7 common causes of basement flooding

From topography to clogs, a variety of issues can cause your basement to flood. If multiple issues exist, this can intensify the flooding, so it’s best to address all problems as early as possible. Below are some of the most common factors that can lead to a flooded basement.

1. Position of Your Home

If your house sits in a valley or has depressions around the foundation, it creates ideal conditions for rain and melting snow to seep in. You can fill small depressions with topsoil or mulch to level the ground. However, if the land around your property slopes toward your home, you may require professional services to keep your basement dry. For example, a professional landscaper can install grading to divert water away from your home.

2. Poor Sealing Around Your Home

Proper sealing of the foundation and basement flooring is important. Even a small hole or crack can invite water in, especially during heavy rainfall or rapidly melting snow. Older homes are often at higher risk of deteriorated sealing. If your basement floods even from light to moderate rain, chances are that you have a larger break in the sealing or multiple cracks. Tiny issues can compound over time, so it’s best to replace the sealing at the first sign of an issue.

3. Clogged Gutters

Gutters are designed to direct water away from your basement. When leaves, twigs, and other debris pile up, the water has nowhere to go but straight down into the lower levels of your home. Clean your gutters regularly, and check for damage to the downspouts. Structural damage can impede even clean gutters from doing their job. If your gutter has drainage issues despite regular cleaning, contact a professional.

4. Supply Line Break

A common issue during colder months, supply line failure occurs when frozen water expands beyond the threshold of the pipes, causing them to burst. This often causes rapid basement flooding and prevents access to hot water. Regular inspection and maintenance of your hot water tank and supply lines can reveal potential issues before it’s too late.

5. Sump Pump Failure

Located in the basement, a sump pump pushes groundwater away from your home. Heavy rainstorms, accompanied by a power failure, can cause the sump pump to fail, allowing rainwater to enter the basement. Inspect your sump pump regularly, and consider installing a backup power source if your home doesn’t already have one.

6. Sewage Backup

Rainwater in your basement is bad enough, but backup sewage presents an even more alarming issue. When sewage builds up and cannot flow through the line, it will find another means of exiting, often through the floor or toilet. Several issues can lead to sewage backup. Damage to the backflow mechanism may enable public sewage to flow into your home. Tree roots can penetrate sewer lines, leading to a similar outcome. Clogs or damage to the plumbing within your home can also cause backflows. Exposure to sewage can lead to illness, so it’s best to contact a professional to ensure proper cleanup.

7. Sprinkler System Issues

A sprinkler system that’s spraying water too close to your home may oversaturate the soil around the foundation, causing water to enter the basement. Ideally, when your lawn has already received sufficient water from rainfall, your sprinkler system should not activate.