A damp basement can cause more problems than just a nuisance. It is important to dry it quickly so that no other parts of your home are affected.
How water enters a basement
Nearly every basement is below grade. There are many ways that water or moisture can enter a basement. According to water damage restoration professionals, water will always flow from “wet” to “dry,” if it can. Here are some ways that water can “flow into” a basement.
Floor Cracks – water causes hydrostatic pressure when it builds up underneath concrete floors. Hydrostatic pressure refers to the pressure exerted on a fluid (in this instance water) when it is at rest relative to other bodies. It is much easier for water to rise through small cracks in concrete floors than to go down into the ground.
Window wells: The purpose of windowwells is to keep soil from reaching basement windows. To move water from the basement to any window well, it should have a drainage tube installed. The water will cause hydrostatic pressure to again force its way around window edges, allowing it to flow into the basement.
Wall Cracks – wall cracks result from the expansion and contraction in the earth surrounding the basement. Moisture, freezing and thawing causes soil movement. Cracks in basement walls can develop as the ground moves around it. Water will push through cracks and enter the basement if there is one. Water will always follow the least resistance. In this instance, it will go through a crack and not through compacted soil.
Floor Drains – A clog can be caused by trees roots, grease, or solid objects, such as toys that are flushed down the toilet. The drain system will not have any place for water to flow and it will instead back up and flow out from the lowest drain. This can be located on the floor or at the sink or toilet. Some drain clogs can be caused by debris or objects. Sometimes, a drain line may be broken or deteriorated by age.
Sump pumps: This is a huge deal! Sump pumps are used to drain any water that has collected from the basement’s drainage system. Rainwater will eventually seep through the ground to reach the basement’s footers. The rainwater is collected by the footer drains, and then fed into the basement’s sump pump-equipped pit. The sump pump pumps the water away from the basement when the water has reached a certain depth. The sump pump will fail during or shortly after a storm, and water will quickly flood the basement. The water can quickly build up to several inches in depth throughout the basement.
Drying a Basement
Before you can dry out a basement properly, it is important to determine the source of the water and correct that problem. It is similar to trying to stop water from entering a basement by closing the window. While you may be able to get some water out, more will still flow in.
Once you have stopped water from flowing, it is time to remove as much water as you can. You can do this by using pumps, vacuums, or other extraction devices. It is 500x easier to physically remove water than to evaporate it.
Once you have extracted as much water as possible it is time to use evaporation. Use commercial-grade dehumidifiers or fans (high-capacity movers) to do this. To allow the equipment to work, it is important that all basement windows and doors are kept closed. It is impossible to complete the evaporation stage in a matter of hours. Anyone who claims otherwise is making untrue promises. This process usually takes between 48 and 72 hours. Only rapid air movement and temperature control can achieve proper evaporation.
It’s not the end of the world if you have a wet basement
The number one natural disaster in America is flooding. If you discover water in your basement, don’t panic. Panic can lead to more misery, and even bodily injury. If the electricity is on, do not enter a flooded basement. There are dangers from electric shock and the possibility of slip-and-fall accidents.
Once you’ve determined it safe to enter, you can save your personal belongings by moving them to a dry location. You don’t have to take furniture out. Simply block it with water. The furniture can be dried once the basement reaches the evaporation stage.