. If there is water pooling around your home then you could be looking at a future leak or flood.
There are some waterproofing systems that could reduce the risk of basement flooding. The installment of "weeping tile" pulls water away from your home and into the sewage system. However, if there is an overflow of water this system can also fail and result in a flooded basement.
Be proactive when it comes to protecting your house against water damage. Have your plumbing checked at the first hint of a problem, watch out for water pooling, and keep your gutters clean and maintained. Also, if you can, have your basement refinished to be water resistant. If you are still unsure what caused your basement to flood, be sure to call a professional to help solve the mystery and get it repaired. Be sure to inspect your basement frequently to look for seeps, cracks, and water to catch it as quickly as possible to minimize the cost of repair.