How to Handle a Flooded Basement (What to Do Action Plan)

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Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky homeowners know a flooded basement means a lot of work is ahead. Many homeowners invest in their basements and stand to lose more than just stored holiday decorations.

So, what should you do? In this blog, we’ll cover what to do if you discover a flooded basement and how to take precautions against one. Read this blog, take the steps to avoid basement flooding and avoid the panic if this happens to you.

Flooded Basement: First Steps

If Flooding is From Indoor Source, Turn off Water Valve

Most water meters have two valves. One is on the house side and the other on the street side of the meter. Usually, the main shutoff is in the basement nearest the streetside of the house. If the water is coming from the water heater, turn off the valve on the water heater itself. Some water heaters may not have one. If this is the case, ask your Apollo plumber to install one.

Sump Pump Not Working?

If you have basement flooding even with the use of a sump pump, replace your sump pump. If you’re not sure if it’s working, unplug the unit for about 10 seconds. When you plug it back in, it should begin to cycle.

Check the Floor Drain

If water is entering the basement through a floor drain, either the city main is backing up or there’s an obstruction in your sewer. If the flood is substantial enough, this water will start coming in the foundation’s cracks as well. Call a plumber and notify the city.

Dealing With Floor Drain Issues

  • Temporarily fix this problem by installing a standpipe. Once installed, this pipe gives the water somewhere to go if there’s a backup. This avoids a flooded basement.
  • Purchase a floor drain plug to use as a temporary fix.
  • Disconnect your sewer from your floor drain. This is a permanent fix.
  • Install a heavy-duty check valve, like a backwater valve. This permanent fix ensures water backing up from the sewer won’t enter your home.
  • Turn your gravity sewer into an overhead sewer. With this permanent fix, you abandon your sewer and redirect all your fixtures overhead in the basement ceiling. To reconnect to the city main you’ll need excavation. Finally, you’ll need to install a sump pump inside an ejector pit to take care of your basement fixtures or drains.

Flooded Basement Causes

There are various reasons homeowners have a flooded basement. Sadly, it can happen anytime, regardless of weather conditions. Water always flows to the lowest point and seeks the path of least resistance.

Wet Weather Basement Flooding

Overland flooding or Surface inflow

Rain and melting snow quickly strain drainage systems, especially if Cincinnati gets a lot of precipitation within a few hours or steadily for several days. Even if you don’t live in a flood plain, it’s possible. Whether you’re near the Ohio River or not, Cincinnati has experienced several flooding incidents within the last couple of years.

Foundation Drainage Fails

Homes are built to direct water away from the foundation. Sometimes those plans fail.

  1. Sump Pump Doesn’t Work

Sometimes this is because the mechanical device is broken. There may be an electrical failure or battery issue. Sometimes, they simply cannot keep up with the volume of water present. Newer homes with basements are required to have a sump pump and if you finish your basement, we recommend a backup sump pump.

  1. Weeping Tile Fails

Like many materials, the foundation drainage system weakens over time. If it deteriorates, the weeping tile system fails. Collapsed pipes or a clog of sediment is usually the cause.

  1. Seepage

Once the water table rises, water enters the basement through any unplanned path, such as cracks or holes. Frequently, the ground is too saturated to absorb any more water while the rain or snow melt continues. The water has to go somewhere. Sometimes it floods a basement.

Sewer Backup

  1. Full Sewers

Generally, a full sewer happens when there’s excess water in the sewer system. It’s more than the system is designed to handle and the water level rises.

If the sewage level in the sewer system is more than your basement, it blocks flows or worst of all, sewage flows toward your home.

This sewage wastewater enters your home from the lowest fixture. This could be a basement floor drain or even a shower drain or toilet.

  1. Restrictions to the Flow

If the main sewer or side sewer experiences additional flow or blockage, a sewer back up may happen.

Dry Weather Basement Flooding

Water Heater Failure or Break in Water Supply Line

Usually, this is due to old equipment. The average lifespan of a tank water heater is 8 to 12 years. Maintenance, use and water quality affect the years of service.

If you have hard water and no water softener, for example, you may have accumulated sediment in the bottom of your water heater tank. If it’s not been drained every year, do not start after several years.

Doing so dislodges sediment which, by now, may even be plugging minor cracks. Once the long-standing sediment is disturbed, it sometimes causes water heater leaks. The aftermath of frozen pipes also creates flooded basement risks.

Toilet or Major Drain Clogs

Flush something you shouldn’t have? Use a lot of those not so flushable “flushable wipes?” It could lead to a flooded basement. Likewise, a clogged drain in your main line or another line could reach a tipping point and backflow into the home.

Sewer Line Fail

Many homes have sewer lines that were installed decades ago. The pipes may be clogged with tree roots or collapsed because of material erosion.

How to Avoid a Flooded Basement

Be sure to get the inspections of your plumbing system right away if you suspect a problem. Slow drains, odd smells from sump pumps or drains or a gurgling sound suggest you might need plumbing or sewer services.

In addition, if your home is older, get a main drain clearing with Apollo Home. Our licensed plumbers also perform camera inspections to verify the status of sewer lines. If you suspect tree roots are a problem, a camera inspection confirms the situation before it’s too late.  

Sound Familiar? Click Here to Schedule a Free Estimate for Sewer Services

Can Flooded Basement Carpet Be Saved?

This is a popular question. According to our friends in the water damage restoration industry, it can. If the water is from a clean source, like a plumbing leak or a broken water heater, it’s possible to dry the carpet and prevent mold formation.

If the flooding is due to wastewater, like a sewage backup, for example, the carpet should be removed.

Prevent Plumbing and Sewer Problems with the Apollo Care Plan

Want to get ahead of plumbing problems like a flooded basement? Join the Apollo Care Plan. It covers seasonal tune ups of your heating and cooling equipment as well as annual evaluations of the plumbing and electrical systems in your house.  

Take advantage of these annual evaluations. Ask your licensed plumber to show you how to turn off the different water valves in your house, for example.

Our team is happy to answer your questions and to inform you about the mechanical systems in your home.  Apollo Care Plan members also receive discounts and perks like a VIP phone number for priority scheduling.

In Conclusion: A Flooded Basement Qualifies for Emergency Services

If you find a plumbing leak, have a major clogged drain, find your sump pump is broken or have standing water, call Apollo Home for 7 Days a week/365 service. It’s critical to address the source of the problem quickly begin clean up and prevent mold.

Apollo Home has served Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky with home comfort needs since 1910. We’ve received awards such as “Best in Cincinnati” for Home Services, Angie’s List Super Service Award, Contractors of the Year from the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and an A+ Accredited Business rating from the Better Business Bureau.

You’ll find our plumbers, electricians and HVAC techs traveling to customers in Blue Ash, West Chester, Bridgetown, Hyde Park and Indian Hill in Greater Cincinnati. We also serve areas like Edgewood, Francisville, Latonia, Taylor Mill and Union, Kentucky.

"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
- Jerry A.
"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
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