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Outdated, Broken Plumbing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.

3 Causes for Basement Mold Problems

Are you struggling with mold in your basement? Trying to figure out the source of basement mold problems can be tricky. However, the good news is that it’s usually caused by one of three things. Figuring out which of these three things is leading to basement mold in your home is the first step in getting rid of it. Fortunately, if you have trouble finding the source, our professionals at POM Waterproofing can come take a look for ourselves.

Interior Condensation

The first thing that can cause basement mold problems is actually very common, especially with unfinished basements. Interior condensation is caused when your basement is badly insulated and condensation gathers against the walls. This can happen with unfinished walls made of concrete and even with badly done drywall with insufficient insulation.

The way interior condensation works has to do with temperature. You know how a cold glass will gather moisture on a hot day? The water in the air goes from its gas form to its liquid form when it touched the cold side of the glass and the molecules slow down. The same thing happens in your basement if your basement is warm and the outdoors are cold.

The cold ground against your basement wall makes the stone cold. Therefore, any moisture in the basement air can become condensation on the cold walls as soon as it makes contact. When t his condensation gathers, it will often run down the wall, collecting at the floor and giving the perfect, damp environment for mold to grow. The same can be said for basement windows with mold in the sill.

The solution to interior condensation causing mold is to buy an air dehumidifier. If the moisture is taken out of the air, there will be no moisture to collect on the walls. However, this is a short term solution. For a long term fix, you’ll need to have your walls sealed and insulated.

Exterior Wall Leaking

Exterior wall leaking can look a lot like interior condensation issues. This is why a professional eye is really helpful in the diagnosis process. When your exterior basement wall is not sealed properly, ground water and moisture can leak into the cracks in the wall. After a few years, these cracks will get longer and wider, allowing the water to leak in, onto the basement walls. 

A crack big enough for water to get in may sound large, but can actually be small enough not to notice without looking for it. The solution to these cracks is getting exterior basement waterproofing done. It’s somewhat extensive, but necessary to keep your basement leak free.

Covering the cracks from the inside will actually worsen the problem. Water will continue leaking into the wall. But, with no outlet, it will remain in the wall, freezing and thawing until it breaks the walls down entirely.

Ground Water Rising

And, last but not least, mold can be caused in ernest by ground water that rises up through the basement floor. This can happen in both finished and unfinished basements. However, in finished basements, you may not know this is happening until your entire basement floor has molded through to the surface.

This issue is severe and is best handled by installing a sump pump. A sump pump collects water along the floor of the basement. When the tank reaches a certain fullness, it will pump out all of the water through a pipe leading away from the house.

If any of these issues may be plaguing your home, give us a call at POM Waterproofing. Our team will help you find the source of your mold and put a stop to it.

Can a Basement with Moisture Problems Be Renovated?

So, you have an unfinished basement and you want to renovate it into something useful. However, your basement has some moisture problems. The question then becomes: can a basement with moisture problems be renovated? The answer is: it depends. Let’s take a closer look at what it depends on.

What Is the Source?

The first thing we need to know is where the source of the moisture is. Is the moisture showing up on your walls alone? Is it on the floors? Determining the source of the moisture will go a long way toward telling you if you can renovate. If you’re unable to ascertain the source of the moisture by yourself, having a professional come and evaluate your basement is a necessary start.

How Moisture Affects the Home

The reason you need to have your basement moisture’s source determined is because the source changes everything about whether or not it will persist after renovation. Furthermore, it will also determine whether persistence will lead to long-term problems.

Exterior Moisture

For example, if the moisture is coming from outside of the foundation walls and is seeping in through cracks, you will need to waterproof or damp proof the basement in order to renovate without problem. This is because putting drywall and insulation against a wall that’s becoming damp from the outside will quickly lead to water damage and mold problems. The dark space between your drywall and foundation wall is the perfect place for mold to grow and spread. From there, it will continue eating the insulation and eventually spread to the wooden structure of the house.

If the moisture is seeping up through the floor from the ground, you’ll need to have a sump pump installed prior to renovating. Otherwise, ground water can cause the same problem with your floor. The subfloor will get damp and end up molding or becoming soft and fragile from water damage. A waterproof, protective layer will keep ground water from touching the subfloor and a sump pump will collect and redirect water away from the home.

Professional Waterproofing

The reason why professional waterproofing is necessary to solve these problems is because it’s a fairly extensive job. You might feel inclined to just paint the interior, basement wall or fill in any cracks. However, these solutions actually cause more problems than they solve. Filling in cracks from the inside will block any exit for water, leaving it to sit within the basement wall. Then, when the temperature changes, it will expand and contract within the wall. That can cause massive amounts of damage to the structural integrity of the house. When the water is on the ground, the only solution is removal. When it’s on the walls, you must block its entry from the exterior.

Interior Moisture

If the moisture in your basement is determined to be from condensation, renovation is perfectly safe. Condensation is a common problem in basements. It’s caused by the subterranean walls being cold to the touch and the interior air being warm. The moisture in the air simply collects on the cold walls. After drying any condensation from the walls and installing insulation and drywall, the condensation should stop collecting at all. From then on, it has no more access to the cold, stone walls. Plus, the drywall is not such an extreme temperature.

What Is a Sump Pump and Do I Need One?

If you find yourself researching solutions to basement flooding or you’ve spent some time on any plumbing website, you might have seen talk of sump pumps. What is a sump pump? They’re tools made for preventing flooding and pooling in basements, primarily. Let’s take a look at how they work and how a sump pump could help you.

How Are They Installed?

Sump pump installation is somewhat extensive, so they’re usually used only in situations where it’s strictly necessary. Sump pumps are installed beneath floor level. Because these are most frequently used in unfinished basements, a hole is usually cut into the exposed, cement floor.

The body of the sump pump is the sump basin, which is fitted into the hole in the floor. These basins can vary in size, but are usually around two feet deep. This basin is for collecting water and moisture that would otherwise settle and pool on the basement floor. It houses the rest of the sump pump as well.

Sump basins – and therefore pumps – can also be installed underneath a layer of flooring. For finished basements with little integrity in the subfloor’s waterproof qualities, this is vital. Here’s why:

What Are They For?

A sump pump’s entire purpose is moving water away from the house. In an unfinished basement, this ensures that it doesn’t flood. However, for finished basements, this does even more. 

First, you should put a waterproof, protective layer between the flooring and the subfloor. This keeps any moisture from damaging the flooring or causing mold growth and wood rot. Then, the next hurdle is ensuring that that space between the waterproof layer and subfloor doesn’t just flood with water. That’s where the sump pump comes in. It collects any water between the protected flooring and the subfloor and escorts it away from your home.

How Do They Work?

Sump pumps, as you know, are for moving water away from the house. But, how do they work? It’s actually quite interesting! Sump basins have a sensor in them to detect water. This sensor can be adjusted to sit at any level you like. If you want faster water removal, it can be set a few inches from the bottom. If you’re not in any hurry, you can put it closer to the top.

As moisture drips and water runs into the basin, the sensor will notice when it’s been reached and will trigger the pump to begin pumping water out. Water is then pulled from the basin and pumped through a pipe into the ground some distance from the house. This distance can vary, but is usually more than 10 feet away, going as far as 30 or more.

By moving the water this far away from the house, as it soaks back into the earth, it will not be able to reach the house’s foundation again. While the ground is certain to get wet near the house again as rain and snow moves down through the dirt, this system of repeatedly removing the water keeps it from settling in your basement indefinitely.

Do I Need One?

If you have basement moisture, pooling, or flooding problems, you need to have one of POM Plumbing’s experts come visit your home. An assessment may reveal that a sump pump is exactly what you need. However, there are many other problems that cause moisture and leaks in the basement, and we want to find the solution that’s right for you.

Prevent Basement Flooding with a Sump Pump

Is your unfinished basement flooding or collecting pools of water? Is your finished basement’s flooring feeling soft and weak from rot? No matter the cause, you have a serious moisture problem. Water and moisture in a basement can spell huge problems for your home down the line. So, how can you prevent basement flooding? The answer might just be a sump pump. Here’s how POM Plumbing can help.

Assess the Problem

The first thing we need to do is send out one of our plumbing experts to take a look at your home. The years of experience that POM Plumbing professionals have makes looking around and spotting the source of the problem a piece of cake.

Some basement moisture problems are caused by leaking walls or condensation. Both of these have different solutions. However, if it’s water coming up through the subfloor, a sump pump is the only solution.

Why Is There Water?

Water can leak up through a subfloor in both finished and unfinished basements. In unfinished spaces, where the floor is cement or dirt, this usually leads to mud, pooling, or a complete flood. For those of you with things in your unfinished basement, such as laundry machines, stored boxes, or canned food, flooding id dangerous. Even if the amount of standing water is very shallow, this is a huge health and safety concern.

Why Is Standing Water Dangerous?

The reason why this is so dangerous comes in a number of forms. For one, if you have laundry machinery in your basement, it’s getting electrical input. A flood that rises high enough to meet with the bottom of the machines can come into contact with electrical components. This can electrify the entire wet area, which can electrocute you. 

Standing water is also very attractive to rodents, who need water to live, and bugs, who want to lay eggs in it. Pests are universally dangerous for your health, as they carry diseases of all kind. Even small amounts of water or damp on the floor can spur mold growth, potentially leading to chronic respiratory illness or allergic reactions.

Even if all of these dangers were no issue, there’s also the risk toward your house and its structure. Any moisture that is able to reach wooden parts of your home structure will rot the wood and destabilize your house. This rot can climb support beams and leach into other parts of the structure. This is one of the reasons why more notable floods have caused such devastation for people during storms and hurricanes, and local flooding.

Getting a Sump Pump

Fortunately, sump pumps are a fantastic solution. These pumps are installed in the basement floor within a large basin. As the basin collects water, a sensor tells the pump when the basin is full. At that point, the pump will suck up all of the water in the basin, pumping it far away from your home. This keeps your basement dry and safe, allowing you to rest easy, knowing you’re not at the mercy of groundwater.

Give us a call at POM Plumbing if you need an assessment done in your basement.