Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

Flood Wars: The Basement Strikes Back

Yesterday morning, it rained pretty hard for a couple of hours. The last time my basement flooded, however, it'd taken several solid hours of rain before it happened. So by the time I got home, I'd forgotten all about the morning squall.
OK,</i> I thought. I headed into the main basement to fetch the wet/dry vac, figuring I'd suck up the water on the floor now, before it spilled over into the rest of the extension.

At the far end of the basement, where the original leak had been, was a large puddle of water around the dehumidifier.

It wasn't coming from the walls where the original leak had been, which were still mostly dry.

Is the dehumidifier leaking? I hoped, vainly. I started pulling back carpet. Wet carpet. No way the dehumidifier could put out that much water. I walked through other rooms; the concrete floor in the furnace/water heater closet was also puddled. I pulled back carpet where I could. Water was all around the interior wall. But that was an unlikely source for the actual leak -- it's an interior wall, for cryin' out loud.

I went into the futon room, and finally spotted it.

It was coming from the west wall, mostly. Not the area between floor and wall, but the line about six inches up, where one stack of cinderblocks met the next. Water weeped in all along the west wall of the futon room. Some of it was coming into the southern room, along the same wall, too, but not as much. And there was some coming from the north wall of the futon room -- which is also an interior wall: it fronts on the extension. I'm not sure how the water was getting in there. Coming up through the ground under the extension? The extension's own puddle was still back from the wall.

With some reluctance, I went upstairs to wake Lut. I needed to move boxes and other stuff away from the source of the flood, if we wanted to forestall a repeat of the totally-drenched-carpet incident of last time, where it took days of vaccuuming and more weeks to dry the carpet out.

Groggily, Lut came downstairs and started moving stuff, while I vaccuumed what exposed concrete we had. This works much better than using a wet/dry vac on carpet. We continued vaccuuming and surveying the damage for an hour or so. We debated whether or not to move the futon, since there was no high ground left to move it to. We decided to seal its legs in plastic and move it off the carpet and on to wet concrete, just to keep the carpet from getting drenched. As I was about to go upstairs for tape and plastic bags, we noticed a sudden drenching in the carpet of the hall. Lut thought for a moment that the vaccuum was leaking.

"The extension's overflowed!" I said. How had it flooded so fast? The water had been pretty low just a little while ago. I looked out.

Water was pouring under the outer door. I scrambled about to throw clothes on, and opened the door. The pit the outer door sits in was full of water. There's a pipe that lets the pit drain out, and my first thought was There's too much water to get through, it can't handle it all.

While I tried vainly to get plastic sheeting onto the ground to seal the doorway, or at least slow the leak, Lut came out. He pulled the gutter pipe out of the pipe that leads out of the well. I was initially alarmed -- then I realized that the gutter wasn't putting out nearly the volume of water into the pit that the sky was. Lut stuffed the handle of the broom into the pipe, but we don't even know where that pipe come out. At least forty feet away, somewhere by the stream behind our house, I've guessed. I wandered off in search of the outlet, to see if I could determine if it was blocked.

By the time I gave up and came back, the well had drained out into the pipe. Either the gutter pipe had blocked it, or Lut's broom handle had cleared the blockage, or it had cleared on its own. Whatever the case, we were profoundly grateful. That fifteen minutes of water coming in under the door got us more flooding than the previous hours of water seeping in through the walls.

Eventually, we moved the futon and pulled up most of the rest of the carpet in the futon room. It's still very wet, but I think the carpet will escape the state of thorough saturation it suffered last time. Which means that, I hope, it won't take multiple vaccuumings and weeks to dry out.

Lut wanted me to call in "flood", but I went to work anyway. I'm tired, but otherwise doing all right. Probably better than poor Lut is. :(

On the one hand, I feel bad that I didn't do anything to avert this second flood.

On the other, I'm profoundly grateful I didn't opt for either of the plans that I'd gotten quotes on -- because none of them would have averted this flood. In fact, I think the whole approach they wanted to use -- drainage tiles inside the footing -- won't work. The water's coming through the wall, not up from the floor.

The closest thing to a positive on any of this: there's no signs of water coming in from the wall of the bathroom. This is good because the bathroom would have to be completely ripped out if it needed drainage tiles installed. Assuming that approach would even work on this problem. I may have to find someone who'll do an exterior drain, given the type of problem that I have. I'll talk to KC Waterproofing and my inspector again, see what they have to say.



I'm hoping (crossing my fingers and hoping) that I finally know the extent of the problem. And that I can get it fixed now.

Tags: life
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