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Why does my basement keep flooding?

If your basement keeps flooding, it can be incredibly frustrating (not to mention expensive) to deal with moving forward. Getting to the bottom of why your basement floods is an important step in fixing the issue. Understanding the top causes of basement floods will help you to diagnose what is going on in your own home:

Yard Grade Problems

Homes that reside on lots with a steep grade are often more prone to flooding because no matter how the yard is graded, water will inevitably run past the house when it it falls and hits the ground. This puts homes right in the path of oncoming water, which means that older homes or homes with cracked or improperly poured foundations are likely to flood as a result.

Grading should be used to help move water away from a home's foundation regardless of a home's location or a lot's pitch. The home should be located at the highest point of the lot, and most homes are! However, the settling of soil and land erosion over time can cause grading to change and water to pool near the home. This is dangerous because water can enter the home or overflow a basement sump pump.

Pipe Issues

A leaking or burst pipe is the fastest way to end up with a flooded basement. When you have a pipe burst, you often know right away that there is an issue because your water pressure will be low or non-existent and you can see and hear the water. When you have a leaking pipe, however, the clues are often more subtle. For more information on how to find a leaking pipe in your basement, please visit Discovering Hidden Leaks.

The pipes that bring water to and from your home do an important job, but they can't do that job if they're blocked or obstructed. Pipes with sediment or waste blockages suffer from water flow restriction, which can cause a backup into your home. If the water goes down slowly when you run in it in sinks, showers, tubs or when flushing the toilet, you may have flow issues within your home plumbing. This can cause flooding in bathrooms, kitchens and even basements. In fact, if the problem is bad enough, it can even cause a sump pump backup or overflow. An emergency plumber can help figure out if you have an issue deep within the pipes of your home. They will use specialized techniques to locate and diagnose plumbing problems in your home. 

Sump Pump Failure

Sump pumps pump the water out of your basement when working properly. However, if your sump pump fails, the water that should have been pumped out can be allowed to enter your basement and pool without any way to leave. You should check your sump pump regularly and test it by dumping a small bucket's worth of water in to ensure that it will be pumped out properly. This will help you to identify any issues before they spill over and require a full basement flood restoration.

Some homeowners have basements that are naturally higher in moisture content and may find that their sump pumps are typically filled with water. If this describes your basement, you need to be even more vigilant when it comes to your sump pump because it's working harder than usual, which can wear it out faster. 

City Sewer Backups

Depending on your city's infrastructure and building code requirements, there may be measures in place to prevent a sewer backup. However, if these are not in place, or if they fail, water and sewage can backup into your home causing a flooded basement. If this happens, it is a very serious matter that needs to be addressed by a professional emergency plumber to avoid exposing your family to black water. You should never touch or handle this water and debris yourself. You should, however, make sure that it is cleaned up thoroughly and that any mold or fungal remediation is handled properly. Afterwards you should also file a complaint with the city to report the incident to prevent it from occurring again in the future. 


If your basement has flooded, these helpful resources will help you stay informed and understand what to expect moving forward as a homeowner:
Sump pump that won't stop running
Basement flooding with a sump pump
Fixing home water damage to prevent mold

Call USA Plumbing & Sewer Inc at 1 (800) 674-9130 when your basement floods. Our 24 hours a day on-call local emergency plumbers and flood restoration experts will pump out the water, dry the whole area and restore it like new.

Additional resources:
Flooding after rain
Can a basement flood with a sump pump?
Finding leaking water