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Question DetailsAsked on 1/4/2016

Basement flooded. How can we determine where water is coming from?

We recently discovered our basement floor had partially flooded - the rugs were saturated but the water was mostly gone by the time we discovered it. We couldn't tell where the water came from but it was clean water so we thought the toilet had run and overflowed (although it wasn't running when we discovered the problem). Before leaving we turned the water off to the toilet. We discovered the same problem again today but know it was not from the toilet because it was turned off. On both occasions there had been a lot of rain in the days preceding but we could not see any indication of where it came from. Could this perfectly clean water come in from outside? Any suggestions on how we could determine what's happening? We've had this house for 8 years and have only encountered this in the last couple of months.

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2 Answers


Sub soil water is generally clear. It was filtered thru your ? block wall or the cold joint where the floor touches the wall. If it is a leaky basement I suggest you call out some of either AL or BBB A rated contractors to give you some choices. You might first look to the outside for downspout or gutter or landscaping solutions. They are much less expensive then breaking out concrete floor and installing a subfloor drainage system. If that is necessary I liked the Thrasher top cove system & put it in my own home.

Jim Casper old waterproofing guru in the 70's

ps see my website for ideas on gutters and covers

Source: www.heartlandmastershield,com

Answered 4 years ago by jccasper


If there was no smell from the water, unlikely to be backup through floor drains from high sewer levels handling rain runoff.

Obviously, if toilet tank is holding water, feed tubing to it is not leaking, and toilet flushes properly, not from there. BTW - the toilet "running" would not cause flooding unless the toilet overflowed because of a near total blockage, or the sewers backing up.

Most common causes for new flooding like this - blocked gutters, or downspout dumping water along the foundation, or recent landscaping changes resulting in low spots along the foundation trapping water.

Also - failed sump pump (or blocked outlet pipe), and blocked drain at outside landing of below-grade door - or surface water coming in storm cellar door or over lip of concrete stairs leading up from a below-grade doorway into the basement.

Look around the ceiling and walls for staining indicative of water infiltration. Ditto around windows and doors.

Could be from a new foundation crack - or perhaps unusually heavy rains, or diversion by a neighbor of drainage so it is coming to your house, has changed the picture.

Sounds like you do not spend much time down there so are unlikely to see the actual inflow happening. After you dry out the rug, can you store it rolled for a bit (up on a few pieces of wood or pavers or on used pallets maybe) till you find the water source ? If not going to be around, take a bit of floor sweepings or garden lime and make a small line of it all around the room near the walls - then when the water comes it, it will wet and displace the line where it breaches it, showing the flowpath leading back to the source. Laying out a perimeter of absorbent yarn also will work, but you would have to check for wetness by hand rather than visually in that case.

Make a perimeter around the toilet too, on the bowl rim (so flooding from elsewhere does not wet it like it would if at floor level), to show if the toilet is overflowing a bit because of sewers backing up because of high water in the street sewers.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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