Monday, March 7, 2011

water in the basement

After this weekend's rain and thaw the basement is starting to get water in it. I'm sure this is normal for the house, as the basement is always a little damp, but the water is pooling in just one section, near the holding tank and furnace. The boiler is a good six-inches above the half inch of water seeping in. But the furnace is just an inch or so above it. Can this water hurt it?

I'll call my furnace guys tomorrow to ask, I need to call them about the rattling vent anyway—but does anyone know ways to keep water out of a dirt and stone basement? Do you shovel all snow away from the walls of the house? Do you buy some water-be-gone powder from Lowe's?

Advice?

24 Comments:

Blogger Stephanie said...

Probably can't keep it all out, no matter what anyone says. If it's really bad, you can have a pit dug and a sump pump put in. Then you can dig channels, usually around the perimeter of the basement, to guide the water to the pit. The water will still come in, but this way it will not stay.

March 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger farmgirljen said...

Make sure you have gutters on the house and that the downspouts carry the water away from the house. If that is okay, what we did with our old farmhouse is to make sure that the dirt around the house foundation slopes away from the house. We brought in some loader tractor scoops of dirt last spring, and that helped our water problem. Hope this helps some.
Hope Gibson is doing better after he ER visit. Been thinking good thoughts for and about him.

March 7, 2011 at 7:42 PM  
Blogger GrittyPretty said...

can you change the slope near the house? so that there's a depression to collect water AWAY from the house? my land is so flat that even just ten shovels full of dirt could change the direction the water runs...good luck!!! wish i could really help!!

March 7, 2011 at 7:43 PM  
Blogger farmgirljen said...

My husband said that, sometime in the future when finances are not such an issue, you might consider getting some drainage tile installed around the outside perimeter of the house at the base of the foundation, then backfill the trench with sand or gravel to keep the water going to the tile and not down the foundation. I imagine if you contact some folks who do that for a living, they'd be able to best guide what to do in your area.

March 7, 2011 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Looks like you might need to invest in a good sump pump. Pretty quick.

March 7, 2011 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I just shop-vacced out about twenty gallons! the water is actually coming out of the dirt floor...not the walls like I thought. I filled in the hole with chick grit and put a big rock over it hoping that slows it down. I think before work and after work I'll just have to vac away....


thank you zach for your advice!

March 7, 2011 at 8:32 PM  
OpenID Pauline said...

I agree with two of the other suggestions made: sump pump and aiming the downspouts away from the house. If the water is coming up through the dirt floor, that is because the water table is rising with the spring thaw; keeping it out will be virtually impossible, but a sump pump will confine it to a small area, i.e. the "sump" (nothing fancier than a plastic garbage can with holes drilled in it sunk into a hole you dig in the lowest part of the cellar). The pump is submersed in that, and then the pump will be triggered to run for a few seconds every time the sump is full and will direct the water outside and away from the house. Not attractive, not high-tech, but it works well.
Good luck, Jen!

Pauline in Ithaca

March 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM  
Blogger Mud Mama said...

Be thankful its a still a good old dirt floor. It'll drain clean.

Like others have said get a sump pump and hose to drain it outside the house. For us the pump was 80.00 and the hose 100.00.

March 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

See if you can put down some wood or old towels to act like a dam and keep the water away from the furnace. If you have cat litter, put that around the area for absorption. Sump pump is a good idea and easy to install.

March 7, 2011 at 8:59 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Hydraulic cement is what you need to seal the holes You can apply it even when surface is wet. Also, from personal experience...make sure the soil is graded correctly-high near your home and lower away from the house.

March 7, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Hydraulic cement is what you need to seal the holes You can apply it even when surface is wet. Also, from personal experience...make sure the soil is graded correctly-high near your home and lower away from the house.

March 7, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger georgie said...

Hydraulic cement is what you need to seal the holes You can apply it even when surface is wet. Also, from personal experience...make sure the soil is graded correctly-high near your home and lower away from the house.

March 7, 2011 at 9:01 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

I agree with the sump pump and having things drain to a deeper hole and pumping it out. Also agree with making sure your soil grade is away from the home in all directions. I am in the same boat and just got the estimate for surface drains and redoing french drains. Staggering.

March 7, 2011 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I have the same problem in the spring time to, but not as bad as you. Extend the downspouts away from the house foundation by a few feet. Plus, a sump pump will work to. Another thing, every spring and fall clean out the gutters.

March 7, 2011 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger jim said...

all good ideas but Paulene is absolutely correct- we controlled the water in our basement [dirt] with two sump pumps-one on each end in the puddle area- can pump out any outside access that you can get the hose out= these pumps are made for this and will pump a lot of water- good investment. Make sure you keep all electrical cords up away from water. luck

March 7, 2011 at 9:56 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

No insurance for water damage from ground water and I doubt that you have NFIP flood insurance. So, you need a sump with a pump.

March 7, 2011 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger CJ said...

Agree with the sump pump and the bucket idea. Make sure you get a pump that has a float switch on it - some you have to manually turn on and off.

I would get it and test it before you need it. Put it in a bucket of water in the cellar and make sure it can pump to where you want the water to go.

Make sure you get enough hose (any hose will work as long as its the correct diameter for the pump) so that the output is far enough away from the house so it doesn't just cycle back into the house - 20 feet from the outside of the foundation should do it.

If you have cellar windows you can stick the hose out the window for now or if there are small panes of glass remove one replace it with plywood with a hole cut for the hose. Seal it with spray foam insulation.

When there is time I would set it up so you can disconnect the hose both the inside and outside of the house. If the outside portion freezes you can bring it in to thaw and remove it totally in the summer.

If your cellar is always damp, a moisture barrier on the cellar ceiling might be a good idea.

March 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Hi Jenna- Have you ever seen the show Holmes on Home on HGTV? On one of them they put in a new rubber barrier on the outside of the basement- It required digging a trench around the basement so that someone could get down there to install the barrier, which went under the bottom course of siding, and then was basically glued to the exterior of the basement wall.

When they refilled the trench, they put in a French drain (named after a guy named French, not the French), which collected water and drained it away from the house. You could probably help your place a lot if you install a French drain. It's a hole, or in your case, a trench, into which you pour a good porous rock, like limestone or granite (3/4-1" size)- whatever's cheap but clean, then you lay Agriflow, which is a perforated four inch pipe, then some more rock. Then you lay a fine fabric, like a good quality weed stop over the rock (which filters the water and keeps your Agriflow clear) and then more rock and then soil again, preferable something that drains quickly. When I lived in Florida, I put in a French drain along the back of the house because the yard was higher than the house. It made a huge difference in the puddling, even with the sandy soil we have. I should probably put one in at this place, but the soil is clay and I'm not looking forward to heavy digging.

Anyway, that should help...just remember that the Agriflow needs to always be descending from the high spot to the low spot, it it should have somewhere away from the house to go.

It seems like you can't catch a break! I hope you can fix this one easy. Good luck!

March 7, 2011 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

The joys of learning your house's idiosyncracies!! When sump pumps work they work beaitifully - the key area to warch closely is the float and the automatic on off switch - they tend to go first. And, of course, getting a long enough hose to get that exiting water away from the house.

March 8, 2011 at 12:37 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

If it's coming up from the dirt floor a sump pump is the way to go, although you still need to check your downspouts so it doesnt add to the situation. If you have downspouts I would incorporate water barrels to collect the water and then you could use it later in the spring and summer. The water barrels would also decrease the amount of water pooling around certain areas of your house too.

March 8, 2011 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sounds to me Jenna like there is an underground spring coming up thru the floor. With all the rain and snow melting the water table is probably up and then you find these little springs. We have that happen in our yard and there is even one that has pushed up thru the blacktop on the road in front of our house. We had to put a cement floor and a wall about 3 feet high around our basement to stop them. I would also be concerned with your furnace rusting, among other things down there.

March 8, 2011 at 9:50 AM  
Blogger Jo.King said...

Our water table is high, and from now until next winter our basement will have a trickle running through it. Sometimes it's small, sometimes it's big. Our sump pump gets quite a workout. We also have a battery back-up for the sump pump, which was installed after a heavy storm and power outage. Other things to be aware of: make sure to bring in the pump line before it freezes. We did not. It was funny, but only after the fact. And also, I highly suggest burying the line if at all possible. Someone ran over our hose with the lawn mower a few times - and I swear it wasn't me!

Even though it's always damp down there,our furnace and water heater and everything else we have in the basement are totally fine. We just make sure nothing's directly on the ground. You do want to watch for mold growth, though.

March 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM  
Blogger kate said...

Jenna,

Professional work on basements/cellars is very expensive. I want to suggest you have a few winters in your house and take the time to learn and evaluate before you spend a lot of money.

I have owned a 1920's built house in upstate NY for twenty years, and this past week is the worst I have seen basement water -- though not nearly as bad as you describe. But all the other 19 years, with a lot of snow some years, I only had wet floors, especially where the seams are in the cement floor.

Just want to say that maybe it can wait while you learn, and it sounds like you have a lot of other projects you want to do.

Also, cellar floors usually have a tilt to one corner, a slight slope, and there is a drain at the lowest spot. You might want to see if your drain is blocked.

My drain is about 8 feet from the furnace, two feet from the water shut off valve, in the part of the cellar that faces the front of the house. You can probably see a slope in the floor, and see where it goes. Mine has a piece of wood over it. I would never have thought about it, but my plumber pointed it out one day.

Kate

March 8, 2011 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Pat Woginrich said...

Please move back home!

March 8, 2011 at 4:11 PM  

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