How to Stop Basement Flooding

Deborah Beams
Deborah Beams
Research Writer
Deborah is an incredibly talented journalist who's been working for numerous online magazines for over 8 years now. She's also our main research writer who can turn any bori read more
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Charles Eggleston
Charles Eggleston
Expert Consultant
Charles's been a plumber his entire life. Thanks to his vast experience we can always rely on Charles' expert opinion when creating any of our articles. He's also a fantasti read more
Last updated: August 10, 2023
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For many homeowners, the basement Trusted Source Basement - Wikipedia basement or cellar is one or more floors of a building that are completely or partly below the ground floor. It generally is used as a utility space for a building, where such items as the boiler, water heater, breaker panel or fuse box, car park, and air-conditioning system are located; serves as one of the more important spots in the home. Many people’s homes have finished basements where people have fun, ranging from playing games to watching movies and other forms of relaxation. For others, basements are playgrounds for their children.

With all of these in mind, it certainly sucks if the basements somehow get flooded. It is an uncomfortable feeling. It can also pose a health and safety hazard. That is why it is essential to know how to stop basement flooding. In this post, we consider the things that can help you in preventing flooding from happening.

When the basement floods, you have to clean up the water and deal with any water damage to your property. It can also lead to other problems like mold outbreaks and might even compromise your home’s structural integrity. Let’s see the things that cause basement flooding and consider the tips that can help you to prevent it.

Causes of basement flooding

How to Stop Basement Flooding

The first step to getting rid of flooding in your basement is to identify the things that cause the flooding in the first place. When you know what causes the flooding, you will be better equipped to handle and prevent such things from happening.

With that in mind, we have provided a discussion of some of the biggest causes of basement flooding today in dry and wet weather.

In dry weather

Most flooding happens in wet weather; however, sometimes, you might experience flooding in dry weather. What might be responsible for this? Let’s see.

Blocked or failed sanitary lateral

There are several parts of your typical sanitary system around the home, and the sanitary sewer lateral is one of these. This is similar to the shingle on the roof. And like the shingles, it is prone to degradation as time passes. When it degrades, many things can happen. For instance, the gradual deterioration due to the penetration of roots might cause clogging of the lateral. And when that happens, you will suffer from sewage backup.

In such a situation, the water has nowhere to go and might flood the basement. With the clogged lateral, domestic wastewater will look for somewhere to go, and since the basement is often the lowest point around, that is where the water will go.

Therefore, your lateral must be frequently maintained to prevent problems like that.

Apart from the roots of a tree and similar stuff, another thing that might cause a blockage is the things you flush down the toilet. If you flush something different from human waste, you should be prepared for clogging and basement flooding. Some modern toilets offer a good solution and are less susceptible to this problem of blockage.

Foundation drainage failure

Another thing that can cause flooding even in dry weather is foundation drainage failure. In many homes, subdivisions are built-in lower points that often get more water than others. If the basement falls into this category, then the drainage system must always keep groundwater level below the basement floor.

Now, while your home might have this system set up, time fights all, and degradation might occur. When this happens, the floor around the foundation will stop draining via gravity.

To solve this problem, sump holes are made to install a sump pump. We will consider this solution later in this article.

Water supply-line break

Another reason why the basement floods in dry weather is a leak in the home’s internal water supply. As with most equipment, this might occur because of age or puncture.

In wet weather

This is more familiar territory for most people. Flooding in wet weather is pretty common across the country. The rain, melting snow, and other liquid flow puts plenty of work on drainage systems in and around the home. It even affects the sewers below ground. When all of these are combined, it is no wonder that a basement might experience flooding.

Surface inflow

When rain is heavy or snow melts pretty quickly, surface water might find its way around the house and find ways to the basement. In such weather, you might suffer this flooding. One way that you can stop this from happening is to grade the property correctly. With this in place, there is a lower risk of flooding the basement.

Foundation drainage failure

Most homes have a drainage system. The system moves water away from depressions on the property and lower sections like the basement. With a good system in place, water is prevented from entering the house.

However, water might enter due to some factors related to the foundation drainage failure.


This is one thing that might cause flooding. When the water table rises, cracks, holes, and other flow paths might allow water to enter the basement. It is a common occurrence in older homes as the materials of build start to degrade over time. No matter how good your drainage system is, you will face flooding problems if the water can seep via the foundation floor and cracks. It will usually occur in wet weather.

Sump pump failure

How to Stop Basement Flooding

A preventive measure is having a sump pump. However, if the pump fails, then you would be faced with problems. With a pump failure, your foundation drainage system will be under more stress than usual and will do plenty of work to keep up with the water.

Weeping tile failure

Yet another issue associated with the foundation drainage failure is a degradation of the system itself. And when this occurs, the weeping tile system can be disrupted as well. The groundwater level might then become higher and spill into your basement.

Apart from what we have considered, some other things also cause flooded basements in many homes today. Let’s consider the rest below.

Leaky basement windows, foundation, or walls

If your basement has windows, then you might have an issue with flooding. If the window wells fill with water, probably because of heavy rainfall or clogged drainage, then the water might leak into your basement via the windows.

Plumbing leaks

Another common issue is leaking in your plumbing. This problem could arise due to a burst pipe, or broken supply hose, or other leaks with the plumbing. If not put in check, this can cause some serious flooding in the basement.

Sprinkler systems leaks

Just like plumbing leaks can cause flooding in the basement, the sprinkler systems leak can cause flooding in your basement.

Clogged foundation drains or cracks

The foundation serves as the last line of defense from basement flooding. However, if the foundation is clogged or has cracks, then that will cause a problem. If the foundation has cracks or is clogged, then you might never be able to free yourself from flooding in the basement. This is a major problem, and many of the homeowners who have recurring basement floods have discovered that these cracked foundations are a big reason for the persistent flooding. Therefore, homeowners must check out the foundation to see if there are cracks. If there are, then these should be sealed as quickly as possible before it causes flooding. Another solution is to waterproof the basement.

Yard grading

Another thing that could cause flooding in the basement that many homeowners frequently overlook is yard grading. The grading of your home and yard is very important. To prevent flooding, the ground must be graded so that it slopes away from the house. With this in place, the water will drain far away from the house as possible. On the other hand, if the home design has the yard sloping towards the house, the water that flows will go towards the lowest parts of the house, thus significantly increasing the chances of flooding.

Poor gutters

Gutters are vital for preventing the problem of flooding in your basement. Gutters are essential because they carry water away from the home – especially rainwater. When these are built well, then you will likely have no problem with the basement flooding. However, if there is a problem with the gutters, perhaps they are poorly constructed or are clogged, then you will have water in your basement very frequently.

Safety tips before dealing with a flooded basement

If your basement floods, regardless of what you have down there, you need to remain safe. We realize that, which is why we have provided tips to help you stay safe despite the flood.

Don’t wade through the water

When flooding occurs, one safety tip is to avoid wading through the water. Yes, you might have certain things down there that you want to salvage, and you might be able to reach these only by wading through the water. However, you really shouldn’t. While the flood might have cut off your power, you can still be electrocuted if someone has a generator nearby, or as might happen, the power comes back.

If the basement is flooded, one of the first things you must do before you go down is to disconnect the electric meter. Also, refrain from going in the water if it is in contact with electrical appliances.

Remove the water

Once you are 100% sure that there is no chance of electrocution, it is time to seek ways to remove the basement’s water. As long as the water isn’t still entering, the water might start receding on its own. However, you can make this happen quicker by using a pump to get the water out.

When pumping the water out, though, ensure that you are pumping it away from the house so that it doesn’t just come back. While pumping or in contact with the water, ensure that you are wearing gloves or other protective clothing that will keep any chemicals or contaminants in the water away from your skin.

Throw away contaminated items

If the water has damaged some electric appliances, then you should throw these away. Do not try to manage using them because even if it somehow works, the chances of getting electrocuted are pretty high.

Apart from the electrical items, you should also look to throw out other items that have contact with the water, especially if the water is wastewater.

Clean the basement

After you have gotten rid of the water in the basement, it is necessary that you thoroughly clean the basement. Disinfect the entire basement. You can do this with a solution of chlorine bleach.

How to prevent basement flooding in future

With all the tips we have considered and the reasons for flooded basements that we have seen, how can you prevent a reoccurrence of basement flooding? In this section, we provide you with tips that will assist you in preventing flooding.

Install a sump pump

You will need to invest some money into preventing a flooded basement. One of the best ways that can help is installing a sump pump.

Installing an automatic sump pump in the basement will ensure no water buildup from melted snow or heavy rainfall.

If you didn’t know, sump pumps are like a huge floor drain that sucks water out of the basement or the foundation. It is connected to a drainage system, and it redirects the sucked water to these places.

For the best results, you might need to install more than one sump pump. The backup sump pump will come in handy if the first one is overwhelmed or stops working for any reason.
Reviews have the Superior Pump 92330 as one of the most effective sump pumps on the market today.

Use a foundation drainage system

You can also prevent flooding in the basement by installing a foundation drainage system.

Your house might be connected to a municipal drainage system that might experience back up and blockage. Therefore, it is recommended that you have your foundation drainage system to limit the effect this might have on your home.

Get waterproof solutions for your basement walls and windows

The basement walls and windows are some of the spots that might be susceptible to water entry. That is why you must waterproof these spots. Several waterproof solutions like plastering and others will assist you in keeping the water from entering through these spots.

The Liquid Rubber Foundation serves as a sealant and has been recommended as an excellent way of preventing flooding in basements.

Protect your toilet and plumbing

You need to ensure that your toilet and plumbing are protected. Many are surprised by the simple things that can be done to protect the plumbing system of a home.

Toilet training is very important to prevent clogging of the sewer line, and it is something that should be taught to all members of the house. To that end, ensure that the only things that go into the toilet are human waste and biodegradable toilet paper.

Some of the things that should never go into the toilet include:

  • Wipes
  • Facial tissue
  • Toys
  • Dental floss
  • Trash
  • Paper Towels
  • Diapers

If these items are flushed, they can block the lines. That is one reason why macerating toilets are so great because they don’t lead directly with the sewage system. So you don’t worry too much about the blockage.

It would be best if you also protect your plumbing. The drain of the kitchen should be protected from specific wastes. Fat, oil, and grease pose a problem to pluming as they stick to pipes’ insides and harden over time. In time, they can cause blocks and backups that can result in flooding of your basement.

Introduce landscape solutions to your lawn and yard

Your yard and overall landscape design should be such that it minimizes the chance of flooding in the basement. When grading the yard, ensure that it slopes down into gutters and drainage. If it slopes towards the house, rainfall or melted snow can cause runoff, and the water can find a way into the basement.

Part of the landscape solution is updating your gutter system. If you have gutters, ensure that these are cleared. Many underestimate the damage that blocked drains can do. When the gutter overflows, water will start trickling to other places, and this might include the basement of your house.

Apart from the gutter solution, it would help if you also thought of installing downspout extensions. With these in place, the rainwater will travel far from your home.

Final thoughts

In all, your best defense is prevention. There are so many factors that can cause flooding in your basement. Therefore, you should check out all these to identify what is causing the flooding in your basement. Check out the grade of the yard and ensure that it is sloped away from your home. You should also check out the gutters and ensure that these are clear. Foundational cracks might also cause the seeping of water into the basement. Thus, you should also check that out.

We have considered some handy tips that can stop flooding in the basement. We hope that all these tips will guide you on how to stop basement flooding. If you are not sure what is causing the problem, you could always call on a plumber’s services.


Basement - Wikipedia
basement or cellar is one or more floors of a building that are completely or partly below the ground floor. It generally is used as a utility space for a building, where such items as the boiler, water heater, breaker panel or fuse box, car park, and air-conditioning system are located;
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