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Intrusive water is never welcome in your home. You risk damage to the actual structure of the home and the devastating loss of your personal possessions. You might even suffer a mold infestation due to lingering moisture. Basements are particularly vulnerable to flooding, not only from broken pipes, but from external water sources as well.
Here are a few valuable tips on how to keep potential water damage sources under control:
Keeping gutters clean of debris should be a part of every homeowner’s routine maintenance program. Depending on the surrounding trees, gutter cleaning may be required a few times a year. Add “aftermarket” screens to prevent leaves from getting into the gutters.
Watch the entire system during a heavy rain for overflowing gutters, you might need a second downspout to act as a backup if the first one gets blocked. All downspouts should direct the flow at least 10 feet from the foundation; yes, that IS a long distance. If your discharge is any closer, eroding soil from under the house footings can lead to cracking of walls and ceilings.
Your yard should slope away from the homesite. Sometimes paving settles over time and water flow can change direction toward the house, sometimes the location of the home on the property is situated below the surrounding hills. A civil engineer may be required to analyze the situation and determine the appropriate solutions.
Controlling Subsurface Groundwater
If no surface water sources are found, then the source of the water is likely subsurface groundwater under hydrostatic pressure. Unfortunately, subsurface groundwater problems are more difficult and more expensive to fix than surface groundwater problems.
When the groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. Hydrostatic pressure pushes water through hairline cracks.
Storm Water Back Ups
In many older houses with basements (mostly pre-1980), there is a perimeter foundation drain outside the exterior wall, adjacent to the footings at the time the house was built. A pipe was connected from the house to the street, draining into the city storm sewer system. Over the years, the rainwater in the overworked municipal sewer system can get so high that water flows backwards toward the house.
A modern sump pump will usually alleviate this situation. When it doesn’t, the more expensive alternative is to dig up and cap the pipe that is running from the house to the street from the perimeter foundation drain. If you believe you have this problem, contact TRAC Solutions for advice.
Standing water is dangerous because of the electrical components, structural integrity and mold potential. There is a chance of shorting out your electrical systems or even electrocuting yourself! Have a licensed electrician assure you that the electricity has been cut off from the home.
Additionally, depending on how long the water has been on the floor, it can destroy your drywall, warm wood and rust metal. Your flooring can be ruined, even the glue on tiles can be destroyed.
After identifying the water source then repairing the damage, ridding your home of mildew and mold becomes the next goal. Areas that have been wet for more than 48 hours can harbor and support mold growth. Since the spores travel by air, the infestation can spread via HVAC units, upstairs with the clean laundry, even by passive airflow. Again, have TRAC Solutions make recommendations to prevent potential mold problems.
TRAC Solutions is a locally-owned Eau Claire company with more than 25 years of experience in Western Wisconsin. With so many years of experience, they have seen many preventable problems and many unpreventable disasters. When your home suffers from water damage, call the experts in Eau Claire for immediate help.