Basement Flooding: Causes, Solutions, & Prevention

basement flooding
basement flooding

Basement flooding because of heavy rainfall is pretty common during the spring and early summer in Nebraska. You know the feeling. After the storm passes, you creep hesitantly down the basement stairs praying you don’t find your furniture and other personal belongings floating around. If you’ve fallen victim to basement flooding, it’s essential to act quickly, even if there’s only a minimal amount of water in the basement.

Basement Flooding Causes

Possible causes of basement flooding include:

  • Broken pipe – If this is the case, the first thing you’ll want to do is turn off the water main.
  • Sewage backup – This is a health risk, so you should contact a professional for help.
  • An overwhelmed storm drain system – If your sewer drain connects to the storm drain, water might be getting in because the storm drain system is overwhelmed by heavy rainfall.

Other ways water can get into your basement include:

  • Clogged gutters
  • Short downspouts
  • Hydrostatic pressure build-up in the soil outside your basement walls

However, while clogged gutters, short downspouts, and hydrostatic pressure can all cause water intrusion into the basement, they probably aren’t going to cause basement flooding.

If you don’t know how the water got into the basement, a professional can help you figure it out.

Solutions: What To Do After The Flood

Check out these tips that will keep you and your family safe, minimize damage, and ultimately save you repair costs after basement flooding:

  • Disconnect the power – Before you do anything else, make sure you have the energy company disconnect your power. Water conducts electricity, so energized outlets or wiring can pose a serious threat, even if there’s less than an inch of standing water. Don’t be that guy who gets electrocuted by a half-inch of water in his basement.
  • Remove all movable items – If you have significant standing water, your electronics are probably doomed. Either way, remove them from the basement first as they are the most likely to be ruined by water damage. Move furniture, rugs, and everything else next. To salvage your possessions, you’ll need to get them out of the water as fast as you can.
  • Get rid of the water – This can be the most challenging part of a flooded basement, and it generally requires some good, old-fashioned manual labor. Sometimes a mop will be enough to do the trick, otherwise use old towels, buckets, or a wet vacuum to remove the water from your basement. As long as your sewer system isn’t backed up, it’s ok to dump the water down drains in other areas of your home.
  • Dry the area – Assuming the rain has stopped, open all basement windows and use fans to allow air circulation. If you use fans, set them up so that air is blown out and away from your basement rather than into it. Consider using a dehumidifier as well, as they can typically remove 2-9 gallons of moisture per day. If you have carpet with padding underneath, you’ll probably need to tear it up to dry and save it.
  • Disinfect -This is the most critical part, yet the most overlooked. Every surface that touched water should be cleaned and disinfected with heavy-duty cleaning products. If you skip this step, mold and bacteria will grow, and your basement (and wallet, too) will sustain even further damage. You can also apply a mold-control agent to basement surfaces for extra protection.
  • Dispose of damaged items – Some things either can’t be saved or aren’t worth saving. Be sure to dispose of these items responsibly and take what you can to recycling centers.

For more information, see What To Do When Your Basement Floods.

How To Prevent Flooding In Basement

Things you can do to keep water out of your basement include:

  • Clean your gutters regularly – Clogged gutters can cause water to spill over the side of your house and down into the soil next to the foundation. From there, it’s pretty easy for it to get into your basement unless you’ve already done some waterproofing.
  • Install downspout extensions, if necessary – Downspouts that are too short also dump water close to the foundation. If you’re trying to keep your basement dry, this is the last thing you want.
  • Regrade your yard, if necessary – Your yard should slope away from the foundation. If it doesn’t, have it regraded. A landscaper or foundation repair contractor can help you with this.
  • Install a drain tile system – A drain tile system is the gold standard for keeping a basement dry because it doesn’t simply stop water from getting in; it prevents it from building up in the soil. If there’s no excess water in the soil outside your basement wall, there’s no water to get in. There are two types of drain tile systems, exterior, and interior. For more information, see How Does A Drain Tile System Work?
  • Pump your septic tank periodically – This will get rid of any sludge build-up that can cause backups.
  • If you have vertical cracks in a basement wall, have them inspected.
  • If you see horizontal cracks, contact a foundation repair professional right away. Horizontal cracks are a sure sign your foundation has moved, so there could be structural damage. Horizontal wall cracks could also allow water into your basement.
  • Schedule a regular CCTV sewer pipe inspection – Blockages could cause basement flooding. Severe basement flooding can be devastating and include the loss of precious personal items. However, even a small amount of water in a basement is a nuisance.

Yes, there are some things you can do after a heavy storm to minimize the damage. However, it’s more important to contact a professional and fix the root problem.

If you’re experiencing basement flooding and you’re in our service area in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, contact us today. We’re basement waterproofing experts offering the highest quality products and services. Our job is to make sure you never experience another flooded basement.


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