Joe, after the recent rain storms, I had water in my basement, but we dried it with towels and it looks fine now, do I have to do anything else and do think this will happen again?
Farmington Hills, MI
Tonya, I wish I would have bought stock in cotton towels during the last rain storm! Your reaction is normal and in some cases will even work!
This is not a dumb question and frequently asked of us. Now, the reality is a big fat “BUT”!! Did… the rain come in from the sewer or the basement walls? Was the water clear or dirty looking? If it was the sewer and it smelled bad, looked really dirty and was around a drain, that is considered a “black water loss” (technical term for “crappy” water if you know what i mean) and will have to be cleaned up by professionals due to the high levels of bacteria in the sewer water.
Now, depending on your insurance coverage this could be covered under your backup sewer policy (if you have one). If it looked clean and was on the perimeter walls it likely was from the outside and will not be covered under insurance as most policies do not cover exterior water seepage. As far as cleaning up with towels you may already know the answer! If your basement was finished with drywall, moldings, carpet and pad. Towels will not soak up your problem. Padding will have to be removed and thrown out.
If the water was there for 3 days or longer (Bacteria will start to grow after 72 hours) the carpet and pad will start to smell really bad and will have to be thrown out and it will require a professional company to dry the effected areas with air movers and commercial dehumidifiers so mold will not grow. If your basement was not finished and had a concrete floor and walls, towels will do the job with a fan and small dehumidifier.
Could this happen again? OH YES! You can however, reduce the chances by doing a few things. If your sewer backed up you will need to have your main sewer and your storm drain snaked by a professional plumber asap, not when it happens …again. This cost could range between, $125 to $165 + depending on the complexity and number of clean out locations. You may also need to have a camera put in your drain by your plumber to see if there is a collapse in the main sewer line that might be causing this problem, this cost could range between $150 to $300+ depending on the plumber and might not be necessary.
Tree roots and large objects flushed down the toilet are the usual suspects for blockages (gotta love kids & seniors) and your plumber will likely know the difference from a collapsed drain and a blockage. If seepage is coming from your basement walls that could open up many problems from cracks in foundation, rod holes that are deteriorating, sinking foundations and reverse grade issues on exterior. This will require a basement wall professional to see the damage and make a determination.
Tonya put the towels back in your linen closet & call CONSTRUCTEAM 24/7 if you have an emergency so we could help you soak up this problem.
And remember at “Ask Joe” He will know, there is never a “DUMB” question, but always a “SMART” answer!
Joseph P. Cipriano Jr.