Finding water in a basement after a heavy rainfall is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Whether you have a finished basement, full of carpet or laminate, drywall and many other styles of building material, or just a plain cement Michigan basement, knowing what to do and who to call in the event of a water loss due to rain is essential.
Getting professionals like the ones at Action Extraction located in Macomb MI out to your home in a timely fashion is the first and most import ant step you can take to combat water in your finished basement. Let’s talk about the ways in which rainwater can have a negative effect on your home and basement, and how to tackle this frustrating problem, quickly and safely.
When properties get water in basement after rain, the water has many varying modes of entry into your home that you should be aware of. The most common entry point of rainwater is through your sump pump. Action Extraction handles hundreds of sump pump calls every year. How does a sump pump fail?
Sump pumps work to remove water from your basement and out of your home. The pump is typically placed into a pit dug into the foundation of your home, also known as a basin. The pump comes equipped with a float which, when elevated to a predetermined level of your choosing, activates the pump sending water through a discharge line to a designated water drainage area. It is important that your pump be inspected every few years by a professional to maintain integrity and performance of your pump. Now that we know what a sump pump is, let us talk about why they fail, resulting in a sump pump back up.
One of the most common reasons for sump pump failures actually has nothing to do with the pump itself. Often times we experience sump pump backups when there is a loss of power combined with heavy rainfall over a significant amount of time. Without a proper battery back up system, sump pumps are useless without the electricity required to power them. Battery backup systems for a sump pump are something to consider when analyzing your homes inherent risk of sump pump backup. They can be instrumental in preventing water in basement after rain.
When the float that is attached to the sump pump becomes stuck, it can render the pump useless in two ways. The firsts way this can affect the pump is through not allowing to the pump to engage in the first place. Sump pumps are made with metal and plastics. Metals can rust and plastics can carry mineral deposits left behind by evaporated water.
When the pump itself has not been properly maintained, these deposits can collect on the metal line that engineers the float into action. When the float is unable to reach the required height needed to trigger the pump mechanics, the pump will never engage, and water will begin to invade your basement dwelling.
Conversely, when the pump is allowed to engage but the float is not able to descend back into the basin it can result in a sump pump being left to run indefinitely. While this may not seem like a big deal, a sump pump left to run on its own without water can quickly burn its motor out and render it ultimately useless.
Sometimes, however, the answer is just time. Sump pumps are like any other appliance in our homes, and eventually they will cease to work as they used to. Our ovens and dryers however do not cause catastrophic damage when they retire fortunately, which is why consistent wellness checks on your sump pump and all home plumbing is important for the health of any home.
Some basement water backups involving sump pumps are not the fault of the pump itself. Every sump pump should come equipped with a check valve attached to its discharge line. A check valve allows water to pass through it in one direction but not the other. Often times sump pumps are pushing water from depths of up to 14 ft up and out of your home. To avoid redundant water pumping, check valves make sure that the water being pushed from a sump pump basin stays out of the basin and does not just return back into the well.
The only thing keeping water from coming back into the well inside the check valve is a small plastic piece acting as a gate. When this gate fails, the sump pump will struggle to push enough water from the basin and out of your home. If there is enough water invading your home while the check valve is non-functional it will result in a flooded basement and the potential for a burnt-out pump motor.
Finally, incorrectly installed check valves are also problematic for homeowners. In this scenario, some poor handyman or rushed plumber will have installed the check valve in reverse. What this means is that water will not be allowed to leave through the discharge line, leading to either a burst in the plumbing or another burned out sump pump. Thankfully, these situations are rare as check valves are clearly marked as to which direction they need to be run.
If your sump pump is older than 10 years, making strange noises or cycling at odd times or longer than normal, it may be time to replace your sump pump. If your sump pump is running longer than it normally does, it could be a sign that your float mechanic is getting stuck as we spoke about earlier or that your pump is working harder to move the same amount of water as before. If you notice your pump taking longer than normal, call a plumber to have your pump inspected and potentially replaced.
All sump pumps make some bit of noise, though some models may be quieter than others. When your sump pump starts to become noticeably louder than it was in the past, it may be time to cal the plumber. As sump pumps age they become louder and louder, using more mechanical effort to push water from your home. This may be a warning to you that your sump pump is at the end of it’s life cycle and ready to be replaced. Many water restoration projects in Southeast Michigan are a result of a failed sump pump.
Not all basements have sump pumps. Sometimes water in basements after rain is not a result of faulty mechanics, but a faulty foundation. Cracks in your basement’s foundation can give water an easy access point to intrude into your dwelling space. These types of water intrusions are typically smaller in nature, but where they lack in magnitude they make up for in expense. Foundation issues are almost never covered under homeowner’s insurance policies, and foundation repair work can start in the thousands of dollars. These types of floods are identified typically by location of the water loss. Foundation issues are typically singular and will only effect one area of your basement.
Treating foundation issues quickly and at the first sign of a problem is the easiest and most cost-effective way of handling this type of home issue.
Read our article on 10 water damage restoration tips.
Finding water in basement after it rains is never an ideal situation. I have been there myself in my own home and even with years of experience in handling thousands of water losses, my own basement holding hundreds of gallons of sewer water was overwhelming and stressful. It is important to know exactly how to proceed when water has invaded your home.
The first thing every single homeowner should do when finding water of any kind in their basement is to call a qualified and certified water restoration company like Action Extraction. A good water restoration team is the key to getting through your water damage project quickly and safely with truly little damage to your home and less risk to you and your family. To mitigate is the make something less severe, serious or painful by definition and that is something every water restoration team should strive for.
After calling Action Extraction to handle your water loss it will be important to inspect your insurance policy to find your coverage limits. Water losses in basements almost always have what are called coverage caps. These caps will dictate how you will want to proceed with your water damage project. If you need assistance in understanding the vague language in your insurance policy, call the professionals at Action Extraction. We are insurance repairs specialist and make insurance claims hassle free.
Not all coverage caps are created equal. If your basement is just a cement Michigan basement with storage for household personal items like totes and clothing, a 5,000 dollar limit may be all that is needed. For finished basements over 500 square foot 10,000 dollars may be required in the event of a fully flooded basement. For finished basements over 2,000 square foot coverage of 15,000 and more may be more appropriate. Speak with your insurance agent to make sure your home is covered in the event of a sump pump backup and that your coverage is appropriate for the basement you have. This way should you get water in basement after rain you will be covered for the flooded basement cleanup.
There are two types of water we experience in flood restoration. You can classify these two groups into smart and dumb water. Dumb water is the water we can see with our eyes. It is clearly there and unashamed of its presence, even if we wished it were. This water is typically standing water on our floors or soaked into our personal items and cardboard boxes. It is easy to find and, in turn, easy to take care of.
Smart water hides from our eyes. It hides in the walls, in the insulation protecting our homes from the cold, or in our cabinets. This water is not easy to find but thankfully, we have tools to help.
Moisture Meters Help Find Water in Basement Walls After Rain All certified restoration teams will have multiple meters and gadgets intended to find even the hardest to find moisture contents. The most commonly used meter is the non-penetrating meter. This meter allows us to find water in your basement walls without causing any aesthetic damage to your paint or drywall.
Non-penetrating moisture meters send an electric signal into any building material it is placed against. If that signal is returned back into the meter through a conductor, we can reasonably assume there is water contained in that material.
Some building materials are naturally conductive, like metal corner beads used to finish drywall. Due to this, it is important for water technicians to find a dry standard they can use as a reference point for what the building material they are drying should be reading. This dry point is typically around 4 ft up the wall in a bottom up style water loss. Once the dry standard has been established, any point above this standard can be considered to contain moisture. In the instance of drywall, it should almost always read at zero percent with few exceptions.
As your water technician uses the meter at their disposal to discover where all of the water in your basement is hiding, they will be putting together a dry out plan molded specifically for your basement’s unique needs. No two basements are the same and that means that every water loss entails new and unique challenges.
Once we determined the source of the water in basement after rain, it will be important to remove that water as quickly as possible. One of the ways we do this is through professional water extraction. Much like when you have your carpets steam cleaned, the same style of extraction van is required to remove standing and saturated water from your basement’s hard surfaces and also remove water from carpet. Action Extraction has pulled hundreds of thousands of gallons of water from basements quickly and efficiently.
Action Extraction of Macomb MI will start by protecting any floor coverings leading to the basement door with thick burlap floor coverings. This makes sure we do not harm any other floor coverings during our work and keeps a nice and clean work environment. Once all the floors needed covering are covered, we bring in our water extraction hoses and wand. Starting in the deepest section of water in your basement, we begin to pump water from your home into our van. Whether the amount of water in basement after rain is minimal or a lot our extraction system will rapidly eliminate all water in minutes.
Once the standing water in your basement has all been removed, the next step of our plan will be put into motion. Most water restoration companies rely on the same set of standards. Exposure principles are the most important of those standards. Exposure principles rely on exposing any waterlogged material to be exposed to air flow. This means any surface closed off from the rest of the basement, like the drywall at the floor level covered by base moldings, or the soaked insulation in the wall need to be exposed to the rest of the drying basement.
In most situations this means removing a section, or sections, of drywall. Base moldings in freshwater or sump water losses can be saved and put aside to be reused so long as they are not MDF style trim. MDF has a tendency to absorb and hold onto water, creating unsightly bubbles in the trims finish look. On interior dry walled walls with no insulation, simply removing the base molding and drilling an inch in diameter sized hole may be all that is needed to help encourage both sides of the drywall to be dried. These holes will help pull moisture from within the enclosed cavity of the wall.
In sump pump backups, wet carpet padding must always be removed while carpet can typically be saved so long as there are no furniture stains or delamination of the primary and secondary carpet backings, common in less expensive styles of carpet. Action Extraction specializes in removing padding from wet basements while doing extraordinarily little damage to the carpet around it. Unfortunately, damage to carpets is not always avoidable. Support beams often create problematic encumbrance to padding removal strategies.
Once the padding is removed, if necessary, and the standing water is removed by extraction, it is time to access damage to household items. Cardboard boxes are the most common of casualties when it comes to water damage in basements. It is always preferable to use plastic totes when storing items in your basement. Plastic totes create an impervious barrier between the uninvited water in your basement after rain and your beloved personal items. Keeping important items like photo albums and paper products up and off the ground is another important step to consider when attempting flood proof your home.
Some items like cabinets and clothing will need to be accessed on whether or not they are salvageable. Press board cabinets will often bubble and swell to the point that they must be removed and replaced. Clothing will need to be thoroughly washed before used.
Once all building materials and personal items have been evaluated, it is time to begin the structural drying phase. In a sump pump backup, it is essential to have a coherent and strategic drying plan in place. Using high powered fans and dehumidifiers, Action Extraction has perfected the art psychrometry, or the science behind drying building material. Any time you get water in your basement after rain you must remove all moisture by implementing structural drying.
Fans are one of the most important tools in any water technician’s tool belt. Whether the job calls for centrifugal fans or axial based fans, knowing how to place and direct these fans is vital for a proper dry-out. When setting up a vortex system in a saturated basement there are many factors to consider. Knowing where your dead pockets of air flow might be beforehand will help guide your placement process.
Intersecting rooms must be cycled against each other. Picture this. If you have two watches placed side by side, one watch would need to turn clockwise, while the other would need to turn counterclockwise. This prevents one room from interrupting the other room’s cycle and helps encourage rapid airflow across all surfaces.
At varying points in the cyclone, dehumidifiers will be used to dry out saturated air. As the air in your home is being pushed around your basement, it is gathering as much moisture as it can from your building materials. When saturated air reaches the dehumidifier, it is sucked into the machine and ran through a maze of frozen copper coils.
These frozen coils will collect as much water from the air due to condensation. Think about what happens when you pull a can of pop from the fridge on a muggy summer day. When the can leaves the dry environment of the refrigerator and enters the saturated summer day, beads of moisture form quickly on its surface. This is the same process happening inside every dehumidifier.
Once the dehumidifier has gathered as much water as it can from the saturated air passing through it, it goes through a defrost stage. Ice that has formed on the copper coils melts into a reservoir ready to be pumped from the machine. Once the machine has been purged of water, it begins its task of removing water from the air around it. This process will play out hundreds of times, cycling wet saturated air out for warm dry air ready to soak up what it can before re-entering the next dehumidifier.
The complete restoration process for drying out the water in a basement after rain should be a target goal of no more than 3 days. With few exceptions when the proper drying chamber has been set up the constant air movement and dehumidification should have the property restored in 72 hours.
On the first day we at Action Extraction will place equipment to begin the drying phase. The same day moisture readings of the water damaged building materials will be mapped out as well air temperature and humidity will be logged to monitor the decrease in moisture each day following.
The professional’s restorer will daily check on your basement to see about its drying progress. Once your water technicians confirms, through the use of a moisture meter and hygrometer, that your basement is completely dry, they will pull all of the equipment and get you prepped for re installation of any building material that needed to be removed. Depending on the severity of your water loss, this could be as simple as new base moldings and as complicated as new drywall and paint.
There is nothing better than the final step of repairs after seeing water in basement after rain. We at Action Extraction are always gratified beyond measure at the final result of completely restoring a property after flood damage.
Now that you know what to do if you discover water in your basement after rain, I hope you will consider Action Extraction when looking for help for any water restoration project. Action Extraction has been in the business for over 30 years and brings quality and professionalism to every water damage loss no matter the size and scope. Basement sump pump backups can be a headache for even the handiest of homeowners and a sewer drain backup even worse. Let Action Extraction guide you through your water damage project today!