One of the worst problems leading to flooding is Mother Nature herself. We certainly don’t open the door and invite her in, but she seems to have a way of making her presence known whether we want a visit or not. Often times, her grand entrance into our homes comes through flooding caused by heavy rainfall, which leads to saturated soil and overflowing springs, creeks or rivers.
According to the FEMA website’s ‘Flood Facts’ page, in the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods and most homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage. You may want to check out more surprising facts at: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flood_facts.jsp
Putting nature aside, let’s take a look at the following, more common problems in regard to flooding.
- Full Septic Tank/Clogged Drain Pipes
- Debris Filled Rain Gutters
- Leaking Water Heaters
- Clogged Sink Drains
- Faulty Washing Machine Hose
1. Full Septic Tank/Clogged Drain Pipes
Just this past December, we had some flooding issues in our own basement and spent Christmas day trying to solve the problem. Water had backed up in the shower as well as the drain sink for the washing machine. All that water had nowhere to go. Our first thought was that our septic tank was full and needed to be emptied. We removed the lid and found it to be full, but not full enough to cause the flooding problem as the drain pipe entering the tank was not obstructed and was still above the level of sewage.
Next we turned our attention to the main drain pipe. We opened the clean-out and began to snake the drain. Soon we engaged a massive clog half way between our two clean-outs, but it was unmovable. The next step was the obvious one: Wait until the next day and call a plumber. When the plumber arrived he used his mechanical snake to remove the obstacle and solved the problem in about twenty minutes. Our homes can flood so easily if our septic tank is too full, not allowing for good drainage or if the drain pipe is clogged. Keep an eye out for signs that your water is draining to slowly. This will alert you to an impending problem.
2. Debris Filled Rain Gutters
Another common cause of flooding is clogged rain gutters, especially in those areas that receive large amounts of rainfall. The water can back up and overflow, causing the once diverted water to drain into the ground surrounding your foundation. If you have any leaks in your basement walls, then heavy rainfall, mixed with debris filled rain gutters is a flooding concern and you should have your concrete repaired and your gutters routinely cleaned.
3. Leaking Water Heater
The water heater can also turn into a problem and cause flooding and extensive damage to our flooring or basement. Leaks in a water heater, depending on the cause, can lead to major problems and ultimately complete failure of your tank. The water supply is endless as tanks are designed to continue to fill. That’s a great deal of water running through your house, especially if you’re not home to stop it. Any sign of leakage from your water heater should be inspected immediately.
4. Clogged Sink Drains
That partial clog in your sink drain can also be a problem, even if the clog is still allowing for a slow drain. Flooding can happen quickly if you have small children in your home, who excitedly run from the bathroom without turning off the tap or elderly members who just forget. The sink soon fills to the top with water and overflows onto the floor. A river soon forms, flowing from your bathroom into the rest of the house as well as leaking through the floor into the spaces below. If you notice your sink is draining slowly, remove the clog at once. It will save you a big headache down the road.
If you have a house that is prone to flooding, you may want to consider installing a sump pump, especially if the ground your house is built on has a high water table. Flooding within the walls of your home can be catastrophic and extremely damaging. Try to prevent it as much as possible through regular inspections and maintenance. However, if flooding does occur, use professionals for the clean-up to avoid long term problems such as mold, rot and odor problems. That is one decision you will never regret.
5. Faulty Washing Machine Hose
One of the great thing about the invention of the washing machine is that it allows you to kill two birds with one stone. Just load the machine, put in the soap, push the buttons or turn the dial and voila, your clothes are being washed, allowing you to turn your attention elsewhere. This time-saving device is a modern marvel and when first invented, women and men everywhere eagerly turned in their washboards for the convenience and ease of automation. Most of you love your washing machine, until they create a lake inside your home, causing a great deal of damage and frustration.
So what causes a washing machine to flood? The biggest problem starts with a leak from your intake hoses and if not repaired, can quickly burst and begin flooding your home. That’s one of the reasons that washing machine flooding is one of the top insurance claims filed by homeowners. So what can we do to prevent our machines from flooding? Switching out your rubber hoses for braided hoses that won’t burst is a great start, but not enough. Installing a washing machine valve shutoff kit is the best way to avoid flooding issues and are relatively simple to install by using slip-joint pliers. These valve shutoff kits are a life saver when it comes to your flooring or the contents of your basement. Part of the genius behind the valve shutoffs is the sensor that is mounted to the floor, which detects puddling of liquid and immediately shuts off the water valve. Of course, there can be other less common reasons for flooding, such as pump problems or the inner tub overflowing, but taking preventative measures with the hoses will keep you ahead of the game. Washing machines weren’t designed to be babysat, so replace your hoses, install your valve shutoff kit and get on with your day. Your ‘to-do’ list awaits.