Basement water damage in Chicago, IL, is a common cause of property damage. Occurrences are not confined to either dry or wet weather but can happen under any conditions. All basements are susceptible to flooding. Knowledge of why basements flood can help homeowners prevent these water damage disasters. Listed below are five common causes of basement flooding:
The home was improperly situated on the parcel of property.
Even though the home may not technically be located in a flood plain, flooding may still be an issue. If the lot is graded improperly, surface drainage may be channeled toward the home. The house may have been initially positioned on the lot to take advantage of a view, or the placement of the house may have been influenced by a desire to enhance the home’s visibility from the street. Features in the landscape such as boulders, trees, or proximity to adjacent homes may have resulted in the home being built in a location that makes the structure vulnerable to micro-flooding during heavy rainfall.
The solution may be as simple as having a landscape architect alter the grading of the lot so that water is directed away from the foundation of the home. A qualified landscape architect with expertise in drainage and grading will pull needed permits and ensure building codes and HOA covenants are followed. A competent architect will create a grading plan that does not create drainage problems for neighbors. Changes in grading elevations that cause a neighbor’s basement or crawl space to flood can lead to expensive flood damage repairs and lawsuits.
If grading does not entirely solve the problem, other solutions are available. A French drain may need to be installed. A sump pump with a backup system might be another solution to prevent a flooded basement.
Basement floors and walls are inadequately or improperly sealed.
To avoid water leakage and flooding, homeowners should waterproof basement walls and floors with a high-quality sealant at the time of construction or during a remodeling project. Seasonal inspections and regular maintenance are crucial. Seal any cracks or openings immediately with the appropriate caulk. If cracks and gaps seem to be worsening, have a foundation specialist inspect the situation. Strategies to resolve foundation problems will be more affordable before the issues escalate.
The gutter system is clogged or in disrepair.
Gutters and downspouts blocked by debris will overflow during heavy rainfall. As many as five hundred gallons will flow off the roof of an average-sized home during a one-inch downpour. The excess water is deposited near the house’s foundation and may seep through the soil and into the basement. Seasonal cleaning and regular inspections of the gutter system will help ensure proper drainage. Have a home services professional perform the inspection and cleaning.
A sewer backup has occurred.
Regarding weather changes in the Chicago area, stormwater experts at Chicago.gov report, “There is a new kind of storm hitting Chicago in recent years—heavy rains that can be very local, very intense and hard to predict. They dump 2 inches or more per hour in a given neighborhood. This volume quickly overwhelms local sewers, which were not designed for such intense rainfall. Sewer mains fill up, and additional water pushes into basements through our private drains. There are two main sources for this additional rainfall. The first is to catch basins (CB’s) in the street. These are the grated drains by the curbs that feed the main sewer through lateral pipes. The second is water from rooftops. As much as 500 gallons of water can fall on the average residential rooftop. In the old days, the City code required that gutter downspouts be connected to private drains (PD’s) that carry domestic water to sewers. This was fine for normal, old-fashioned rains. But, when sewers are full, the water has nowhere to go but your basement. In essence, we are flooding ourselves.”
A sewer system overwhelmed with wastewater or stormwater can back up into a home through floor drains, sinks, and toilets. The solution is to install backwater valves that prevent backflows on the sanitary sewer line.
The sump pump has failed.
Sump pumps work well to prevent basement flooding. However, sump pumps can fail, and they can be overwhelmed. Consider investing in a backup sump pump with an alternate power source. Seasonally inspect, clean, and test the system to ensure that it is working.
What to Do in Case of a Basement Flood
When a basement floods, the safest and fastest solution is to contact the water damage restoration specialists at Illinois Velocity Restoration. They understand that time is crucial in a water damage disaster. The staff is experienced and certified to handle all types of situations. Illinois Velocity Restoration works directly with the insurance company and can handle the project from start to finish.