Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Winter Of Incessant Basement Flooding

Winter '08/09 will go down as the Winter Of Incessant Basement Flooding. So far the basement in the front house has flooded four times this winter, requiring us to do the following (in no particular order):
  • Sump-pump gallons upon gallons of water onto our driveway and into the street during a days-long snowstorm, creating an ice rink at the end of our driveway.
  • Bring in the "big guns," i.e. borrow a sump pump with a hose that looks like it could fight fires. See above.
  • Inquire about replacing our now-fried electrical board for the brand new furnance for the downstairs apartment.
  • Have Roto Rooter come out to clear the root-infested drain pipe. Twice.
  • Cringe whenever the temperature rises enough for the ice to begin melting and then frantically check the basement for water.
I have to say though that after I (mostly) handled the first flood all by myself, I felt pretty frickin' awesome. Two years ago I would've wanted to lay down in the fetal position and/or call my dad.

Learning how to take care of a home, I've learned, is mostly baptism by fire.


Drew said...

I had a flooding experience last Friday. Our Sump pump pumps from one end of the basement to the other, where the drain is.

The pvc pipe that the water flows through has a joint. A joint that came apart.

Thus, our sump pump was no longer a sump pump, but a well. It took water from the ground, and pumped it to another, previously dry, part of the basement. ugh.

I fixed the pipe and broomed the water back into the sump pump hole (because, for some reason, the basement floor is NOT sloped to it!)

Hooray for flooding old houses.

Paul said...

Dude, a few years ago we had feet of water in our basement. The sump pump burned out and I had to wade through 33 degree water to replace it. I have respect for those crazies that go swimming on new years day every year.

Michele said...

I feel your pain, and still run to the basement if I even feel that it is raining too much for my comfort.

I can honestly say I have never gone through a winter flooding, just flooding when we would receive heavy rain - the repeated 100 year storms - as that was the excuse we were told one to many times.

Today we have 2 sumps one on top of the other one. This way if the 1st one can not keep up (which happened)the secondary systems kicks in. We have 2 exits for each sump. We also installed a back water device - just in case the storms are overwhelmed - not that undersized storm sewer combination systems has anything to do with anything.

I hope the cleaning out of your drain tiles takes care of the flooding issue.

Teresa said...

We are having the same problem. And then this weekend it got worse--the sump pump broke. Dan has been bailing out the basement every night because both of us are working and can't get to replacing the stupid thing until this weekend.

Our basement has pretty much always had a permanent trickle, and we know we need to do some extensive work in the backyard for grading and fixing our old drainage tile, but UGH what a mess.

I wish I had a fairy godmother of housing who would just make our basement waterproof. Or at least that it wasn't so expensive to fully repair that we have had to limp along with small fixes for 6 years.

Dave S said...

I've had basement flooding problems for years, what a pain !!

Last year I found a product called Hydrabarrier ( that is perfect for keeping water from coming in under doors. Inexpensive, light weight, and easy to use, these things are a great insurance policy against basement flooding

Hope this helps someone