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Question DetailsAsked on 2/25/2018

Water is coming up from the floor in my garage and basement. Help!

Our house is only 14 years old. Somehow, the water is coming up from the concrete floor into the garage and now into the basement. Who do I call for this? We live in Dawsonville, GA 30534

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2 Answers


For immediate remediation of the water itself - Water and Smoke Damage is the Search the List category to find a well-rated and reviewed contractor to pump the water out, dry out the affected areas, control lmildew/mold, tear out the damaged materials, and commonly also do the remediation construction. Many homeowner's insurance companies have regular working relationships with certain smoke and water damage contractors and can also give you recommendations, as well as perhaps a heads-up of any they specifically have had problems with in the past.

And of course, if the water is up to an outside door but not flowing out the door or is rising against it, leaving the door a bit ajar or removing the sill strip will at least keep the water from rising above that level, assuming the ground nd surfce water level is below the elevation of the door sill.

First, listen at the floor - with ear to floor, or using a piece of plastic pipe or cardboard tube as a stethoscope - if you hear water "gushing" or "whistling" or such, almost certainly a broken pipe and aqlmost certainly waer pipe, not sewer unless a very minor gurgling or running water sound. If no discernable water noise, then could be either (a small leak) that or outside water coming in - but if a fresh water pipe under the slab you can pretty much always hear that with a stethoscope (medical or homemade).

Turning off your incoming water shutoff valve would quickly (within a minute or less as the pressure drops off) tell you if it is a fresh water pipe causing it (assuming the leak is on the house side of the shutoff valve) - and a sewer line would generally stop flowing within a minute or two at the most after last water use in the house unless it is either well backed up from higher up in the house or is picking up water from higher elevation outside - like backflow from a flooded leach field or street sewer or such. And of course to be coming from a sewer pipe would require that the pipe be backing up downstream AND have inflow to it AND be leaking udner the garage (or be a non-watertight type like clay tile).

Generally not tough at all (from the smell and color) to tell if coming from a fresh water pipe or sewer pipe. Groundwater can be discolored or clean, have no smell or a musty or swampy smell (or occasionally other smells), and may or may not be carrying soil particles onto the slab with it.


If no gushing sound, look around the outside of the house for water backing up along the foundation, or the edge of the slab if you have a slab-on-grade house. Could be from direct rainfall, snowmelt, rainfall being blocked by snow berms, surface water running to the house because of high rainfall or because its normal path is blocked by snow or ice, broken water pipe, freeze-broken outdoor faucet or in-wall pipe. Could be roof runoff due to very heavy rains, or from frozen or blocked gutter causing the roof water to concentrate at one place.

Or can be groundwater - new breakthrough of a spring or such, or possibly groundwater (including shallow groundwater pressuring up from surface runoff further uphill connecting with it) which is making it to your house now because the ground surface is frozen but the surface water can access the groundwater somewhere uphill - so the frozen ground is acting as a waterproof cap or :"confining the groundwter" until the water gets to the thaw bulb under your house. This can also happen with weet frozen ground (so becomes impermeable) which then pressures up from below as nearby ditch or creek/river or lake levels rise. Same thing can happen along buried utility line ditches - groundwater flowing through the thawed gravel fill in the ditch or below frost depth, or even through conduits holding wires - have seen that several times, with water pouring out of the conduit into the house wall. Rarely from roof or pipe leak coming down through attic or walls to the garage slab - though should be pretty obvious if dripping from above. Leaking or previously frozen and split but now thawed pipe in wall or under slab can be tougher to trace down, but stethoscope/listening at the surfaces will get you real close quickly.

Or of course can be directly due to high surface water levels - overflowing ditch or creek or such, more yard water from precipitation/snowmelt than the yard can drain off, water coming from a neighbor's property due to pumping out of flooding or diversion (intentional or from erosion or blockages of natural drainage).

Basically, unless the outside water level is above the water level in the garage at the point where it is coming in, then has to be from confined groundwater popping up in the thawed zone under the garage or from a leaking pipe or conduit..

Good Luck

Here are a bunch of previous similar questions with answers which might help:

Answered 2 years ago by LCD


Obviously, if you have not had recent heavy rain/snowmelt, some of the causes I mentioned would be out of consideration. And frozen ground confining groundwater probably unlikely in your area - frost depth generally has to be a foot or more deep for that to happen.

Couple of possible causes - failed sump pump (or it is being overwhelmed so running continuously but cannot keep up), or if you have a french drain around the house that might be clogged or frozen (usually freezes first at the outlet).

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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