Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Basement of Doom: Final Solution?

I finally got in touch with my inspector about the basement flooding issue in my house.

Actually, for the last two months, it's been the basement-trickling issue. When it rains, we get maybe a few ounces of water coming through the wall where the original problem had been focused, and where I did my patching.

On the other hand, we haven't gotten anything like the all-day storm we had when the whole basement flooded. Still, it's awfully anticlimactic, especially when the extension -- which was leaking even before the all-day storm -- hasn't gotten so much as an ounce of water since. It's looking quite possible that the problem in the extension was the result of the gutters not being kept clean, and one of the downspouts being too close to the house. (The bottom part had pulled free of the pipe that diverted it away, so it was dumping onto stone steps right at the front of the house. The stone sloped to a drainage hole, so I'm not sure that much would've gone into the ground, but it might've influenced the problem).

Anyway, the most aggravating thing about the basement right now is the occasionally overpowering mildew smell. (It comes and goes, for some reason. Not sure why).

This is where the inspector turned out to be most useful: he recommended renting a commercial air purifier and letting it run for a day or two, which he thought would not only clean the air, but kill most of the mildew. He said he thought the manufacturer of the one he recommended was "Fresh Air Living" and the product an "Ozone Blaster" I think he meant these folks, though I'm going to email him to be sure. The Purehome 1000 isn't too pricey and is a good size for my basement. I'm a little leery about the technology involved -- it sounds suspiciously like Star Trek technobabble, which makes me wonder about its efficacy. Still, this would be so much better than what I thought I'd have to do, which is clear out the whole basement and scrub, or possibly replace, the carpet. I'm strongly tempted to simply buy one and see how it goes. Basements are always a little musty, and it wouldn't hurt to have an air purifier down there all the time. Especially if whatever I pick as my "final solution" doesn't turn out to be so final after all.

I'm still feeling iffy on the "final solution". Talking to the inspector helped me eliminate the most expensive contractor I spoke to -- my inspector didn't think that the single-side-hole drainage tiles would be better than the more typical ones with holes on both sides. He also didn't think there was any reason I'd need the existing sump pump replaced, and thought trying to replace it could potentially cause problems.

Unfortunately, I've half-talked myself out of using interior drainage tiles at all. The trouble with interior drainage tiles is that, while they *do* guarantee I won't have leakage over the walls they cover, there's no guarantee the walls I don't cover won't suddenly develop problems of their own. And covering the whole basement with them would be obscenely expensive, especially because it'd mean ripping out the bathroom.

An exterior drainage system (the infamous "French drain"), however, wouldn't have a problem with the bathroom.

But exterior drainage systems aren't as sure-fire as the interior ones (although they're good) and fewer companies know how to do them right. And none of the three companies I spoke with suggested that alternative.

I am half-tempted to continue with a wait-and-see approach. I'd almost like to get another big rain, just so that I can be sure of where, exactly, my problem spots are. I can get a third of the cost of a home repair back from the city -- but only one-time. So there's a significant incentive to get this right the first time.

On the other hand, I could just go ahead and do the interior drainage system. If nothing else, if it turns out to only relocate the existing problem -- well, I can at least get a French drain later. It'd be nice to get the rebate for *all* potential work, true. But it doesn't make much sense to pay for twice as much work just so I can get one-third off -- if I don't wind up needing that extra work.
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