You know as soon as you sniff the air that there is trouble in your basement or crawlspace. Is it wet? Is it moldy? How do I fix it? Either way, the only way to know for sure is to investigate.
Some causes that are easy to remedy are a washer that overflows, a window that was left open, or a leaky pipe or hot water heater. Appliance leak cleanup is usually pretty simple once you stop the water at the source. To prevent appliance leaks in the future, consider installing water leak detectors. There are a multitude of them on the market and you will find one that fits your needs. The most basic simply make a loud attention-getting noise when they get wet. More sophisticated models send a message to your phone if the alarm is triggered. This might be a good option if you are away from home for long periods of time or if you have a long commute. This system would let you alert a neighbor or relative to check on the issue.
Appliance leak not the issue? Then pinpointing the cause will take some detective work.
Check your drains. Did one of them get blocked? The next thing to check is your sump pump if you have one. Make sure that it works properly. Once you have found the cause and stopped or mitigated the water issue, you can look at finding a permanent solution.
Water ends up in your basement for a few reasons. If you find the cause you will know how to solve the problem and prevent future damage.
Newer homes or older homes where you have made renovations settle over time as they age. It is possible that your home has settled, and the water can now get into the basement because of the shift. If this is the case, the solution may involve setting up drainage channels. It may be as simple as adjusting your downspouts and where they dump the water when it reaches the bottom. Often you can add another piece to the end of the downspout to have the water empty further from the house. You may also consider adding gravel around window ledges and other places where water collects to help absorb it before it ends up in your home. A bit of grading or changes can be a simple solution.
Another common cause is that your downspouts and drains are not in the correct place or are not working. Sometimes they just need to be repositioned or adjusted. Perhaps part of your gutter is blocked or has pulled away from your house. These will cause the water to flow in a different direction and some of it will probably end up in the basement.
If you’re still unsure, a professional can help you evaluate the issue and find the best long-term solution. When you meet with a professional, be sure to discuss all the options and the one you should start with. This issue may not be a quick easy fix, but you will get there. Often a larger plan is executed in steps, and you should see the amount of water decrease steadily as you put more and more steps in place.
A professional will aid in removing as much of the water as possible and begin the process of drying out the affected area. Additionally, depending on the amount of damage, the professional you chose should discuss water damage clean up and restoration tactics to restore your space back to its original state. They’ll also aid in making sure the area is dried to prevent mold concerns.
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