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Five Tips for Dealing With Basement Water Seepage

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
basement water seepage

According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, basement water seepage is a problem in over 60% of homes that have a basement. A frequently wet basement becomes an increasingly unusable space in the house. Seepage threatens items stored there, attracts pests and vermin, and supports toxic mold growth. Most basement water seepage issues can be reduced to two principal causes: heavy rainfall seeping down and ground water rising up.

Rainfall Issues

Rain deeply saturating soil surrounding the house perimeter induces hydrostatic pressure against basement walls, promoting seepage through tiny cracks in the walls. Reduce rainfall-related seepage into the basement with these steps.

  • Keep gutters clear. Clogged gutters can overflow over 1,000 gallons of water during a 1-inch rainstorm. This torrent soaks deep into soil directly below, producing hydrostatic pressure and triggering seepage.
  • Extend downspouts. Gutter downspouts may be too short, releasing water where it saturates the ground adjacent to basement walls and causes seepage. Downspouts should be extended to discharge water at least three feet from the house—even more is better.   
  • Grade to divert water. Make sure landscaping surrounding the house slopes slightly to move water away from the structure. Add extra topsoil to create a downward slope of approximately 4 inches in the first six feet away from the house.

Groundwater Pressure

Where a high water table occurs naturally, groundwater may rise to a level higher than the basement floor. Seepage then occurs through cracks in the floor as well as at the joint between the basement wall and the floor.

  • Add a sump pump. Installed in a basin excavated in the basement floor, a sump system collects rising ground water to relieve pressure under the floor. The pump actuates automatically to pump water out of the basin through a discharge pipe and typically releases it somewhere in the backyard, far from the house.  
  • Install a footing drain. Buried around the perimeter of the basement foundation, a footing drain incorporates a perforated pipe surrounded by gravel backfill to collect and carry away rising ground water. This reduces seepage at the joint between the basement wall and floor.

3 Common Basement Water Issues and How to Handle Them

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

basement water issuesIn your home, the basement is where destructive water damage can occur. In many cases, the basement is either the origin of unwanted moisture or its ultimate destination. Water infiltrating from almost any source typically affects the basement of the house first. An enclosed basement can quickly become an unhealthy environment for moisture formation due to high humidity and condensation.

Here are three common basement water issues:


Moisture condensing from clammy basement air creates chronic dampness that spawns basement mold growth. It also deteriorates exposed wooden structural components. To eliminate condensation, reduce your basement’s humidity level:

  • Ventilate with fans or by opening basement windows. A basement ventilation fan permanently installed in the rim joist or upper segment of the basement wall exhausts damp air directly to the outdoors.
  • Install a dehumidifier. For continuous humidity removal, a basement dehumidifier with an integrated humidistat maintains basement humidity to specific settings.
  • Vent the dryer. If a clothes dryer is installed, make sure it exhausts through a duct that extends outside the house’s exterior.
  • Insulate plumbing. Uninsulated water pipes routed through the basement form a cold surface that condenses water from the air, dripping and saturating the pipe’s surroundings.

Soil Water Infiltration

Water in soil surrounding the basement may seep in through cracks and gaps. Sealing basement walls is usually only a partial solution. Reducing soil moisture content is also required. Make sure clogged roof gutters aren’t overflowing and contributing to the saturation of soil adjacent to the basement. Grade landscape around the foundation so rain water flows away from the house instead of soaking in. For persistent soil water issues, a drain tile system can be installed in the ground surrounding the foundation to collect and carry away excess water.

Rising Ground Water

In locations with a naturally high water table, rising ground water may penetrate the basement floor. A sump pump installed in the basement floor collects ground water and automatically pumps the water through a pipe to discharge outdoors. A sump pump performs double duty and prevents flooding in case a pipe ruptures in the basement and causes flooding.

Using A Sump Pump To Prevent Basement Water Damage

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

sump pumpion, forcing water upward into the basement. A common source of episodic basement flooding is water intrusion through basement walls during heavy rains. Pooling ground water saturates the soil surrounding the foundation, exerting hydrostatic pressure on basement walls and triggering leaks through cracks and gaps.

A sump pump installed in the basement floor is a must to prevent water damage, as well as secondary consequences like toxic mold growth. As water seeping from beneath the foundation or leaking through walls collects inside the basin, the unit automatically actuates and pumps it outside to a discharge point, usually behind the house.

Here are three suggestions to ensure your sump pump safeguards against basement water damage

  • Don’t rely on AC power alone. Severe weather that causes basement flooding often triggers utility power outages, too. Install a sump pump that incorporates a DC battery backup feature to ensure the unit actuates when it’s needed most, even if the grid goes down.
  • Test the system twice a year. In some locales, the pump may not actuate for months at a time. If a malfunction develops while it’s idle, you may be unaware that the system no longer functions properly—until it’s too late. Make sure the basin is free of foreign objects that could clog the pump. Then pour five gallons of water into the basin and observe to verify that the pump automatically turns on, fully empties the basin, then turns off.
  • Check the discharge pipe. Verify that the outdoor span of pipe slants slightly downward and discharges far from the house to prevent water from re-entering the basement. If the discharge pipe doesn’t fully drain, water inside will freeze in cold weather and the pump will not be able to empty the basin.


How To Detect Basement And Crawl Space Water Damage Before It’s Too Late!

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

basement water damage
Basement and crawl space water damage can continue unnoticed for some time. In many homes, these areas are infrequently visited and even less frequently carefully inspected. However, because household water supply lines as well as drain pipes are often routed through that part of the structure, basement and crawl space water damage is an all too common event.

Even minor seepage from water supply lines is important to know about and correct. No amount of leakage from these pipes is acceptable because it’s often an early warning of internal corrosion that may cause a major pipe rupture at any time, releasing hundreds of gallons of water per hour. However, you don’t need a catastrophic event to experience problems: even small drips can create an environment that supports growth of toxic mold. When this occurs in a remote part of the house like a basement or crawl space, mold contamination may be extensive.

To avoid basement and crawl space water damage, here are some steps you can take:

  • Visually inspect the area a few times per year. Look for any signs of leakage from plumbing pipes. If you notice any suspicious areas, contact a professional plumbing service for repair ASAP.
  • Utilize your sense of smell, too. A persistent pungent musty odor in a basement or crawl space often means mold growth. Mold is usually the result of undetected water leakage or other moisture infiltrating the zone.
  • In the basement, also look for ground water seepage through walls or floor. Sealing cracks and gaps in walls can help reduce ground water intrusion. If seepage up through the floor is noted, consider having a sump pump installed in the basement floor to reduce hydrostatic pressure and automatically remove water from the basement.
  • Water leak detectors strategically placed near water supply lines in the crawl space or basement can alert you with a loud alarm if a major pipe rupture occurs. These devices are battery-powered or plug into an AC outlet.


3 Ways Water Can Damage Your Home’s Foundation

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

It’s sometimes surprising how water can damage a home’s foundation. After all, a typical residential foundation is a thick slab of poured cement set into the ground or heavy mortar blocks. What harm could a liquid like water do? As it turns out, water can affect the foundation in a number of ways, both directly and indirectly. Under the right conditions and given enough time, water can make expensive foundation repairs necessary, as well as infiltrate the house and cause indoor water damage. Here are three ways water can damage a home’s foundation.

  1. water can damage home foundationExternal pressure. If the local soil drains efficiently, rainwater quickly penetrates deep into the ground and is carried away. However, if the soil is dense and absorbent the ground surrounding the house swells, exerting significant pressure against foundation walls. In time, this pressure causes cracks and gaps and water seepage into the basement. As disintegration continues, foundation walls may eventually tip or rotate inward, requiring major foundation rehab work.
  2. Ground water. In areas where the local water table rises near the surface, it may push against the underside of the foundation. Called “hydrostatic pressure,” this force of rising ground water is powerful and continuous. While it’s not likely to lift the foundation out of the ground, it will infiltrate water into the basement through cracks and joints that widen over time, and even permeate solid concrete. A tile drainage system to divert ground water away and a sump pump installed in the basement floor are preventive measures against foundation damage.
  3. Pooling. Water pooling on the surface around the perimeter of the house eventually degrades concrete and mortar foundations. The most frequent cause is landscaping that slopes toward the house, instead of away. This causes rainwater to pool close to the house where it seeps down into the foundation. Other causes include clogged, overflowing rain gutters that cascading water to the ground, or downspouts that are too short and allow discharged water to flow back toward the house.

For solutions to the many ways water can damage a home’s foundation, contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.

4 Rooms That Are Most Susceptible to Water Damage in Your Home

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

4 Rooms That Are Most Susceptible to Water Damage in Your HomeWater damage in your home isn’t an equal opportunity event. Certain rooms are more likely to experience water-related property damage and more vulnerable to its effects. Predicting when water damage will strike is problematic. Sometimes it’s a result of purely random occurrences. In other cases, it’s the consequence of an extended period of early warnings that went unheeded. However, the where of water damage in your home is easier to anticipate. (more…)