Basement Drying >> How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement

Basement flooding caused by saturated ground can be corrected by installing a footing drain around the foundation (see illustration below). The drain collects groundwater and directs it to a sump. How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement When the sump fills, water is pumped out, usually onto the ground away from the building. Depending on local conditions, the drain and pumping system may have to handle large volumes of water.
If the pump gets overloaded, or if there is a loss of power, the system designed to keep groundwater out of your basement can act as a conduit to bring water in. You can prevent sump flooding by doing one or more of these floodproofing projects:  Install a larger sump pump, How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement Add a second battery backup sump pump,  Be certain that downspouts are not connected to the footing drain,  Make sure the downspouts drain away from the house,  Redirect the downspouts and sump pump outfall farther away from the house, and/or  Run the sump pump outfall above ground level or use a check valve to prevent back flow.
 Precautions: When there is water in your basement, it is hard to tell how it got in. It’s a good idea to check for cracks in the walls How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement and install sewer backup protection, too. Using a battery backup sump pump is the safest alternative, plus you do not have to be home to start it. If your existing backup sump pump uses a generator for a power source, be sure the generator is set up outside (where it won’t flood) or vented to the outside to direct deadly carbon monoxide exhaust fumes outdoors.
Groundwater can seep into your basement around pipes or through cracks in the walls or floor. This may be difficult to determine if the walls have been covered with paneling or other finishing. How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement The best way to deal with a groundwater problem is to waterproof the walls and relieve the water pressure through a footing drain system and sump (see previous page). Footing drains are typically installed around the perimeter of the house, along the foundation.
If this is not possible, drains can be installed on the interior of the basement, along the basement walls, and directed toward the sump pump pit. Cracks can be repaired and the walls can be waterproofed from inside or outside. Waterproofing on the outside is more effective because groundwater pressure forces the sealer into the How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement foundation. The best technique is to dig a ditch around the basement wall so that you can apply an epoxy sealant to the exterior walls.
This can be done by the handyperson (many home maintenance manuals have instructions for this) or a commercial waterproofing company. Precautions: Waterproofing alone is only recommended for groundwater problems. Surface water will put much more pressure How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement on the building’s walls and can even break them. If the building is affected by surface flooding, you should also install a barrier (see pages 7 and 14).
Basement Problems: Sewer Backup The illustration on the previous page shows the sewer arrangements for a typical house with a basement. The sanitary sewer line drains toilet waste, laundry tubs, and (sometimes) the basement floor drain to the sanitary sewer main in the street. Clean stormwater and groundwater is handled by downspouts, footing drains, and sump pumps. Often basement flooding is caused by these two sewer systems being interconnected.
Some houses have the downspouts, footing drain, and/or the sump pump connected to the sanitary sewer service. During a heavy rain, How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement stormwater enters the sanitary sewers, causing backups into one house and overloading the main lines, contributing to backups in other houses. Sewer backups can also be caused by events not related to storms or flooding. Individual service lines can be plugged by grease, waste, tree roots, breaks in the pipe, or saturated ground.
Proper maintenance, like pouring tree root killer down the toilet or floor drain can prevent most of these problems. The sewer mains can also be plugged by the same causes, or by vandalism How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement or illegal dumping in manholes. These problems can be fixed by the owner or your municipality, depending on where the stoppage occurs.
The next three sections of this Guide focus on protection measures that deal with sanitary sewer backup that occurs when the sewer main is overloaded and backs up through the sanitary service line into the house. There are four ways to stop sewer backup: floor drain plug, floor drain standpipe, How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement overhead sewer, and backup valve.
Each of these measures work for buildings with basements or below-grade floors. Floor Drain Backup Prevention: The simplest way to stop sewer backup is to plug the opening where it first occurs. This is at the floor drain, the sanitary sewer system’s lowest opening in the house. Two inexpensive measures can be used: a plug or a standpipe. Both can be purchased at local hardware stores and are easy for How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement the handyperson to install. Plug: The flood drain plug stops water from flowing in either direction.
Therefore, if the laundry tub overflows or other spillage occurs, it will stay in the basement unless the plug is removed. How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement Because of this, it may be best to leave the plug out under normal circumstances and put it in place only during heavy rains. One variation is a plug with a float. It allows water to drain out of the basement (see illustration, left side). When the sewer backs up, the float rises and plugs the drain (see illustration, right side).
 A float plug permanently installed will not interfere with the floor drain’s normal operation. If the plug is not tight How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement enough, pressure can eject it. Therefore, a plug is not recommended for flood depths greater than one foot. Standpipe: A standpipe is an inexpensive alternative to a floor drain plug. When the sewer backs up, the water moves up the pipe. If properly installed, water pressure cannot build up to blow a standpipe out of the floor drain.
The system works unless the backup is so deep that it goes over the top of the pipe. Precautions: A plug left in the floor drain may contribute to a wet basement if water from a laundry tub spill or a leaky pipe cannot drain out. Float plugs are known to have been How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement jammed open by a small amount of debris. A plug does not tell you if there is a problem in your sewer service line. Neither the plug or standpipe stops backup from coming out of the next lower opening, like a laundry tub or basement toilet.
Sealing the base of the toilet to the floor will protect you until the water backs up higher than the top of the bowl. Because water pressure depends on the height of water in the pipes, a standpipe does not reduce the pressure in the pipes (or under the floor, if the pipes leak). Because the pressure under the floor is the same with a How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement standpipe or a plug, standpipes and plugs are only recommended for flood depths of one foot or less and for buildings with cast iron sewer lines underneath the floor.

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