A Sump Pump is an Appliance in Your Home

You may think that your brand new fridge with adjustable shelves or other things with a Bluetooth connection might be a cool appliance in your house. Or maybe the stack-able washer and dryer set that cleans your clothes using half the water as your old one seems like your best appliance. If you’ve ever experienced a flooded basement, another appliance that should win your affection is the sump pump. While there’s nothing fancy about it, from a practical standpoint; no home should be without one. Today’s sealed units are submersible and run more efficiently and quietly than old outdated pedestal styles. They sit underneath the water line in a sump pit in your basement. As water from your weeping tile system drains into the pit area, the sump pump activates to move water safely out of your basement to an area outside your home and keeping the water table low under your floor. These units are an excellent means of basement waterproofing but can experience these common problems:

 

  1. Activation (Float) Switch Malfunctions

When the water in your sump pit reaches a certain height, a float switch turns the pump on. This part receives heavy use and will probably break first. Make sure your unit’s float switch can be easily replaced. They come in vertical, diaphragm, electronic and tethered styles. The vertical float switch is the most popular for its efficiency and reliability.

  1. Power Outages

Loss of power to the sump pump is also extremely common. The cord may be accidentally unplugged, the electrical circuit tripped or severe weather may knock the power out. Regular inspection of the connection and a dedicated outlet will alleviate some problems. Purchasing a battery back-up is also a good investment. This can offer continuous protection even when you’re away from home.

  1. Improper Installation

The pump should be professionally installed. Professional installers will follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions which are essential for trouble-free operation. The pump must sit flat on the pit bottom. Dirt and gravel should be removed to prevent float switch obstruction. It’s also recommended that a check valve is installed to stop water back-flow into the impeller. A small hole in the discharge line will relieve pressure and extend the life of the sump pump on some pumps. Some pumps do not require this step. 4. Wrong Sump Pump Size

It’s important to have the correct horsepower and pumping capacity for your application. A professional can help determine this. Too large a pump will create too much pressure that may blow the seals. Too small a pump will force it to work too hard and burn it out quicker. Typical residential sump pumps come in 1/3 and 1/2 horsepower with a pumping capacity of 35 or 60 gallons per minute. Replacements should be of similar size unless your current pump runs too often or you experience a loss of water flow due to a high vertical lift.

  1. Poor Maintenance

Maintaining your sump pump is easy and doesn’t require much work. During dry periods when the pump doesn’t operate often, pour some water into the pit occasionally to run a full cycle. Running vinegar through it will clean away any build-up. Keep the pit as clean as you can, within reason. Keep the float obstruction-free and any back-up battery should be replaced after three years.

  1. Life Expectancy

Like all mechanical appliances, your sump pump will eventually break down. With an average lifespan of three to seven years, you’ll likely need to replace the pump at least once while you’re living there. Prices range from $150 to $400 for a new one. Don’t underestimate how much damage can be caused by a malfunctioning sump pump. Being proactive and replacing it before it breaks down is the best thing you can do.

Waterproofing New Concrete Foundations

Waterproofing may be the least exciting phase of construction, but it’s one of the most crucial. While there really isn’t any artistry involved, it’s easy to overlook the importance and just go through the motions. Many builders want to rush through things and get this phase of the job done quickly, but if you want to avoid any future problems in callbacks, leaks and so on, you must take the time to get this step right. Always remember that it only takes one hole in your drinking glass to ruin your shirt!

Other than a fire, probably the worst thing that can happen to a residential structure is a foundation problem. The foundation is literally what the house is built on, what keeps the building where it was built, transferring the dead loads and the live loads into the ground.

The source of the vast majority of foundation problems is water. Wet soil beneath a foundation can swell or lose strength. And that’s only the first reason to keep the foundation dry. Then there’s the potential that wet damp basements and crawl spaces could breed mold and make below-ground interior spaces generally unpleasant. The problem is that typical concrete is not waterproof. Although it may not be cracked (which is actually rare) it will typically keep out liquid water, water vapor can still penetrate quite easily. Keeping water drained away from concrete foundations and preventing it from moving through the concrete are essential to a successful structure.

Accomplishing our goal, then, of draining any water away and ensuring a dry interior space below grade can be relatively simple or fairly involved depending on geographic location, climate, topography, soil/water table conditions, and depth of the foundation. There are three components of any system designed to keep water out. These are, from the bottom up:

  • Drains to move water away from the bottom of the foundation
  • Wall treatment to prevent moisture from moving through the wall and to route water down to the drains
  • Ground surface treatment adjacent to the building to direct surface water away

And remember that since this will mostly be underground when the building is complete, doing it right the first time is critical, because coming back to fix it is an expensive undertaking. A leaky foundation in a residential building can damage finishes and furnishings, even the structure itself. In a commercial building, water can ruin expensive equipment and disrupt vital work. It all adds up to lost money, wasted time, upset customers and sometimes litigation.

Can A Wet Basement be Dangerous?

If you are living in a home with moisture issues and water damage in your basement you might be putting your family’s health at risk. Although it might be something you are trying to ignore, a leaky basement or a basement with moisture issues can lead to dangerous mould and mildew growth. Here are some of the health issues that could be related to moisture and leaks in basements:
Bacteria growth: Bacteria love moisture. When your basement is wet from leaks and condensation issues it provides a prime breeding ground for many types of bacteria. Colonies of bacteria will be able to grow due to damp organic matter that can build up on your walls and floors. The more moisture provided the stronger the bacteria becomes and even the strongest anti-bacterial cleaning products may not be able to remove or kill them. This could lead to illness for family members.
Breeding ground for pests: In some cases a damp basement can prove to be a breeding ground for pests including mice, rats and insects. It has been proven that when there is water damage it tends to lead to higher allergens in the home from pests.
Dust mites: Dust mites thrive in an environment with humidity levels above 60 per cent. If you are allergic to dust mites or have asthma you will have to aim to keep your home below 50 per cent humidity. This will help inhibit dust mite growth. An air conditioner or even a dehumidifier can sometimes help. However, in a moist basement sometimes dehumidifiers could make matters worse.
Mould: There are many species of mould that could make your family ill. Mould is another thing that thrives in moist environments. Water damage, condensation and a continuously wet and moist environment will usually lead to mould growth as well as mildew. Mould could cause any number of issues from rashes and respiratory issues to headaches and even memory loss.
As you can see moisture in your basement could lead to many serious issues if not addressed.

RAINSTORM TIPS

Rainstorms during the spring and summer are a fact of life, and with them can come the threat of a flooded basement.
Your home is made up of many drainage components that work together to direct water where it is supposed to go – onto city streets and back lanes. Keeping water away from the foundation walls of your house is the most important action you can take to minimize your flood risk. Any of a number of improvements can help, but remember that it’s the whole system working together that gives you the best chance of avoiding a wet basement.
Before a Storm
1. Start on your roof. Eavestroughs (also called rain gutters) should be regularly cleaned and checked for leaks, poor connections or sagging. It’s important water from your roof flows easily and quickly to the downspouts. Anything that prevents this from happening should be repaired or replaced.
2. Downspouts should be checked regularly to make sure there are no leaves or other debris blocking the water’s path. Check also for leaks and poor connections where the downspout is attached to the eavestrough.
3. Downspout extensions take the water away from the house and the foundation walls. Extensions should be at least 6 feet (1. 8 metres) away from the house. If an extension is not possible, place a concrete splash pad at a sloped angle underneath the downspout. In all cases, directed the water to a street or back lane and not into a neighbour’s yard. In older neighbourhoods, some roof downspouts are connected directly to pipes underground. Seek the advice of a plumber or drainage expert before disconnecting.
4. Good eavestroughs, downspouts and extensions won’t help much if lot grading is poor. Walk around your home and measure the grade from the wall. This includes under steps and decks. The soil, lawn or other hard surface should slope downward at a continuous grade for a minimum of five feet. The soil at the wall should be at least 4-6 inches higher than the ground five feet away. This positive grade should be checked regularly as ground settles over time.
5. Window wells are an excellent way of adjusting the grade around basement windows that are low to the ground. Window wells have the added bonus of preventing dirt from rotting window sills. Once the window well is installed, backfill the outside of the well with dirt so the positive grade is the same as the rest of the house.
6. Concrete cracks on your driveway, sidewalk or patio can let surface water seep back to your foundation walls. These cracks or spaces should be sealed and waterproofed with silicone. As silicone wears down over time, this should be done every 3-5 years.
7. Look for any basement foundation cracks inside your house. If your basement is finished, check to see if there are any wet or damp areas along the walls or on the edges of the flooring after it rains. If there is, you may need to remove part of the wall or flooring to confirm the water source. Have any cracks you find sealed and waterproofed. that you find.
8. If you have a backwater valve on your sewer line it will help prevent sewer backup into your basement. Check it at least once a year to make sure the flap is free of debris and is moving freely. Lubricate the hinges of the valve if necessary. If you don’t have a valve in your home, consider having one installed.
9. Many homes have a sump pump that takes excess groundwater from the bottom of the foundation to the surface. A sump pump should be checked regularly to see if it is working properly. This includes cleaning the intake screen and checking for leaks. You can test a sump pump by taking off the floor cover and pouring water into the sump well. The pump that is working properly should automatically begin running.
10. The sump pump pipe runs to the surface outside the house. Like downspouts, water from this pipe should be channeled away from the house to a city street or back lane and not into your neighbor’s yard.
During A Storm. . .
1. Avoid using water. During a rainstorm, the pressure on your home and the municipal drainage system increases dramatically, sometimes pushing it to capacity. Washing clothes, taking a shower, running the dishwater and even flushing the toilet adds water to the system that may have nowhere to go but up your floor drain and into your basement. This is particularly true if you have a backwater valve as the valve is designed to close during extreme conditions and keep water from the outside getting in. When this happens, water from the inside also can’t get out.
2. Get your eavestrough extensions down. A long downspout extension is of no value when it’s propped up against the side of the house. Leave your extensions down all the time or put them down when rain is forecast.
3. Check the power to the sump pump. If you have a sump pump, double check to see that is plugged in and the breaker is on. More than one homeowner has searched for the cause of a flooded basement only to discover their sump pump lacked the power to perform.

5 Causes of Leaks in Your Basement & How to Find Them

A leaky basement can be a common problem that most households deal with at one time or another. Taking care of your basement is essential to ensure a healthy home, but many times we may not pay attention to that dingy area of our house. If basement problems are ignored, they could become things that could affect your home and ultimately result in costly repairs. High humidity promotes an environment in which mold and mildew could grow and cause allergic reactions in you and your family, and water damage could eventually result in damage and, therefore, greatly reduce your property’s value.

It is crucial for you and your family’s health to recognize water damage signs and determine what is causing them. For this reason, we will explain what the main causes of water-related problems are in basements, and provide a guideline in to effectively recognize them in a timely manner:

What Causes Leaky Basements?

A basement’s number one enemy is certainly water, since it is responsible for most problems found in them and could cause great havoc. The following are the main sources from which water could be making its way into your home causing leaks in your basement:

 

  • Rain and water pools around the foundation

 

Heavy rainfall can be deadly to a home that hasn’t been properly waterproofed. Problems due to rainfall accumulating near the foundations are more common in older homes, but even new houses can become flooded if there isn’t proper drainage that directs the water away from the structure. You should have a slope around your home that will help divert water away from the foundation, regularly clear out gutters and make sure downspouts are draining away water at a sufficient distance from the house.

 

  • Cracks in or around windows and doors

 

Sometimes the issue simply lies in small cracks and holes, or improper sealing of windows and stairwell doors. Take advantage of the next rainfall and inspect your windows and stairways for signs of leaks, and proceed to caulking and repairing whatever flaws you have found, sealing them properly and making sure outside drainage is adequately diverting water away from your home.

 

  • Leaky plumbing

 

The issue can also be inside your home, since leaky pipes are also very common problems and could be the source of dampness behind a wall. It is essential that you regularly inspect your pipes for leaks and cracks or blockages, and that you properly prepare them for cold weather by insulating them to prevent freezing and, ultimately, a burst pipe and a flooded basement.

 

  • Inadequate sump pump

 

Another important piece of equipment you should have in your basement is a sump pump. It will take care of the collection and drainage of groundwater under your house, which is essential since when the soil soaks up too much water and it builds up or expands, it could force its way into your floor and walls. If the sump pump is not regularly cleaned and adequately maintained, it could fail to divert water away and will most likely leak into your basement. Invest in a good sump pump and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to clean it and have it running year round.

 

  • Condensation

 

Sometimes the source of leaks is not external water seeping through, but simply high humidity levels inside your basement. This could be due to poor ventilation of the room, living near the ocean or simply due to warm temperatures during the summer. You can recognize condensation when you see the walls, pipes ceiling or furniture feel like they are “sweating”. This is a problem that can easily be solved by installing proper venting, especially for your dryer in case you have it in your basement, or by using a dehumidifier to condition the air.

Signs of Leaks in Your Basement

Identifying leaks in your basement in a timely manner will be crucial in order to prevent further water damage. The main objective should be to determine whether the source is from an external water source, such as rain, lot drainage or groundwater, or any other source, such as leaking plumbing or condensation.

In order to determine the source and decide how to best repair it, you will have to carefully inspect your basement looking for signs that indicate leakage, which are:

 

  • Dampness or brown stains on walls and ceiling

 

If walls feel or look damp, or you have brown stains forming around your walls or ceiling, this can indicate water has been absorbed into them and is reacting with the clay outside your home by drawing the acid in it and filtering it through your walls. Water could be coming from leaky plumbing, groundwater seepage, or rainfall accumulation.

 

  • Mold and mildew

 

Two of the most common home invaders are mold and mildew, since they quickly appear in areas of high humidity or where water accumulates. They are the culprits of that awful musty smell in your basement, and have the power to rapidly spread. They release spores that can produce respiratory problems and allergies, especially for patients suffering from asthma.

 

  • Efflorescence

 

Is that chalky white mineral deposit you sometimes see on your walls, which occurs due to the chemical breakdown of its bonging agents that leach lime through masonry surfaces. This is a sign of an environment that has high humidity levels.

 

  • Rust stains

 

Rust stains are usually found on concrete floors and carpet due to corrosion metal objects such as nails on baseboards, electrical boxes, metal feet on furniture and others.

 

  • Stained carpets

 

Finding stains or a damp carpet could indicate water has been coming through. Try to identify in which areas this happens and if it is connected with heavy rainfalls.

 

  • Water bugs

 

Some small insects are attracted to areas where moisture accumulates and will go looking for water sources. Look for evidence of bugs behind furniture and appliances, around corners, and along baseboards and beams to come closer to the water seepage source.

 

  • Stained or warped wood

 

Darkened wood and stained or warped floorboards are clear signs of water damage in the area.

 

  • Cracked and damp floors

 

If you find cracks around your floors or walls, this could be a sign of water putting too much pressure on the structure and wanting to force its way in, thus resulting in the floor breaking and water seeping through.

Basements are highly vulnerable spaces to water problems since they are the lowest point in your house and have to hold down excessive amounts of weight, especially during the rainy months. Catching problems early will make a huge difference in determining the method that needs to be used to solve them, and therefore, probably the costs you will have to incur in too. Don’t neglect your basement it’s integrity is important to the value of your house; take matters into your own hands and take some time to inspect it and avoid worse problems in the future. It is always best to have such findings viewed and repaired by a reputable basement repair company.

 

 

Take the Embarrassment Out of Having a Wet Basement

One of the most embarrassing predicaments of homeowners is having a wet basement. When wetness or unwanted water rests in the interior, it gradually damages the foundation, framing of the walls, and other materials in your foundation. Waterproofing a basement is the only answer to stop this recurring problem.

Diagnose the Reason for Your Wet Basement Floor

A wet basement can be traced back from two major sources: seepage or condensation. You must find how water enters your basement in order to know which of the two causes the problem. Check out the walls for cracks and holes, and if the problem seems to be seepage or condensation, here are ways to treat condensation and seepage -induced moisture.

Treat the Cause of Your Wet Basement

Waterproofing a basement can cause you cash, but the investment is worthwhile. Check the gutters, spouts, and window wells, if you find that your issue comes from seepage. Gutters and spouts can get clogged with fallen twigs and leaves driving water to seep into the basement rather than flowing out away from it. Install gutters and spouts should you not have them yet, and ensure they are directed away from the foundation. Make sure window wells are installed and fully covered to prevent water.

You have to change the temperature of your basement, if your wet floor is caused by condensation. During wet seasons, close all windows. Cover them to prevent moisture from developing, and insulate cold pipes if there are any are present. Restore the right humidity level inside your basement and to decrease dampness, use a dehumidifier. If you do not have one, purchase one. Enriching ventilation is the only key to removing wetness.

A wet basement caused by seepage or condensation is fairly easy to treat. Basement waterproofing costs should not add up to a fortune particularly when the problem could be fixed by installing a downspout or gutter. However, if your wet floor problem stems from other more serious sources, waterproofing it could be more costly.

Your basement is an essential part of your house and the foundation, so before you start into any major work on it, make sure that you find out everything you need to find out or else it can be agonizing, long and expensive. It is always recommended that you seek the advice or an assessment from a professional waterproofing company.

 

Cracks in Basement Walls

foundation repairDo you have you a tiny crack in your basement wall? You may think that this isn’t a very big deal and it’s not really letting any water in. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. A basement wall crack which may appear tiny on the inside of your home may actually be much large on the outside. Water seeps in through this large exterior crack and then gets into your basement via means of the tiny crack. If left untreated, this tiny crack can even begin growing larger itself. A leaky basement, if not fixed with a basement waterproofing system, will lead to other repair costs, mold, and headaches in the future.

If you live on a lot that has lots of clay materials in the soil, the pressures that it will exert on a small crack on the inside of your wall could cause it to grow very quickly if you don’t get it repaired soon. Even a small-looking crack can lead to standing water in your family’s basement. All basement wall cracks need to be evaluated, no matter how much of a concern you think they may not be. Don’t subject your family to living in a home with a wet basement. If left untreated, it could lead to structural problems for your home and even dangerous living conditions for your family.
 

Fall Season Can Lead To Wet Basement Problems

fallThe fall season is upon us and with it comes many changes around us. Falling leaves and other debris is one of them. Such debris could end up in your gutters. This could lead to all sorts of other problems. Add that to something like an improperly placed downspout and pretty soon your home could end up with a wet basement. Luckily, there are things that home and business owners can do to prevent such things.

The first and simplest action to take is cleaning the gutters and downspouts throughout the fall and winter months. The second action is to review where  your downspouts are and make adjustments accordingly. In most instances, they should be pointed away from the building and extend a minimum of five feet away from the building’s foundation.

If they all appear to be in order, it’s always a good idea to ensure that water from the lawn, driveway, patio, window wells or other nearby properties is not the source of the flooding. In some instances, it may be necessary to add topsoil around the building’s perimeter, buy a window well cover or install an alternate drainage system to address those sorts of water intrusions.

Of course there are other elements that may be contributing to a building’s wet basement wall problems. For instance, it may be exacerbated by tie (snap ties) rod hole leaks, condensation, sewer drain backups, broken water pipes, overgrown vegetation, cracks in the walls or hydrostatically induced pressure (improper drainage). Fall is the time to have a good look around and have these things repaired and addressed before Old Man Winter comes and plays further havoc with your basement.

 

Ignoring That Leak in Your Basement Because The Weather Has Been Dry?

moldy damp basementRemember that leak in your basement? So now with the dry weather, it’s not as bothersome, and you’re hanging onto your money and not giving it much thought.

Not a big deal, you may think.  After all, your basement isn’t finished, or maybe you only use part/ or all for storage and the occasional project.  The water will evaporate eventually, right?  Or, you can clean it up with a wet vacuum.

Why panic, right?  And why spend money fixing a leak that really isn’t hurting anything?

Well, not so fast, there, frugal homeowner.  By ignoring a leak in your basement you may be creating other problems in your home and you may be doing so based on an erroneous assumption that fixing the leak will be too costly.

Why Not to Ignore a Leak in Your Basement

Let’s step back and take a look at the consequences of ignoring a leak in your basement.

When seepage occurs in the basement of your home, the water (whether it’s a little or a lot) has nowhere to go except to accumulate in a puddle on the floor.  Along with being messy to step in, that puddle of water can create some real problems:

Increased Humidity – As stated correctly above, water that accumulates in the basement from seepage will eventually evaporate.  That does take care of the puddle on the floor but all that moisture ends up in the air in your home, which drives up the humidity in the atmosphere.  Home HVAC systems are designed to manage humidity in the house, true, but air-conditioning, for example, has to run that much harder and longer to remove all that added humidity from the air.

Ever hear that joke about the electric meter spinning fast enough to cut cheese?  Welcome to your future.

Mold – Mold is an unfortunately common occurrence in homes and it can be detrimental to the health of everyone that lives there.  Mold spores spread easily and are often conducted from the basement into aboveground living spaces, either by HVAC systems or the  “stack effect” that causes movement of air into, out of and through buildings.

Mold spores require three things to grow and spread, two of which – food and warmth — are always present in most basements.  (Food for mold is any organic material, including wood, paper and drywall.)   When the third factor, moisture, is introduced into the environment, even long-dormant mold spores can spring to life and begin causing havoc.

OK, you say, but I’m hanging onto my money right now, and isn’t fixing a leak in a basement going to be expensive?

Not necessarily.  The most common style of basement is one made of poured concrete and the most common source of a leak in such a basement is a non-structural in the wall.

Fixing a crack in a poured concrete wall is a simple process of  injecting it with expanding polyurethane to fill and seal it against future leaks.  Done right by a basement waterproofing professional, the cost will be several hundred dollars, not the thousands you may be imaging.

Of course, if the problem originates with seepage through a masonry wall or is created by hydrostatic pressure under the foundation, the repairs will be more extensive and will cost more but will also eliminate the possibility of mold and humidity that may cause respiratory problems for your family and damage to your home.

So, remember, that leak in your basement, should not be ignored – call a basement waterproofing professional today for an assessment. Most times it’s a free estimate.

Emerging Enterprise- Wise Cracks Foundation Repair Saint John