Recent Water Damage Posts

Extreme Water Damage

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Extreme Water Damage Extreme Water Damage

Water damage can be minor, major and catastrophic.  It seeps into areas you can't see or reach, and it destroys materials and possessions in it's path.  At SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington, we've seen all degrees.  

Here, we'll walk you through a major case.  Water pouring from above has collapsed ceilings, you'll see insulation and ceiling drywall covering rooms.  Buckled walls and hardwood floors, caused microbial growth (mold) to take root.  Books, photos, art and chairs, couches and carpeting are destroyed, wood furniture begins to swell and veneers pop, finishes get cloudy and delaminate.  Electrical wiring in the ceiling and walls are compromised.  This is now not a livable space. 

SERVPRO will come in and removed all of the damaged materials and strip the spaces so contractor ready to refurbish - after intensive drying, cleaning, moisture reduction and mold prevention measures are taken.

Black Sewage Contaminated Water Damage Must Have Proper Restoration

6/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Black Sewage Contaminated Water Damage Must Have Proper Restoration Hoarding situations and sewage/black water losses can be restored

This job came to us in the fall and is one of the more extreme and tragic cases we have experienced.  The elderly homeowner frail was a hoarder suffering mental health issues.  

Months earlier the sewage line had blown, flooding a packed basement with raw sewage, swimming in pathogens.

Due to the homeowner's frail condition and distress about the situation, they closed the door and ignored it.  Delays cause even greater damage but in our line of work this is a situation that we've experienced more often than you'd imagine.     

The sewage line was not fixed during this time, the wet contaminated water and solids permeated all porous surfaces and caused damage to non-porous surfaced, just from exposure.  You can see the effects to the washer and dryer.  

In this situation, the contents become a hazard and must be carefully removed and discarded because of microbial and mold growth. Extensive antimicrobial were used in cleaning, and air scrubbers placed to ensure that the structure was clean and safe once more.

Restoration After Utility Water Damage

6/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Restoration After Utility Water Damage This utility area suffered water damage after the equipment failed.

When boilers/hot water heaters blow, it can create quite an unexpected mess through the surrounding areas.  Often, we find that homeowners have accumulated content on the floor, often papers, photos, clothing and toys in cardboard boxes - which get saturated as it wicks in the moisture.

For precious or vital papers that must be saved, SERVPRO has the ability to dry them out through a special freeze-drying technique at one of our out of state facilities. After packaging them up we send them off.  While they may not appear perfect as before, the moisture is completely removed, and the documents can be kept or scanned.  Preventing mold growth through boxes of papers and photos will avoid mold growth down the road.

Ask your local SERVPRO professional about document restoration after water damage!

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is Ready to Resolve Any Water Damage Situation

6/7/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is Ready to Resolve Any Water Damage Situation Photo of a flooded basement in Long Island, NY.

Water damage to your residence can appear in a many forms, in a multitude of ways. Not all water emergencies require extraction but, in this situation, this finished basement living room area was flooded with water which was caused by an over flooded toilet.

Regardless of the severity of the damages SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is ready to handle even the most difficult of tasks, our SERVPRO technicians will ensure that every effect of the water incident will be resolved accordingly.

Overcoming water damage in your home residence or property is concerning and will require professionalism and expertise that our SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington technicians have, count on us if you ever in need of our services. Call us at (516)767-9600.

Most Commonly Used Drying Equipment With Water Damage Restoration

5/23/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Most Commonly Used Drying Equipment With Water Damage Restoration Air movers - affectionately called snails!

Commonly used equipment includes:

  • Air Movers: Used to accelerate air flow and evaporation of moisture from materials for restorative drying.
  • Dehumidifiers: Used to reduce moisture levels, accelerate the drying process in water restoration
  • Floor Drying System: These are high-pressure air mover mats, used during water restoration to dry hardwood floors. This system draws evaporated moisture out of damages areas and creates a vacuum seal on mats to move air from the subfloor to the surface.
  • Air Scrubbers: used for cleaning and controlling air quality in restorations.
  • Hygrometers: Moisture meters used to detect or monitor moisture in most building materials.
  • Submersible pumps: drains standing water from any surface - ideal for flooded basements, farm use, draining standing water from swimming pools, fountains, flooded basements, etc.
  • Extractors: usually used for water extraction from carpet and hard surfaces.

A successfully water damage restoration always begins once the standing water has been removed - though it may not be visible in puddles.  Nevertheless, there are specific methods used for each and every situation.  

Above Average Precipitation For Winter 2017-2018 Can Cause Water Damage

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Above Average Precipitation For Winter 2017-2018 Can Cause Water Damage snowy winter predicted

The Farmers' Almanac has long been what people look to forecast what the upcoming seasons will look like - we at SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington always review what the Farmers' Almanac predictions are so that we have an idea of what lies ahead.  

Recently they released their long range predictions for the coming winter season.  For our area here on Long Island, New York we will experience above normal precipitation with a "cold and snowy" season.  We can expect a good amount of snow along with cold temperatures, which can lead to ice damming, roof leaks, backed up gutters, and basement leaks.      

The Farmers' Almanac has said they are also "red-flagging the 2018 dates of January 20-23, February 4-7 & 16-19, and March 1-3 & 20-23 along the Atlantic Seaboard for some heavy precipitation."   

With a cold winter on the horizon, take measures to winterize and prepare now.  

Snow and Ice Dams on Your Roof

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Snow and Ice Dams on Your Roof Ice dams on roof

Ice dams are common in our region.  Sometimes they are caused by blocked gutters and spouts and often on the roof.  The heat in your attic melts the underside of snow that has accumulated on the roof.  That water trickles to the eaves where it freezes and grows into a larger and larger ice mound.  Water can work it's way inside your roof and attic creating a lot of damage before it is discovered, often resulting in secondary mold damage.  

How to deal with an ice dam?  knock off what you safely can with a broom or shovel.  While not recommended to use rock salt on your roof (it causes structural and material damage), calcium choloride is an option - your local home improvement retailer should have several options for you that will allow you to easily create a channel for water to run off the roof.  

If water has made it's way into your attic, SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington is here to help!

Water Damage in Hospitals, Medical and Healthcare Facilities

1/19/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage in Hospitals, Medical and Healthcare Facilities Water Damage in Hospitals, Medical and Healthcare Facilities

Water events at Long Island and NYC facilities are of great concern when you have tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sensitive medical equipment and critical documents.  Unfortunately, we've seen a lot get damaged in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Brooklyn, Queens and New York City that was avoidable.

This healthcare facility had extensive water damage and unfortunately many pieces of electronic diagnostic and treatment tools as well as computers were in the line of fire.

These are the best ways to proactively protect your equipment from water damage:  

  1. Make sure you know where overhead pipes are located if you have drop ceilings this is helpful - and if possible, keep equipment on the opposite side of the room
  2. If units in your building are vacant and freezing temperatures are coming , DO make sure the building's facility management has the heat turned on in those units - a pipe break from a freeze at the other end of the building can affect your unit if their pipes cross through your unit.  If you are on a slab, this happens. 
  3. If equipment has no choice but to be located underneath pipes, use water catch systems that are designed to hide up in the drop ceiling and divert water away
  4. Emergency water diversion systems can also be installed outside of the ceiling - helpful when you don't have a drop ceiling but do have a leak - though they are visible.  These are not ideal for permanent placement and are not pretty, but they help keep your equipment and documents dry when you can't move everything and water is flowing where you don't want it.  These are used frequently in warehouses with known leaks. 

Can my belongings survive a water damage?

1/19/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Can my belongings survive a water damage? Water damage

House floods on Long Island can happen from natural environmental or weather conditions or mechanical failure - but either way, your stuff ends up soaked.  What happens next?

At SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington, we know you have irreplaceable mementos and family pieces as well as furnishings, photos and important documents that you need to keep and maintain.  If you haven't protected them by storing in watertight plastic containers, we will do our best to salvage and restore your contents. 

With a lot of clear and grey water damage a lot of your contents might be salvageable.  

If bio hazard contamination is in play - be it from medical waste issues, crime scenes, infectious disease or raw sewage exposure it is generally necessary for us to rapidly discard those items for your safety - especially if they are paper, fabric or of other porous material that cannot be adequately cleaned and sterilized.

Small numbers of documents that are needed but damaged are best captured by photo then discarded.  we do have the ability to dry large amounts of clear and grey water damaged documents, books and photos in huge drying chambers through our corporate facility.  They will appear water damaged, no longer perfect - but will be dry. 

 

 

 

 

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington Cleans Up Water

11/15/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington Cleans Up Water The Assisted Living facility's dining room is back up and running.

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington gets calls 24/7 - and we respond quickly.  One such call was an Assisted Living Facility that had been undergoing extensive roof reconstruction.  The weekend was approaching and the out of state contractor needed to keep the dining room dry as untimely rainstorms had caused a small puddling.  Fortunately he had secured our company at the first sign of trouble.  When consecutive storms created a dramatically bigger problem in a very short while later flooding the dining room and creating damage to the ceiling and walls, we were able to get there and manage the problem, drying out the room so that the residents could use the room and the contractor was able to finish off the roof construction so that no further water entered the structure.

It's The Water That You Don't See That Is The Danger

8/26/2016 (Permalink)

Water Damage It's The Water That You Don't See That Is The Danger Long Island, NY water damage - ceiling leaks can cause tremendous damage if ignored.

The key to avoiding a costly restoration is to eliminate water issues before they become a threat.  Time and timeliness matters.   A simple fix that goes unattended may progress to an out of control problem that could result in tens of thousands of dollars of losses to your home or business or even create hazards.  

SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington professionals have the training, experience and equipment to mitigate any water situation.  If water issues go on for too long particularly inside of walls, secondary damages can become problem if mold has begun to grow.  

Take care of small leaks as soon as detected.

Call our SERVPRO team to rapidly dry & disinfect your structure.

Warped wet wood floors?  We have a remedy for that!

Mold is a health hazard - SERVPRO teams are highly trained in re

Residual odors?  We have various ways of removing odors created by a variety of sources.

Allow SERVPRO of Great Neck/Port Washington to help with your water situation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

U.S. East Coast Cities Face Frequent Flooding Due to Climate Change

10/13/2014 (Permalink)

Cities on America’s East Coast could see triple the number of tidal floods by 2030 as sea levels rise.

Dozens of America’s East Coast cities face increasingly routine tidal flooding under climate change, researchers said on Wednesday.

Miami—where the denizens of South Beach are used to sloshing through water at high tide—will deploy new pumps this week to hold back the waters of the King Tides, the highest annual high tides, which are projected to crest at 3.5 feet.

Other cities are going to have to undertake similar measures if they want to avoid soggy streets in the future, the researchers said.

The report, Encroaching Tides: How Sea Level Rise and Tidal Flooding Threaten U.S. East and Gulf Coast Communities over the Next 30 Years, from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), found that most of the towns on America’s East Coast will see triple the number of flooding events by 2030.

By 2045, those towns will see 10 times as many tidal floods—and those floods will seep further inland and last longer, the researchers said.

Many coastal towns already see dozens of small tidal floods every year, typically lasting only a few hours. But the frequency of such events is marching upwards because of sea-level rise, which at some points along the East Coast is more than twice the global average. Some East Coast towns have recorded four times as many flood days as in 1970, the report found.

Washington, D.C., which already experiences flooding from the Potomac river during hurricanes, will see chronic flooding—with 388 occurrences a year by 2045, according to the report.

Annapolis, Maryland; Lewisetta, Virginia; and Wilmington, North Carolina, will see more than 300 tidal floods a year. Miami—which now experiences about six tidal floods a year—will also get wetter.

“Further down the coast, Miami Beach, in 30 years, would experience more than 200 tidal floods a year,” said Erika Spanger-Siegfried, a UCS analyst and co-author of the report. “ Some could affect much of the art-deco historic district of South Beach ... Without serious intervention, frequent flooding will start to disrupt daily life and change the way an area functions.”

The researchers used National Weather Service flood advisories and records from 52 tide gauges in coastal towns from Portland, Maine, to Freeport, Texas, to make their projections.

In nearly all of the towns, tidal floods will be a regular occurrence, they found. By 2030, most of the towns could expect to see flooding in some areas 24 times a year. Some of those towns would see 48 floods a year.

The frequency of those floods will worsen over time, the researchers said. By 2045, half of the towns can expect to see more than 100 tidal floods a year. Nine of those towns would see tidal floods 240 times a year by 2045.

Those cities can also expect to spend more time underwater. By 2045, flood-prone areas of Wilmington, North Carolina, will spend more than 345 hours a year underwater. Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is projected to be underwater for more than 875 hours a year by 2045.

And the floods are also expected to worsen—with deeper waters penetrating further inland and threatening more property, the researchers found.

Flood Safety and Preparedness

10/1/2014 (Permalink)

Flash flooding is a possibility in all 50 states, although people living in flood plains and by rivers or shoreline are uniquely vulnerable to regular flooding. While you may have time to prepare for flooding that builds slowly – such as a river overflowing its banks – flash floods can occur very quickly, and every year, flash flooding is responsible for more deaths than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning. Here’s what to do before, during and after a flood.

 Know emergency flood terms

  • Flood watch: Flooding is possible.
  • Flash flood watch: Flash flooding is possible.
  • Flood warning: Flooding is happening now, or will soon.
  • Flash flood warning: A flash flood is occurring; seek higher ground (on foot) Making a plan

  • An emergency kit is something everyone should have on hand, no matter your locale or the natural disasters your area is vulnerable to. The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Ready.gov can help you build one — with food, water, and essential supplies for 72 hours — fairly easily, as well as teach you where to store it and how to update it. If the idea of making your own kit is too daunting, you can buy an emergency preparedness kit put together by the American Red Cross.
  • Plan an evacuation route with your family, and perform regular drills.
  • Buy and install sump pumps with back-up power.
  • Raise electrical switches, sockets, circuit breakers and wiring at least 12 inches above the highest projected flood elevation for your house.
  • Install backflow valves or plugs in drains, toilets and other sewer connections, to keep floodwaters from entering.
  • Fuel tanks, if torn free by flood water, can leak contaminants or cause other damage if swept downstream. Make sure fuel tanks are anchored.
  • If there’s a flood or flash flood watch

  • Gather emergency supplies and tune into local media or the NOAA Weather Radio for updates.
  • Review emergency plans with the household.
  • Fill car with gas and place emergency kit inside car, or make arrangements with others for a ride
  • Sanitize sinks and tubs, then fill with clean water. Fill plastic soda bottles and other containers with clean water.
  • Bring lawn furniture, trash cans, grills and play equipment inside, or tie down outside.
  • Gather medical records, identification cards, insurance cards and other documents, and place inside a waterproof container for transport during evacuation.
  • Take livestock and family pets to a safe area (emergency shelters do not accept animals).
  • Adjust refrigerator and freezer to the coldest possible temperature in case you lose power for an extended period.
  • If evacuation is ordered

  • Never ignore an evacuation order.
  • Take only essentials.
  • Turn off utilities at the main power switch, and shut off the gas. Turn off electrical appliances.
  • Don’t try to walk through flowing water, as even 6 inches of moving water can knock you down and drowning is the number-one cause of flood deaths.
  • Driving in a flood

  • Don’t drive through a flooded area. You won’t always be able to tell how deep water is. Six inches of water is enough to cause stalling or loss of control. Many vehicles will float in just one foot of water, and two feet of water is enough to carry most vehicles away.
  • Don’t drive around a barricade.
  • Stick to evacuation routes, and don’t take short cuts.
  • If you’re driving at night, be especially cautious.
  • Weather the storm

  • If you aren’t ordered to evacuate, stay tuned to local media for weather updates.
  • Even if you are instructed to stay at home, be prepared to evacuate if your house is damaged, of if you receive orders to do so.
  • When you return home

  • Turn off your electricity when you return home.
  • Watch for animals and snakes that have been washed out during the flood.
  • Look for hazards before you step – flood debris can be dangerous.
  • Check for gas leaks before lighting candles or using any open flame.
  • Clean everything – including yourself – that has gotten wet. You don’t know what chemicals and other hazards are in the flood water.
  • If your power has gone out, never use a generator indoors, because deadly levels of carbon monoxide can build up quickly in small spaces and remain dangerous for hours.
  • Protecting Your Property From the Threat of Spring Flooding

    5/5/2014 (Permalink)

    Reprinted from the Spring 2014 CAI - LI Chapter Newletter

    By Deborah Rashti, VP of Marketing for SERVPRO of GN/PW

    This was some winter!  And the deluge of water that fell from the sky the last day of April was another example of Mother Nature’s wrath.  While we count on spring showers to bring us May flowers, we do not take too easily to the flash flooding that sometimes accompanies it. Last month’s mudslide in Washington State that smothered almost an entire community is one of many examples of how dangerous spring flooding can be. 

    When rainwater overpowers drainage systems, basements are easily susceptible to flooding.   Being proactive about keeping our gutter systems clear of debris is one of the simplest ways to minimize this possibility.  Depending upon the surrounding landscape, you may need to do this more than a couple of times a year.

     Unbenownst to most people, flushing gutters with hose water after removing leaves is a necessary step to make sure debris is completely removed. Since gutters need to hold a tremendous amount of water during heavy rains, the best time to see if they are working properly is 15 minutes after the downpour while it is still raining.

    Overflowing gutters near a home’s foundation is not a good thing.  While it may not necessarily cause flooding in a basement, this overflow can cause erosion around your foundation that could lead to cracking of walls and ceilings.  Adding an additional spout or expanding the width of the spout can easily solve this.

    While most of us do not like the esthetics of a spout that extends 10 feet from our home, it really is an excellent way to keep water away.  Depressions of soil around the foundation of our home can be a red flag that there is a water problem.  Catching this early can make a huge difference in the money you’ll save from avoiding a cleanup from flooding.

    Don’t discount the risk of flooding coming from your sprinklers either.  Not only do we not want sprinkler heads pointed at our home, but we also do not need more water after a significant rain.  Adding more water to an already saturated property is opening yourself up to potential problems.    Rain gauges serve an important purpose for our sprinkler systems and having them checked annually is in our best interest.

    In the event that water is penetrating our basement from a source that lies below ground level, you will need an experienced waterproofer who has an excellent reputation.  This is a tricky problem as hydrostatic pressure can push water through hairline cracks for a multitude of reasons.  You need a good diagnostician to identify why the water is coming in and what is needed to correct the problem.  Don’t even think about putting your basement back together BEFORE this is worked out. 

    As with anything, proper maintenance is key to minimizing costly repairs later on.  As opposed to pipe breaks, basement’s flooded by rainwater is generally NOT covered by homeowners insurance.  The amount of money involved in getting your basement back to pre-existing condition can be costly.  Simple steps to maintain your home may require a commitment on your part, but may save you money in the end.

    While it is hard to embrace our potential for flooding, keep in mind that much of the country is experiencing severe drought conditions and brush fires are a very real threat to their community. With careful planning,  we can mitigate the potential loss of flooding due to heavy rains.  Enjoy those spring flowers that we have waited so long to see.   

    Flood Awareness: Preparing Homes and Businesses For Spring Flooding Season

    5/2/2014 (Permalink)

    With spring flooding season here, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is encouraging property and business owners, as well as renters, to prepare for flooding.

     “There are many things property owners and renters can do to safeguard their homes, businesses and personal property before spring flooding hits,” said Chris Hackett, PCI’s director, personal lines policy. “Floods are the most common natural disaster in the nation and can be extremely devastating not only to property, but to a household’s finances if proper precautions are not taken. However, with some simple actions such as talking with your insurance agent or company about your insurance coverage options you can be better prepared if a flood occurs.”

    First and foremost, PCI urges property owners and renters who do not already have flood insurance to purchase a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as soon as possible. Basic homeowners and renters policies do not cover flooding. Consult an insurance agent or go to the NFIP website at www.floodsmart.com to find out about purchasing a policy. Understand that there is a 30-day wait upon purchasing a flood policy, so it is important to act before a flood is imminent.

    Second, for those who already have flood coverage, policyholders should be sure to review their policies and what they cover, and discuss their coverage with their agents. It is important to keep the agent’s name and contact information in a safe and easily accessible place, and to take an inventory of all personal property. Photograph or videotape items for verification and keep the photos or video footage, as well as finance records or receipts of major purchases, in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.

    The NFIP’s website also recommends the following actions to prepare a home for possible flooding:

    • Make sure if there is a sump pump that it is working and install a battery-operated backup.
    • Install a water alarm in the basement.
    • Clean gutters and downspouts to remove any debris.
    • Anchor any fuel tanks.
    • Raise electrical switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring at least one foot above the home's projected flood elevation.
    • If possible, place appliances such as a furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least one foot above the projected flood elevation.

    Additionally, the NFIP’s website recommends developing a family emergency plan and a safety kit with basic components such as drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets, a radio, and a flashlight. Components of emergency planning include posting emergency telephone numbers by the phone; teaching children how to dial 911; planning and practicing an evacuation route with family members; asking an out-of-state relative or friend to be an emergency contact; and preparing a safety plan for any family pets.

    “With the proper preparation, property owners and renters can safeguard their families and property, reduce potential damages, and also speed up the recovery process,” Hackett said. “We ask all people who might face spring flooding to take these simple steps starting now, so they can be ready when the time comes.”

    PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $190 billion in annual premium, 40 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 46 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 32 percent of the homeowners market, 38 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41 percent of the private workers compensation market.

    SERVPRO of Great Neck Port Washington provides Annual Spring Home Maintenance Tips

    3/20/2014 (Permalink)

    Home Maintenance Tips provided by State Farm Insurance

    Once spring has sprung, take some time to give your home a check-up along with its annual spring-cleaning. Adding these home maintenance tips to your routine can help your house operate more efficiently:

    The Water Heater

    Look around the base of your water heater for evidence of leaks. The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years. If your water heater is over 5 years old, it should be checked monthly for any leakage or rusting at the bottom. If water leakage or rust is found, the water heater should be replaced. If you live in an area with particularly hard water, you may need to drain your water heater because of the sediment buildup in the tank.

    The Basement and Attic

    Does your attic or basement smell musty? If you have an attic, check it for leaks from the roof. Inspect the underside of the roof and the insulation closely for any discoloration, deterioration or dirt stains, as the leaking water might have dried up.

    Check the basement walls, floor, and trim for water stains or any signs of seepage through the foundation. There are a number of flooding causes; read more about wet basements for preparation. While you’re down there, keep a close eye on your sump pump, making sure it is still in good working order, and has a battery backup in place if necessary.

    Wet Basements

    Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture and lead – pretty quickly – to mold. And perhaps the most upsetting of all: As basements are so often used for storage, water downstairs can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques, and family heirlooms. When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, it’s imperative to determine if the water problems are going to reoccur or if it was a one-time event. Can you safely leave your property downstairs once you’ve got the mess cleaned up? Or does everything need to come upstairs immediately? What’s certain is that if water in your basement is a consistent problem, it’s time to start making decisions. Determining where the water is coming from is essential to solving this problem. What Happened? Beyond observable flooding around your home and in your neighborhood, there are several common sources of water entering basements:

    - Surface water running down foundation walls Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure

    - Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home's existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement

    - Sanitary sewer water from a clog in your home’s sewer line, the municipal sewer line, or the combined municipal storm/sanitary sewer system backing up into the home's drain system, causing sewer water to come up through sink drains and floor drains on lower levels

    Each source has its own particularities and requires its own course of action. Find out more about your home’s drainage system by consulting a contractor or plumber.

    Surface Water

    If this is the first instance of water problems in your basement, the first thing to check for is surface water draining down next to the foundations. Water coming in at one location or only at the exterior foundation wall indicates surface water problems. Here are some things to look for once you get outside:

    Overflowing Gutters: Leaves

    Keeping gutters clean of debris should be a part of every homeowner's routine maintenance program. Depending on the surrounding trees, gutter cleaning may be required a few times a year. Products are also available to prevent leaves from getting into the gutters in the first place.

    Overflowing Gutters: Downspouts

    You can do a self-check (your gutters must be cleaned out first). After at least 15 minutes of heavy rain, check your gutters. Any water overflowing out of the gutters is running down next to the house foundations. Even if the water is not getting into the basement, it could be eroding soil from under the house footings, which can lead to cracking of walls and ceilings. The easiest solutions to overflowing gutters are to either add another downspout on that run of gutter or to increase the size of the downspout. The best solution between these two is probably adding another downspout; the second downspout can act as a backup if the other gets blocked.

    Downspout Distance

    Downspouts should extend 10 feet from your home. While many homeowners do not like downspouts extending out this far, 10 feet is the minimum distance needed to discharge water coming off your roof far enough away from the house.

    Pavement Slope

    Sometimes paving settles over time and water flow can change direction toward the house. If this is the case, the paving should be removed and replaced so it slopes away from the home.

    Sealant

    Sealant around pavement that abuts the house sometimes cracks over time due to age or incorrect installation. If the sealant is cracked, it must be removed and replaced with new sealant.

    Landscape Slope

    Does your yard or the land around your home slope away from your home? It should. Look for any depressions in the ground next to the home foundation walls. If any are found, fill in with dirt so the water drains away from the house. Use a clay-type soil that sheds water instead of sandy soil that allows water to soak into the ground.

    Irrigation

    Avoid placing lawn irrigation next to the house. Make sure the irrigation system includes a working rain gauge so the system does not turn on when there has already been plenty of rain for the plants and lawn.

    Controlling Subsurface Groundwater

    When the groundwater levels outside the basement rise above the level of the floor, the basement acts like a boat in a pond. If a boat is sitting in water, water will leak in through any open cracks or holes. It works the same way with a basement. Hydrostatic pressure can push water through hairline cracks. Symptoms of this are water coming up through cracks in the basement concrete floor or water coming in at multiple locations. If you have an older house within town and the house has a basement with no sump pump, it is likely the perimeter foundation drain system connects directly into the city storm sewer system. If the level of the basement is below the street level, there is the potential of storm water backing up in the city storm sewer system and being pushed into the perimeter foundation drain system. This can saturate the soils around the house at the basement level with storm water under hydrostatic pressure, causing water to leak in.

    Storm Water Backing Up Into Your Home

    In many older houses with basements (mostly pre-1980), there is a perimeter foundation drain outside the exterior wall, at the level of the basement floor, next to the footings at the time the house was built. A pipe was usually installed from the perimeter foundation drain to the street where it was connected to the city storm sewer system. This can become a problem as the city storm sewer system becomes too small when more development causes more rain runoff. When this happens, the rainwater in the sewer system can get so high that water flows backwards toward the house. If you believe you have this problem, contact an experienced contractor for advice.

    Sanitary Sewer Water Backing Up Into Your Home

    During heavy rains, combined sewer systems can become overwhelmed with water. This can cause sewer water to back up in the system and sometimes into homes. Sewer backups can be caused by individual service lines being plugged by grease, waste, tree roots, breaks in pipes or saturated ground. Sewer mains can also be plugged by vandalism or large items dropped down manholes. In order to keep your individual lines clear, you can install backflow preventers that help stop sewer water from flowing backward into the house. Proper maintenance of your individual lines – for example, pouring tree root killer down your toilets once a year – can also go a long way in preventing sewage backups.