After recent heavy rains in NY/NJ I got about a foot of water in my
basement (no, my house isn't in a flood area). After I pumped most of
it out, the water is still comming, and stays at about one inch level.
Does this mean the water level is still up inside the ground? Do I
just have to wait until it naturally goes down before trying to dry
Can anything be done to prevent such things in the future?
Thanks in advance,
I'm in NY state, and just heard a report on WAMC (Albany) that many folks are
having just the problem you have because the water table is still high. You
don't have to be in an actual stream or river flood plain to experience a high
water table at a time like this. All the pumping out in the world won't help
until that drops below your foundation.
You may also be still seeing some surface/subsurface runoff from all the water,
depending on your configuration and house location. Take a walk around the
house to see where water may be flowing toward your house or where there are
especially soggy areas near your house (of course the ground will be saturated
all the way around).
All in all, you're right that in this instance it's an issue of waiting for
things to really drain away, dry, and subside.
To prevent it in the future, make sure the grading is correct all the way around
your house if it isn't (won't help if you have a temporarily high water table),
and install an interior drain tile system with a sump pump. At the very least,
you need the sump.
The ground is saturated and all you can do is try to pump it out as fast as
it wants to come in. A sump pump can usually keep up if the foundation is
properly tiled so all the water runs to the sump crock.
Make sure roof down spouts are routed away from the foundation
If it keeps happening, you need to trench around the perimeter of the
basement and install stone and tile. The tile then routes to a natural
drainage or if no slope, to a Sump crock where the sump pump removes the
water as it seeps in- before it gets into the basement. If you have a crack
in the concrete, patch it- water will seep in there before it gets to the
If the water comes from high water levels in the ground- one sump may not be
able to keep up. If you have a place to naturally drain water to- tile will
get the water out of the area.
you need a sump pump and interior french drain, along with making
CERTAIN all gutters are clear, all downspouts take water well away
from home like 15 feet, and the grade around your home sloes away from
building in all directions......
yeah wait till things dry out a little
Oh man..I feel your pain...the same thing happened to me in RI in Oct 2005.
I have lots of experience with this exact same issue. BTW, when it
happened, the alt.home.repair guys were very, very helpful. Never had water
in the 5 years I owned the house until the 'month from rain hell'. The
other advice you have already gotten is very good. Do a google search on
this. Lots of great advice out there. Here is my 2 cents....
12" is ground water. The water is still up. under the floor and around the
foundation. Eventually, it will dry out. If you can get a utility sump
pump that draws down to a quarter of an inch or less, that will help. The
only way to get it all out now is to get under the water line, which would
mean punching a hole in the floor. It's a big mess. NY/NJ is not
forecasting big rain, so you should be drying out soon. Open your windows
in the basement.
I had exactly the same question as you "What the hell do I do now?" I got a
$10K estimate for basement system. Screw that...I put two sump pumps in
opposite ends of the basement as a first step myself instead of laying out
$10K. I saw water in the pits over this last big storm which is getting
pumped out now.
As long as the water gets to the pits, (and the power stays on), you should
be fine. Spend the money and get high-quality pumps, etc. If you do the
work yourself, you can save a ton of $$. I did two sumps, 3/4 hp pumps,
jackhammer rental, stone, concrete, etc etc etc for less than $650.00
I am really sorry this happened to you. It took me a year to get over it.
Thanks everybody for useful information.
Now, if I understand correctly, the problem can be diagnosed as "the
house is put too low". During heavy rains the water rises above the
basement level, and finds its way through the concrete into the
As a side note, in the last 5 years that I own the house, there was
one more issue in the basement -- a small pool of water in the middle
of the basement, apparently coming through the floor.
Also, the air in the basement is normally relatively wet -- when I run
a dehumidifier, it gathers a couple gallons of water a day, but still
can't get the humidity below 70%. Can this be another sign of close
So, some measures, like correcting downspouts, making sure the gutters
are clean, and there are no slopes toward the house can aleviate the
problem, but can't solve it -- when the water table is above the
basement level (due to heavy rain, etc.), the water will find its way
into the basement...
Where it needs to be pumped out with a sump pump. This is basically
the same thing what I am doing right now with my pool pump, but can be
done better (and more conveniently) since the sump pump is built in,
located below floor level, operates automatically, etc.
Is this correct?
Also, what about this waterproof paint that is advertised at some
sites? Is it any effective at all?
I don't think waterproof paint will help much - cause a lot of the water is
coming in through the floor. Even if the floor was sealed- there are
probably joints in the floor where it would still come in. One point of
entry is where the floor and wall meet. Water finds a way- no matter what
you do. Especially in basements- the water is actually under pressure.
I've seen it heave up basement floors.
Waterproofing works better if the weaterproof membrane is on the exterior of
the wall- but you need to dig a trench to do it. Waterproof paint stops
some water, but the water is already in the wall by that time. Exterior
membranes and a tar type sealant works ok on the exterior- but I've still
seen water get through that too.
Are you in Clay? Then you need tile as I described earlier.
Waterprrof paint will help mainly with moisture. It may help with the
overall moisture problem you've experienced, but not water.
A few cheap solutions:
Landscape around your house. Put plastic down to divert runoff away from the
house. Cover it with rocks., etc. Plant bushes- they will actually suck up
water and help with moisture.
Bust holes (approx 20" diam) in one or, better yet, each corner of the
floor and dig down. It's not as bad as it sounds. Put in a sump crock-
looks like a 24"diam x 30" long corrugated pipe. Set a sump pump down in it.
The water will drain to the sump hole where you can pump it out. A good
sump will move a lot of water. It will get the water out before it builds
enough pressure to get through the floor and wall joints. Two pumps are
better than one- thus the two holes. Plus- It will be tough to drain the
water under the floor from one end of the house to the other with only one
In extreme cases- you cut into the floor and lay tile to route the water
from under the floor to the sump crock.
I saw a system where a company puts a trench around the inside perimeter of
the wall and basement floor. They also put something on the interior of the
wall. They let the water come in the wall where it's then diverted to the
trench and then the crock. Seems to work well too and saves digging around
the outside of the basement.
A big difference btween pumps that look pretty much alike:
Random sampling from the web:
1/3 HP up to 2800 gallons per hour.
1/2 HP up to 5040 gph. Sears, stainless steel, although offhand I
don't see why that matters. This one might have been Amazon. (or
Sears ;) )
So I think you should get a big one. :) Or maybe 2 like the other
guy. Force, power (and money) can accomplish a lot.
I hope the pipe that goes below the is still plastic, because when I
had plain steel, it rusted out after 10 or 15 years, and the pump
won't work when that pipe is broken.
Get one that can run without stopping. Is that called 100% duty
cycle? I presume they have them.
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