Flooded Basement

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wrote:

I'm at my best when things are easy!

OK, I get it. Very good idea.

No. However about 3 feet outside my property line the ground falls off about 6 feet. I'll have to go look when it is light out.

I guess not too practical now, because I would have to go six feet down, 8 feet to the bottom of the sump, ecause my basement floor is 6 feet below the ground and the ground only drops off a foot or so to my property line.
I'm at the end of 8 townhouses and have had some flooding and have major flooding threats. I have an outside perimeter of 4 inch corrugate perforated black plastic pipe in the front and another piece in the rear and the side. I have these two pipes coming into the sump.
No inner perimeter, but haven't needed one. (I could use more slope to the sump, and I did drill holes in the plastic sump lip, so that any amount of water might flow into the sump. With the lip, which runs around the whole sump, the water had to be more than 3/8" deep.
I wasn't here when they built these. People who had bought their house before completion could get them to make some changes, but this would have had to have been done before the foundation was even backfilled. Few people own that early, unless they are building it themselves.
What you might find interetsing is that the sump pump goes up 10 feet to the ceiling of the basement, out the wall, and then empties into a piece of 4 inch, corrugated NON-perforated black pipe which goes just where you would have the other drain go, under the yard, under the fence, and 3 feet past the property line where it empties to the stream bed** from the side of that hill.
**This part is dry except during flood stage, 2 to 4 days a year. In theory flood stage could permeate the earth around my house and cause the drain outside the house to overload the sump pump. Almost-this happened once, but the stream wasn't high. It was the rain that soaked the ground that poured into the pipe that overloaded the sump pump, so that some water got on the basement floor from the sump. Hard to know how much because the cartons and the ends of rolls of scraps of carpet soak up the water, and if it makes it to the next room, the carpet in use soakes it up too.
One thing I learned from this thread: I describe above how the pipe through the wall empties into the black corrugated pipe. I see now that one reason for that is that if it were one pipe with no air break, when the pump stopped, it would siphon back a lot of the water that I had just pumped out. One more thing they did right.

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Check your policy--mine has a statement that covers basement water damage if a sump pump fails. You are not covered if the problem is water table flooding but you might be if your pump failed. Once the water table goes above your floor it will leak into the basement at a relatively high rate. MLD
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Much higher than the rate it could seep through the floor or walls I venture, and I'll bet there must be plenty of printed material saying that. I watch while the water just pours into my sump, even in moderate times, until the water in the sump is even with the water table outside. If the water table outside were higher than the floor and the sump pump were broken, the basement woudl flood, and I think it would be the sump pump's fault. It's late and I'm groggy, so I don't know the next step.
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First thing I would do is carefully read your insurance policy to see exactly what is covered and what isn't. For example, most homeowner's policies will cover water damage from a broken or backed up pipe, but will not cover damage from a flood. So see what exactly it says that covers your situation.
I'd also start documenting everything. Most important, I would document that the sump pump actually failed. If the insurance company looked at the pump and gave you anything in writing, that acknowledges it failed, that would be great. Or if you had a plumber replace it, having in writing from him that it failed would be important. Take pics of the situation and damage.
Also, if you live in a state where all it takes to legally record a phone conversation is one party's consent, I'd start doing that with any calls to the insurance company.
Of course, in the end, the real question will be how much $$$ the actual damage amounts to. If it's not significant enough, it may not be worth fighting.
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On 30 Jun 2006 01:40:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

That's true too. I've never had 2 inches like the OP, but when there has been water, most of the damage was to the carboard cartons I keep things in, that I get free at the grocery store or liquor store.
It's an enormous pain for me, but I don't know how much U could get from an insurance company for that! It never occurred to me to make a claim, but like I say, I didn't have 2 inches.
Another thing on my list to do is to glue or something a piece of wood into the doorway between the room with sump and washing machine and sink and the other room. It will look crummy and I'll have to explain it to a buyer someday, but it's pretty simple and easy and it will keep the water in one room. I don't need 2 inches, just a half inch. What glue shouldl I use?
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No you won't have to explain it to a buyer. The buyer will read:
"NOTICE! THIS BASEMENT FLOODS!"
Better to fix the problem.
Banty
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No you won't have to explain it to a buyer. The buyer will read:
"NOTICE! THIS BASEMENT FLOODS!"
Better to fix the problem.
Banty
--


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grin.

OK. Good to know.

There have been about 10 problems. Each different. Some can't be solved. Plus the new mistakes I will make.
Most serious, 1) heavy rains cause the stream to rise, overflows sewer manhole covers, fills sewer, backs up through laundry sink into the four lowest houses out of 109. I asked the county to put in waterproof manhole covers. He said it wouldn't help but he would do 2 of them if I wanted. It didn't help. Maybe I should have had them do it further upstream, instead of by my house and one just downstream. But they probably won't do this for me a second time. This caused floods twice plus the special occasions below, after my partial solution.
Strangely, even though there seemed to be some sewage in the sewer water, it didn't have any smell at that time or later. And I didn't get sick. The drainage area and sewer go another 2 or 3 miles to the west and probably serves an area a half mile wide. Mostly detached houses. A few apartments and a few townhouses. 500 to 1000 homes? Of course it is tremednously diluted by stream water when the stream overflows the manholes. Maybe 1000 to 1. Maybe some, maybe all of what I see is stream life, or just dirt from the flooding stream. Maybe it dries into dust.
2) Cold water hose to washing machine burst. Got two steel clad water hoses. That caused water hammer when using the washing machine so I got two small air capsules, already set up for attaching. That solved that problem.
3) Polyethylene hose to humidifier burst. Water sprayed into file cabinet, mostly wetting open drawer with tourist brochures (I have a more important file cabinet upstairs). Non-glossy ones dried out. Glossy ones stuck together. I've still got lots of places to go, and only 30 more years to get there. I can replace what tourist stuff I need. Replaced hose with copper tubing.
4) Hot water hose to kitchen sink burst, because I temporairly used auto vacuuum hose, and temp lasted months. Won't make that mistake again. Put 52 gallons of hot water and who knows how much cold water through floor where it rained down on laundry room, in many places. Wooden tool "dresser" swelled and open drawer wouldnt't shut. But after 2 months it shut ok. Many things rusty, but wire wheel will clean most of them.
5) Because of the flooding in item 1, I also keep the basement/laundry sink plugged all the time, with a 1x2 jammed in above the rubber plug and below the shelf. Shelf wasn't screwed to the shelf bracket. Lifted the shelf with all the heavy things on it. One more flood. Screwed the shelf to the bracket.
I also put in a check valve, but I lifted up the plug once a teeny tiny bit and water started to come up. The check valve wasn't good anymore. I try to catch all the lint from the washing machine, but the machine itself doesn't have a lint filter. It claims to have a spinning knife or something that chops up the lint, but it doesn't work well enough for me.
6) Sink plugged up. Once in 21 years, I did my laundry without unplugging it. I knew that would happen once. If I get Oldtimers Disease, it may happen again.
7) As I said in another post, heavy rains overwhelmed the sump pump. Water came out of the sump. I may for 400 dollars get that small battery operated backup sump pump, which also works when there is power if the first pump is overwhelmed.
8) Early on, AC condensate would not go out tube to sump, but instead ran down inside furnace and flooded floor, less than most floods but ongoing. I cut a hole in the plenum? and looked inside, saw no clogs. I thought maybe insects in the drain pipe, so I cut the plastic pipe and used a hose to run water through it. Water came out as fast as it went in. And problem remained. Pipe came out of AC down an inch, 2 feet hoizontal over to the wall, down 4 feet, along the base of the wall 8 feet, away froom the wall 3 feet to the sump, and one inch down. When I had the water heater out, I had room to work, so I redid the plastic drain pipe a little, so that it came out of the plenum (is that the word), down 15 inches, and then over to the wall, and then to the floor etc. That solved the problem. There are 108 other houses here. I keep forgetting, but I want to see the other houses. I'm sure some or all are like mine was. I wonder if they have problems. Problem solved, unless insects do clog the pipe. :)
9 Water heater starts to leak. Would have noticed this and found the problem in time, but floor was already wet because of 8 above. That little water should have evaporated in 12 hours, but I didn't realize there was a second leak and a few days later, the whole water heater emptied on the floor, 50 gallons. Much went into the sump and was pumped out, but much idn't. I put in new water heater, along with a pan underneath with a pipe that goes to the sump. Not sure if the edge of the pan is really high enough but that's what they sell.
10) I've never yet been able to list them all without thinking of one more later that I've already had......... Well, there are more that I haven't had. Pipes that break, valves that leak, such as the drain hole in the valve that controls the outside faucet. Or toilet or bathtub or sink overflows. (I never had a toilet or sink overflow but had one bathtub overflow in 23 years, but water didn't make it to the basement, so that piece of wood on the floor between the two basement rooms wouldn't help. I dont' count the bathtub anyhow, because that was entirely my fault. It wasn't some*thing* that "went wrong".)
10a) Other possible problem, basement sink is plugged with plug-and-stick, and will come off the wall when the water pressure from overflowing sewer is pushing up on the plug-stick and forcing the sink down. I'm planning on building a frame underneath the sink.
10c) I'm pretty sure I left one out that has already happened. Each one is so different that I can't use one to remind me of the others.
Despite all the problems the stream gives, I love my stream and the 20 feet of woods on this side, and the 40 or 50 foot strip of woods on the other side. The stream turns 90 degrees right at my house. I never thought there even existed a house in my price range with such a beautiful piece of land around it. It's normally about 10 inches deep and 5 feet across. It can rise in 10 hours to 8 feet deep and 20 to 40 feet across, and can run so fast the noise wakes me up. (Someday I have to enlist a friend and measure the speed.)
It's risen 3 inches below the height of my land (very little land ;-) ). It's risen to 3 inches from my property line, and 30 inches from my fence. (But the house is another 3 or 4 inches higher and the basement window is 3 bricks above the ground. Plus one guy told me that it was designed if it gets as high as my yard, it will have to fill another wide area on the other side of the stream, plus the road beyond and some of what's beyond that. (I see what he is talking about, but I have to get my next door neighbor to measure how high the road is compared to our houses. Can't do this when there are leaves on the trees.)

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Water proof manhole covers wouldn't work. Water force is tremendous.
This is your worse problem I agree, because it's out of your control to solve, unless you can get your munincipality to reroute the sewage. For this reason alone maybe you'll have to resort to measures like placing things on pads and the solution you mentioned. Is there really no recourse for this? Do you have a homeowner's or condo association to press on this? What do your neighbors think?

OK.
Maybe you need to see if you can catch these situations before they happen. Inspections, proactive upgrades.

You do seem to learn kinda slow about these hose connections....

Bigger sump pump. BTDT.

You and tubes don't get along ;)

When I solved a water problem, I found my washing machine to be leaking. They call this kind of way problems present themselves as others are solved "peeling the onion".

Can you get a new inspection and see if an expert can point these things out? Seems there's a lot of age-related (house age :) things going wrong.

I can see how it's in a lower price range ;)
Banty
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But in this case, it's not water inside the sewer lifting up the manhole cover. It's water above it, and no more than a foot higher than it, getting into the sewer. In addition, I've never seen covers dislodged after a flood. Admittedly, I only look at the one near me,
Does it all go in through those little one inch holes?
Maybe there is a missing cove a mile upstream I could get them to replace. I'm not sure where the sewer ends, but I can probably tell by looking for the next manhole. But the stream itself 3 miles away, is only 9 inches wide and 3 inches deep. It's like a toy stream.
I've walked about a mile of the stream in the stream. I think this summer I'll do the whole thing. Discussing this with you has made me conclude there might be a missing manhole. OTOH, there are a lot of kids around, I think they would be diligent about replacing any that had been missing for years. So how does all that water get into the sewer?

That's impossible, because they route it next to the stream. Just like railroads are routed next to rivers. Because it's a guaranteed gradual slope, and in a hilly place like most of Maryland (almost everything west of the Chesapeake Bay), it's the only gradual slope.

Only 4 out of the 109 of us are affected. And two of those four are a little higher than me and my next door neighbor. My next door neighbor's situation is funny. A previous owner didn't want the sump pump pumping outside, next to the front door. Everyone else's pump goes out of the house and right into an undergroud pipe that comes out the side of the curb, in front of their house, and water goes into the parking lot (which has a drain into the stream, just downstream from me.) He and I and about 4 other houses elsewhere don't really front on the parking lot. My sump pump drain pipe goes under my side yard to the stream "valley". But his had nowhere to go, so it just spurted out. I think there is one of one of those things that are at the bottom of downspouts, but the sump pump pipe doesn't point to it. They could put in a second but there is a bush there now.
So the previous owner rerouted the sump pump so it goes to the basement sink. I pointed out to a previous owner, and now my current neighbor that if the water is backing up through the sink, the sump pump won't be able to work. You can't drain into a sink that is backing up. But I don't think he has redone that. I don't think it has even sunk in yet.
The president of the HOA is dictator for life. We've had a big fight already, and I stay clear of her.

It never occurred to me that the included kit, with polyethylene hose, wasn't good enough. This might have been about 6 years after I got the house and 5 1/2 after I installed the humidifier. I tried hard and didn't put in any sharp bends, but it sprang a leak anyhow. A couple years after this leak, I was at a party in the basement of a friend, and her polyethylene hose to her ice maker in the fridge above started leaking and dripping into her laundry room. Good that she was home and in the basement, and good that we were there to move her fridge. Expensive fridge, installed by dealer. (I replaced mine with copper, but they tell me that that can crack too. I was careful to make no sharp bends and as few bends as possible.)

I got 1540 on my SATs, an IQ once measured at 140, got into a good college, and I may be smart, but I am definitely slow. A guy** in college said something about ethics once, and it took me 24 years to think of a comeback. **An unethical guy, promoting unethics. When I wanted to be a lawyer, I wanted to be a trial lawyer, because it seemed exciting or like fun. That's the one branch of law I now know I couldn't possibly do, because I am *slow*. I know a mistake in logic immediately, but I often don't know what to say in return.

This only happened once in 23 years, last year. I guess I could get a bigger sump pump for a lot less than 400, but we do have a lot of power failures, and one may well bump into a high water table day.

That's a good way of putting it. Do you mind if I use that line for my humor line on my tombstone?

Uh huh.

I'll think about it, or at least I'll go room by room, pipe by pipe, and look more closely myself. I appreciate the reminder.

I misread this the first two times. I thought you were saying, I can see how [I was surprised to get it] IF it's in a lower price range.
When I bought it 23 years ago, in Baltimore where housing was cheap and probably still is, it was 62,000 dollars. Now my neighbors' houses are selling for 207,000. Z think 70L of that was in the last 5 years or whenever the bubble started bubbling. Other n'hoods have gone up in price more.
Of course some people who work in Battimore, especially the north suburbs, live just over the border in Penn. because it's cheaper yet there. Just bedroom developments for Baltimore, in places where there were only farms and a couple tiny towns before.

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Flooding can DEFINETELY disloge or even toss those heavy cast iron manhole covers a LONG WAY. I have seen it happen!
Also have seen a jet of water several feet in the air coming from a missing manhole.
All the water upstream moves down a too small pipe and looks for a way out
Think about it, water turns turbines to generate electricity, tossing a manhole cover is a minor event
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wrote:

I'll have to look upstream. I've already don't about a quarter mile upstream and a half mile downstream, for reasons other than my basement. No missing covers iirc. I'll have to go further upstream.

But it's the stream filling the manhole. I guess it could fill it upstream and then want to get out downstream, but basically...

My basement sink is the way out.

Thanks a lot.
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I used to have problems with the sewer line in my house (until I found someone who did an excellent job of cleaning out the roots- the other various jokers didn't). Plus another time I had a little laundry accident (I moved the washer drain hose and forgot to put it back into the sink). I have several water alarms placed around the basement.
I became a rabid water alarm advocate and mailed one to my parents. No special reason; I just thought everyone should have one :) The day it arrived, they opened the package, my dad put it in the sump in the cellar then went out someplace. It started to rain almost immediately. The alarm went off. My mother couldn't get ahold of my father. By the time he got home she was verrrry upset. Poor Dad. Anyway, aside from the sump pump not working it turned out there was some sort of valve in the sewer that prevents water from backing up that needed replacement. Likely water had been coming in every time it rained but they never knew it because they don't go down in the cellar often. Now, thanks to me, they knew. For some reason, the story of a water alarm going off within an hour of installing it and my mother freaking out amuses me.
Sue(tm) Lead me not into temptation... I can find it myself!
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