Basement Moisture Problems

We are experiencing heavy rains in Minnesota and Iowa this week, and some places are seeing flooding.  Most of us think that flooding only affects a building when the river rises high enough to reach the house and force its way in through windows and doors.  However, there is another way that water can invade your home when flooding conditions are present.

Not too many years ago, Southeast Minnesota experienced a series of heavy rain events over a period of  several  days.  All the rivers and creeks were running high, and the ground was totally saturated.  We were spending a weekend at our recreational home and were watching the 10 p.m. news when we heard an emphatic knocking on our front door.  I opened the door and was greeted by a deputy sheriff who informed me that the river behind our house was rising rapidly.  He encouraged us to leave as quickly as possible.  My wife and I went outside to see the current condition of the river and were greeted by several of our neighbors.  A city dump truck had just arrived and was unloading a pile of sand and some bags for sandbagging.  To make a long story short, we all wound up sandbagging throughout the night and the river began to recede about 7:00 a.m.

At this point the sandbag brigade began to break up, and we returned to our house feeling good that we had escaped the flooding.  Wrong!  As we entered the house, we noticed a plastic basket floating at the bottom of the basement steps.  I went down to investigate and discovered several inches of water.  How could that be, the river hadn’t gotten any closer than the base of the sandbags 20 yards behind our house.  It didn’t take long before we noticed little rivulets of water running down the inside of the CMUs.  The ground was so saturated from a week of steady rain that the pressure difference between the outside and the inside was forcing water through the concrete block.

Fortunately, I was able to procure a gas pump and a sump pump in a nearby city (there was an area for a sump pump in the basement floor when we purchased the house, but we had never put one in place) and after a few hours of pumping with the gas pump, the bulk of the water was out of the basement and the new sump pump was able to keep ahead of the seeping.  The good news was the water in the basement was clean groundwater, and there wasn’t a stinky flood residue to clean up.

Here’s the point.  It is possible for any home with a basement to experience what we experienced that weekend; you don’t have to be near a stream to experience major water in your basement.  Are you prepared for a situation like we experienced?  Have you installed a basement moisture management system?  Check out the Wet Basement Solutions from MTI to see what I am talking about and save yourself some worry and major property damage.

Those are my thoughts, I would be glad to hear yours!

You can see the water that pressure forced into the basement.

Water forced into by pressure differential.

Water being pumped from basement

Notice the water being pumped from basement and the sandbags between us and the river.


One Response

  1. Thanks for sharing this information. I would like to add that I got my dehumidifier for years and I can say that it is truly one of the best to control the humidity level at home.Thanks

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