If you find basement water, the first step in fixing a basement water problem is to determine the source of the water. If it is not due to problems with your washing machine or pllumbing – then it likely coming from outside. Basically, you can divide outside basement water sources into three categories:
- Surface water is primarily water from run-off, rain, snow, or poor drainage. This type of water problem is generally restricted to the top four feet of soil.
- Ground water is a flow of water produced from high water tables, springs and rivers, and can be made worse by poor soil. This type of water problem can extend from the surface and then run down past the level of the basement floor.
- Other causes are from humidity, or due to condensation, from temperature differences
If surface water is the culprit, watch how the roof drainage system works and where rain water flows during a rainstorm.
A gutter or downspout plugged with debris may be sending rainwater over the gutter, down along the foundation, and into the house. Regular cleaning or installing a product that prevents debris from getting into the trough will end that problem.
If there is no debris but rainwater is still overflowing, the downspouts may be clogged, incorrectly sized for the roof area, or insufficient for the size of the house. Consider getting larger gutters, adding another downspout, or increasing the downspout size and its corresponding gutter opening.
To fix a leaking basement caused by gutters, you probably need to replace them. If possible, make sure that spouts send water at least four feet away from your foundation, and don't use heavy steel gutters that can promote clogging. Before rainy seasons begin, clean out all your gutters and make sure no mud or leaves might clog the flow of water. This should stop much of the pooling action that is causing your basement to leak.
Groundwater is difficult to control. The ground surrounding a basement may become saturated with rainwater or an underground water table, particularly if the soil is a heavy clay. Water pressure from saturated soil will push water through tiny cracks in the foundation. If groundwater levels rise above the basement floor, water will seep in.
If the problem is small, you may try patching cracks from the inside. Interior crack repair does not prevent water from getting into the exterior section of the wall. Water trapped inside the basement wall can weaken the foundation. After pinpointing the source, a homeowner might dig down along the foundation to see the extent of repair required.
Warm moist air can condenses on cooler basement walls and floors. If you determine this is the culprit, you may want to consider installing energy-efficient windows, or use a dehumidifier during humid days, or even circulate household air with your funrace fan to prevent moisture buildup.
For crawl spaces, a ground cover will reduce the moisture coming up through the earth. Insulate perimeter walls if water pipes or heating ducts are in that area. Insulate cold-water pipes and walls. Install proper dryer exhausts and vent basement showers directly outside. Don’t hang wet laundry in the basement..
How To: Dry a Wet Basement, Bob Vila, .BobVila.com
Troubleshooting Wet Basement Problems, Bob Formisano, About.com