Standing Water? Standing IN Water? Call now.
If your building is flooded, stop reading and call us!
If you’ve had previous damage from water and it’s less of an emergency, you can call us or contact us by email.
Standing Water? Standing IN Water? Call now.
If your building is flooded, stop reading and call us!
If you’ve had previous damage from water and it’s less of an emergency, you can call us or contact us by email.
HOW TO PREVENT FLOODING AND WATER DAMAGE .
Below are common causes of indoor flooding and what you can do to prevent them. This comprehensive guide will help you identify, troubleshoot and repair typical sources of flooding in your home or business. We’re still working on this guide!
COMMON CAUSE OF INDOOR FLOODING AND HOW TO FIX THEM:
The infiltration of groundwater can cause serious problems and even cause permanent damage to your foundation, threatening the structural integrity of your home. This can be caused by any number of problems, and repair can be costly. But, if you know where to look and what to look for, you can properly assess the situation and prevent further damage.
Bad Sump Pump
If you dig a nine foot hole in the ground, you’re almost guaranteed to have water in it. Over time, this water can damage the foundation and cause permanent, expensive damage. As a result, most homes feature a sump pump which pumps groundwater away from the foundation of the home. However, a sump pump is just one possible point of failure, and can be the cause of your flooding problems instead of the solution.
How to Check Your Sump Pump
To check the sump pump, usually located in a corner of the basement, simply remove the cover. Inside you will see a pump, a float (similar to the one found in your toilet) and a discharge pipe. When the sump pump fills with water, the float rises and activates the pump. As water is removed, the float falls and switches the pump off.
If this doesn’t happen, your sump pump is not functioning properly.
Why Is My Sump Pump Not Working?
You could potentially fix the pump on your own without any tools. However, other problems may require a trip to the hardware store or a call to a professional for repairs or replacement. Your sump pump may be malfunctioning due to any of the following factors:
- Broken Switch
- Power failure
- Frozen or clogged discharge
- Lack of maintenance
- Improper Installation
- Wrong size
- Product defect
To troubleshoot your defective sump pump, consult this sump pump troubleshooting guide from Tractor Supply.
SUMP PUMP: How To Check the Float
Inadequate drainage is a slow, yet serious problem. If your yard is frequently wet, or you notice that you regularly have standing water in a certain area of your property, you may have a drainage problem. You can take simple steps to ensure that you have proper drainage near the foundation of your home.
But this is not always enough. Other factors may cause poor drainage. Water around the foundation can cause erosion and leak into the foundation, causing cracks in the winter. These tips could help you improve drainage on your property and potentially save you thousands.
Simple Solutions for Improving Drainage
There are a few simple upgrades and preventative steps that will drastically improve the drainage on your property. You don’t need to be an expert, and you don’t need any special equipment. A quick trip to the hardware store is all it might take. The primary concern for yard drainage is directing water away from your home and your foundation. The following tips are quick and easy, but won’t solve the problem of inadequate drainage, only treat it:
- Proper Gutter Maintenance—clean the gutters. Simple as that. If your gutters are clogged they may overflow and leak water directly next to your foundation. Also be sure to check downspouts and sump pump discharge pipes for clogs. The only tools you need are a ladder and your hands. By simply cleaning your gutters and ensuring there are no clogs, you can improve drainage and prevent serious foundational damage.
- Proper Downspout & Discharge Pipe Length—Ensure your downspout and discharge pipe ends at least six feet away from your home. This allows water to flow far enough away from your home to protect your foundation. Gutters and discharge pipes are designed to carry water AWAY from your home. If they drain directly next to the base of the house, they are virtually useless. Water will collect mere inches away from your foundation and will cause serious erosion and foundational damage over time. Take a trip to the hardware store and buy proper downspouts and gutters to ensure the safety of your home. Spend $100 now, save $1,000 later.
If you notice a specific area in your yard is regularly wet, or has standing water, you might have a leaking pipe. Call 811 for information regarding the location of plumbing on your property. Once you have located the leak, you can determine the proper course of action.
The leak is only a true threat if it is near your foundation. If the leak is nearby, but not next to the foundation, it is only a matter of time before the leak grows and reaches the foundation. If the leak is right next to your foundation, you need to fix it as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this means calling an excavator and digging up the broken pipe. This is costly, but cheaper than repairing more extensive foundational damage.
Gutters and Downspouts Maintenance and Repair Tips – Home 101
Seepage is likely the result of cracks in the foundation. These can be a result of poor drainage and too much hydrostatic pressure on the foundation. The most likely cause of cracks in foundation is time. You can prevent cracks from forming with simple preventative measures, and deal with old ones the same way. The primary concern is preventing standing water from forming.
A simple way to prevent cracks is by diverting water away from the foundation. This can be achieved with a sump pump, proper downspouts, and removing any standing water near the foundation cause by leaks. By simply ensuring that water flows away from the foundation, you can prevent cracks from forming and prevent seepage.
If your home is older and already has cracks, you can still prevent seepage from damaging your home. Ensure your sump pump is up to date and runs properly. If you don’t have a sump pump, consider installing one. It may seem costly, but you could prevent long term damage to your foundation and your basement.
You can also apply epoxy and tar to cracks to prevent more water from seeping in. This is not a long term solution, but can prevent water from coming inside. It is generally recommended that you do this before the spring.
Learn how to prevent basement seepage from htoyh.com.
Sanitary Sewer Inflow
Sanitary sewer inflow has two causes: overloaded sewers, and clogs. Overloading is usually the result of storms, and you are unfortunately at their mercy. Clogs can be prevented, but can be incredibly costly if left unchecked.
Overloading usually occurs when water from storm drains or excess water runoff enters the sanitary sewer. Sanitary sewers use water from storm drains to dilute waste. Sanitary sewers can only handle so much, and when storm sewers become overloaded so do sanitary sewers. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to prevent sanitary sewer inflow, and lessen its effects.
If you hear of a flood warning in your area, or even heavy rain, storm sewers can become overwhelmed and cause sanitary sewer inflow. A simple step you can take is diverting all of your gutters and downspouts to the lawn, away from storm drains.
Clogs create a different kind of sewer inflow. Clogs occur in the lateral sewer pipe, which drains waste water away from your home and into the sanitary sewer. When this becomes clogged, the waste water can only go one way – back into your home.
Clogs usually occur as a result of age. Pipes erode naturally, or tree roots break into them. Unfortunately, your best option in this scenario is to call an excavator to dig up, remove, and replace the damaged pipe. You can prevent clogs by monitoring what you flush. Paper towels, make up removers, tampons, cotton swabs, and other similar items can create clogs in the lateral sewer pipe. Oil, grease or other fluids can also cause clogs. These materials don’t break down easily, and can cause waste water to drain slowly, and eventually cause a clog. You can also call 811 to locate your lateral sewer pipe. If you notice that trees, shrubs or other plants are growing on or near the pipe it might be prudent to have them removed before they become a problem. Once a clog occurs, the only solution is to dig up and replace the pipe.
Prevent Disaster Before it Happens
Sanitary sewer inflow as a result of storms is hard to prevent. All you can do is divert water away from the foundation of your home and hope for the best. But when it comes to clogs, prevention is key. Stop a clog before it has the chance to be a thousand dollar problem. Watch what you flush, and monitor the growth of nearby trees and shrubs.
However, sometimes disaster strikes no matter what you do. When your sewer overloads, you know you can turn to the total disaster restoration specialists at Emergency Restoration Services for immediate cleanup and decontamination.
Inflow and Infiltration: Protecting Our Sanitary Sewer System – Part 1
Plumbing failures can be costly, damaging, and frustrating. If you act quickly and fix the problem before it becomes a disaster, you can prevent serious headaches. It doesn’t matter if you have a leaking pipe, a backed up toilet or frozen pipe. The sooner you act, the better.
Leaking & Frozen Pipes
Leaking pipes are usually caused by material failures. A pipe could be damaged, threads could be stripped or the pipe could simply be old. A slow drip could cost you thousands of dollars over time and cause serious damage to your home.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, material failure accounts for $4,296 in water loss on average. Worse still, prolonged dampness and standing water can cause nearby wood to rot, and if neglected long enough, could cause a collapse. The financial burden of repairing or replacing a rotten wood structure is massive—time is of the essence. Luckily, they are rather easy to fix. Simply locate and replace the leaking section of the pipe. When you install the new section of the pipe, use Teflon tape on the threads to ensure a long lasting seal.
If you turn on a faucet and only see a trickle, a frozen pipe could be to blame. This is common in pipes that run outside or along exterior walls. A frozen pipe is much more than an inconvenience. It’s a slow time bomb that could cost you thousands.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, frozen pipes account for 18% of all plumbing failures, but on average, they account for $8,189 in water loss. As pressure builds, the pipe could crack or burst, damaging nearby pipes and spewing forth pressurized water which could cause serious damage to your home. That much water could not only cause rot, but when it refreezes in the wood, it will expand and cause cracks, weakening the structural integrity of your home.
When you thaw the pipe, leave the faucet open. Running water will help ice melt. Apply heat with a towel soaked in warm water, a hair dryer or a portable space heater. Do not use a blow torch, kerosene or propane heater to thaw frozen pipes. These are a serious fire hazard and need proper ventilation. To prevent freezing pipes, run water at a slight trickle—even just a drip. Running water does not freeze as easily. You can also maintain the same temperature in your home 24/7. You might incur a larger heating bill, but it will be nothing compared to the costly repair of a burst pipe.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes – This Old House
Toilets put up with a lot of crap, and when they fail, they can be a bit of a mess. The problem could be a serious clog or a damaged seal, but each has the potential to cause serious damage.
A small leak around the wax ring (where the toilet meets the floor) can cause serious problems. This seal is located beneath the linoleum, and a leak can threaten the flooring around your toilet. First, drain the toilet and remove it to replace the seal. A new wax ring can be found at your local hardware store.
A back up caused by a clog is a particularly messy, unsanitary and unsafe problem. Water could permeate the wood floor, holes in caulking seals or other wood such as trim. Not only can this damage the wood or the seal, but it also provides a breeding ground for bacteria found in human waste and can lead to serious mold problems. The first step is to take the lid off the tank and lift the float as high as it will go. This will stop the flow of water. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and unclog the toilet with a plunger. To prevent clogs monitor what you flush. Only flush waste and toilet paper. Paper towels, tampons, maxi pads, q-tips, makeup removal swabs and other items will only clog your toilet.
Fix a Toilet That Keeps Running – by Home Repair Tutor
Sinks can leak in a number of places, but the cause is usually a damaged seal. Leaking sinks pose a real threat. Water leaking down beneath the sink can damage the floors, and water leaking onto the counter can damage the counter tops. Most importantly, standing water under the sink provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria or mold to grow and multiply near where you and your family prepare and eat food.
Fixing a damaged seal can be simple or complicated depending on the type of sink you have. Luckily, most seals are easy to replace. Once you have located the leak, remove the section of pipe and replace the damaged seal. Usually, the most advanced tool you’ll need is a set of vise grips.
If a leak occurs somewhere without a seal, unscrew the section of pipe and see if the threads are stripped. If they are, it’s time to upgrade. In either case, when you put it back together, be sure to apply Teflon tape to the threads for a good seal. If the seal around your sink (where the sink meets the counter) you can try to re-caulk the seal, but it is generally recommended to call a professionals.
How to Fix a Kitchen Sink Drain – Basic Plumbing
A leaking roof is a serious problem. There are steps you can take to prevent water damage and leaks, but a leak can pose serious threats. Leaking roofs do more than leak into your home. They cause mold, rotten wood, and loss of root support. As roofs leak, mold grows and wood begins to lose its strength; this means a ticking time bomb right above your head.
What Mold Can Do
As water becomes trapped in your roof, mold will grow over time and eat away at the rafters and insulation. During the spring and summer as temperatures rise, your roof traps heat and provides a perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold will eat away at your rafters, making them spongy and weak. They can no longer support themselves and may start to sag, putting excess stress on the rest of the structure, or could collapse entirely under too much stress.
Mold will also grow inside the insulation, causing your heating bill to increase in the winter. If high heating bills weren’t enough, repairing a section of your roof is time consuming, costly, and an overall headache. If you think you have a leak, stop it before it becomes a serious problem.
Have you had recent water damage and fear mold development? Mold removal specialists from Emergency Restoration Services will closely inspect your home for mold growth and stop it in its tracks.
Common Small Leaks
There are many points where your roof can leak, the most common being seals. Check seals around vents, and windows. If you notice loose or missing nails around vents, purchase some rubber-washered screws at your local hardware store. Stripping and re-caulking window seals can be arduous, but it could save you thousands.
You may need to replace vents or windows entirely. This can be costly, but will save you from having to repair your roof in the future. Have a roof inspector check your chimney flashing, as this is often installed incorrectly.
Snow buildup can also cause roof leaks. The weight of the snow strains the structure (and can cause a collapse if the area is rotten), so try to keep your roof clear in the winter. Invest in heat tape to prevent snow from forming, or even a roof rake if you don’t mind doing a bit of work.
For more on the 10 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks, check out the article on Freshome.com.
Common Major Leaks
It is rare for leaks to occur ON your roof in areas of uninterrupted shingles and underlay. Leaks are most common where two sections meet, or where there are no shingles. Where the soffit (the area of overhang between the rafters and the wall) meets the roof is one of the hardest areas to waterproof. Good flashing is a key component when protecting this area. Repairing or reinforcing this section of the roof is rather difficult, but absolutely critical. Check out this how-to guide for roof leak repairs if you aren’t ready to hand it off to the professionals.
Bad Gutters & Fascia
Gutters and fascia also play a key role in protecting your roof and keeping it dry. If your gutters are damaged or clogged, water may pool and flow into vulnerable areas where two sections of the roof meet. Similarly, if you have a downspout that empties on to your roof, which drains to your gutters, you might be creating a problem.
Downspouts like this are usually near areas where flashing may be loose, threatening a leak, and running water will cause problems no matter what. You can remedy this by extending the downspout away from the flashings, or all the way to the gutters. The fascia, the board attached to the end of the rafters (think of it as the “side” of your roof), could also be causing a problem. Bad gutters are likely to affect the fascia. Water could permeate the fascia, either rotting through it or falling behind it, and create a number of problems. The water could affect the insulation and rafters behind, or weaken and crumble. This is an aesthetic problem more than anything, but indicates that your roof has water problems. Replace the fascia and ensure water can run into the gutters.
Winter is coming. Under the weight of heavy snow, your roof and your home will be pushed to their limit. Luckily, there are a few preventative steps you can make to ensure your home is winter ready. Before you do anything, if you know something leaks, repair it right away. Water will expand as it freezes and make the leak larger, causing more problems and driving up repair bills.
How to Prep Your Roof for Winter
- Ensure your gutters and downspouts are free of debris. Clogged gutters create ice dams, putting extreme pressure on your roof.
- Check for loose, damaged or cracked shingles. Assess for damage and replace as necessary.
- Install heat tape or heat cable to prevent the formation of ice dams.
- Purchase a roof rake. You may use this tool to clear snow off your roof. But use with care—shingles crack easily in winter.
Roofmax: How to Prepare your Roof for Winter Part 1
How to Prep Your Home for Winter
- Keep heat at the same temperature throughout winter. Sudden temperature changes destabilize the integrity of the pipe, leading to bursts.
- Check the seals around your windows and doors to ensure they are in good condition. Moisture can be trapped near them, freeze and cause damage.
- Check the insulation in the walls and attic. Repair any damaged areas.
- Replace your window screens with storm windows.
- Keep the curtains and blinds closed to keep in the heat.
- Take off your shoes! The water and salt you leave in your tracks warp and stain hardwood floors.
How to Thaw a Frozen Pipe
If you open a faucet and notice a trickle, a frozen pipe may be to blame (especially if the pipe is on or near the exterior of your home). Do not use a blow torch, kerosene or propane heater or any other open flame to thaw the pipe. These need proper ventilation and present a serious fire hazard. If the pipe is outside your home, a kerosene or propane heater is acceptable. To safely thaw a pipe, wrap it in towels that have been soaked in warm water, use an electric hair dryer or electric space heater. Be sure to leave the faucet open, as running water is slow to freeze.
STORM FLOODING PREVENTION AND PREPARATION
The most devastating floods occur on account of natural disasters such as hurricanes or monsoons. If Mother Nature insists, she will have her way with your property and it will flood no matter your best efforts. However, except for these rare catastrophes, there are steps you can take to protect your home against flash flooding in most major storms.
Modify Landscape Around Your Home with Retaining Walls and Vegetation
You can fortify natural water collection areas with retaining walls to give you extended protection against flooding. Identify water collection areas on your property and give them a boost with a gravity, cantilever, piling or anchored retaining wall.
Vegetation, including shrubs, grass or bushes, greatly slow the movement of water. Consider allowing wild grasses and trees to grow out, particular on steep slopes. It may not seem like much, but you’d be surprised by how much water dense greenery can absorb, and the extent to which it prevents erosion.
Ensure the land around your home slopes away from the building. Obviously, if your home stands in a bowl, you’re going to have significant flooding problems. Likewise, you don’t need to live on top of a mountain to keep water away, either. Only a slight elevation keeps water from seeping into the foundation and into your home.
Clear Drainage Systems Around Your Home
Ensure storm drains on the street in front of your home are clear of debris if you live in a city or town with an underground drainage or sewer system. Clogged storm drains on city streets are the main reason for large scale flooding in highly populated areas. If you allow leaves or other loose objects to collect and block water flow, you’re asking for trouble.
Clear out any culverts or swales on your property. Swales are natural collection areas for water—the more space taken up by leaves, debris or other objects in a swale, the less room there is for water to pool. The sooner the pool reaches its limit, the sooner you’ve got water flooding in your basement. Do the same with any culverts on your property, most likely found beneath your driveway. Remember—water will seek the lowest point. The more vigilant you are about keeping low points clear, the less the likelihood of water getting into your home.
Unclog roof gutters and direct downspouts away from your house. Clogged gutters send water spilling over the edge of your roof and onto the driveway, porch or patio, where water isn’t meant to collect. Also check your gutters and downspouts for holes and cracks—leaking gutters aren’t doing you much good. The further away you can direct the downspout from your house, the better. However, if the grade around your home slopes away even the slightest, this isn’t as much of a priority.
Before the Storm Hits—Take Emergency Measures
If all else fails, and Mother Nature will not relent, you need to take emergency measures to ensure you are safe from a catastrophic storm with the potential for flash flooding. After taking the proper precautions listed above, make the following worst-case-scenario preparations:
- Know the quickest route from your home to safe ground and fill the gas tank in your car.
- List all valuables and personal property. Keep the list in a safe place.
- Keep vital items like canned food, water, medicine, flashlights and batteries in a safe and accessible place.
- Bring loose outdoor items like furniture indoors.
- Pile up sandbags in front of doorways where water may enter.
If disaster strikes and you need emergency services, our water damage response team is available 24/7 and get to you within an hour of your call to clean up the mess and restore your home.
Where Does the Water Go?
Always ask this question. Take a walk around your house and track the potential flow of water from high to low. Where does it collect? Once it reaches the ground, where does it go? Are there vulnerabilities in the foundation? Will you be getting water draining from the neighbor’s property? Follow the flow of water on your entire property down to its final collection area.
Once you know where the water goes, you can make the changes necessary to keep water from collecting in the wrong place—scilicet, your basement!