Author Topic: Flooded Basement Thread  (Read 589 times)

Offline BrentS

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Flooded Basement Thread
« on: April 5, 2009, 08:39 PM »
Yep.   It happened to me this weekend.  Sump pump system failure leads to complete drenching in the carpet of our finished basement.  Its a long saga with this particular pump... about a year ago we decided that we should take a preventative change and replace our sump pump and back-up pumps.  They were the original model in our house (going on 14 years) and we get a ton of drainage on our corner lot.  We used a local plumbing company to put in the new pump and we started have problems right away.  The pump worked great, but the float switch was a very poor desgin for our particular sump pit and it kept getting blocked up and it would either fail to go on (starting up the backup) or lock in the on position (so the pump ran continuously).  After a month of back and forth with this clogging they finally installed a new float with a mesh screen that prevented the clogging.  The downside was that the battery back-up had been used a lot and so we had to get it inspected and the battery had to be cleaned up a bit (corrosion around the leads).  That took us through the end of last summer. 

Fast forward to this week.  I got home from being out of town for 5 days and noticed that my sump pump was running continuously again (Wednesday Night).  Because of the mesh screen and the way it was installed, there was no way to for me to "unclog" it.  So I called the plumber the next morning (Thursday) to fix it.  He cleaned the screen and it worked great.  The plumber said if it clogged again to call them and they'd replace it.I left for the rest of the day and got home late that night and again noticed that the pump was running continuously.  The problem was I was leaving town again on Friday before the plumbers would get there and no one would be home until my wife got back in town on Saturday night.  I found a neighbor that could let the plumber in and replace the float so that it wouldn't be running continuously.  So Friday afternoon, the float was replaced and all is well again.  Fast forward to Saturday night at 9:30pm when I get a frantic call from my wife that the basement is full of water.  The pump(s) had failed somehow.  She had water above her foot in a radius around 10ft from the sump pit.  All the carpet was soaking wet and would squish up water when you walked on it.  When she got to the pump she gave it a shake and it immediately started draining - the freakin' plunger had stuck in the "off" position!  Why didn't the battery back-up kick on?  Because the plumber had disconnected it and never told anyone.  Apparently, he told the neighbor that we'd "probably need a new back-up" and he'd leave us a message on our machine.  He didn't tell anyone that it wasn't working and it wasn't hooked up.  He also never left a message to this fact.  So basically, he left our house unprotected with a back-up pump.

So, here we are today.  All the standing water is long gone but the carpets are soaked.  We've got a crew drying it out and then we'll assess the damage from there.  I don't think I lost anything completely irreplaceable.  Luckily, in our unfinished space, we have a series of plastic storage racks that keep everything off the ground about 4".  So there were just a few boxes that got damaged.  One of them has some of my Star Wars toys in them, so we'll see what's left of those when I get back there.  I've gotten out of worrying about carded figures a while ago so I don't think I've lost anything super "valuable". 

So anyone else have basement flooding nightmares?  I didn't find a thread on this when I searched so I just started one.  If I missed that it existed, I'm sure an admin can link it up.
« Last Edit: April 5, 2009, 09:56 PM by BrentS »

Offline Rob

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #1 on: April 5, 2009, 09:41 PM »
Yikes, sorry to hear that...

Not a basement story but my neighbor one floor up and one unit over had a toilet over-flow on Thursday.  It apparently ran the entire day and their unit was completely flooded.  No one noticed until about 5:00 when the water started coming out into the hallways.  It also flooded my next door neighbor's unit.  I had a little bit of water coming into my bathroom from under the baseboards, but nothing major. 

It's got me thinking I need to call State Farm and double check my water damage coverage.

Offline I Am Sith

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #2 on: April 5, 2009, 11:54 PM »
Sorry to hear this Brent.  I know you've been through the ringer with this plumber over the pump and back-up.  Hopefully you'll get everything replaced quickly and it won't be too disruptive to the family.  Damn, I just remembered that you guys replaced the carpeting last year too...  Hopefully they still have that in stock or it looks like you'll be shopping again :(
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Offline Darth_Anton

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #3 on: April 6, 2009, 10:34 AM »
We don't have basements here in SoCal, but I really feel for you and would be furious with the plumber. This guy better take care of everything.
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Offline BrentS

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #4 on: April 6, 2009, 01:51 PM »
Thanks guys. 

Cleaning crews are in the basement now drying stuff out.   

The carpet and pad is all gone now.  The restoration guys will be setting up the dehumidifiers soon and we'll see in 3 days if there is any permenant drywall damage.

My wife and I have done our first assessment and we don't think we've lost anything that is replaceable as of yet. In our unfinished space, we were diligient enough to have almost everything stored on plastic storage racks that put about 4 inches of clearance.  None of those pieces got wet at all.  I don't think I've lost any of my Star Wars or Lord of the Rings toys  ;D.    The kids play-room in the finished area still has some things to sort out.

We've got no idea if the electronics work or not.  I've got a 51" rear projection TV and an iMac down in their and I haven't been brave enough to plug them in to see if they work yet.
« Last Edit: April 6, 2009, 01:51 PM by BrentS »

Offline Rob

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #5 on: April 6, 2009, 05:20 PM »
I've got a 51" rear projection TV and an iMac down in their and I haven't been brave enough to plug them in to see if they work yet.

If they were turned on when the water hit them they're probably destroyed, but if they weren't, you should let them dry 100% before trying to turn them on.  They MIGHT be okay.  I have no idea how long that sort of thing takes to dry, but I'd wait as long as you can.

Offline BrentS

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #6 on: April 6, 2009, 05:48 PM »
I've got a 51" rear projection TV and an iMac down in their and I haven't been brave enough to plug them in to see if they work yet.

If they were turned on when the water hit them they're probably destroyed, but if they weren't, you should let them dry 100% before trying to turn them on.  They MIGHT be okay.  I have no idea how long that sort of thing takes to dry, but I'd wait as long as you can.

They were both off when the flooding occured.  The TV sits on the carpet so I'm more worried about that one.  The iMac was plugged into a powerstrip which sat on the floor.  I don't think any standing water got to the iMac's power strip.  I'm definitely just going to wait it out on those.

Offline BrentS

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2009, 09:37 AM »
Here's some pictures from the original damage.  The pictures don't actually make it look as bad as it was I think.



















We've got the restoration crew coming this morning to pick up the dryers.  I guess that's when we'll get an assessment of potential drywall damage.

Offline JesseVader08

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2009, 12:18 AM »
What a nightmare.  You seem to be taking all of this a lot better than I think I would, so kudos to you for keeping a level head.  I hope the insurance company treats you well and you're able to clean everything up.

Offline BrentS

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2009, 12:57 AM »
What a nightmare.  You seem to be taking all of this a lot better than I think I would, so kudos to you for keeping a level head.  I hope the insurance company treats you well and you're able to clean everything up.

Thanks Jesse.  I just told my wife that I'm done getting mad about it.  I was swearing up and down like a trucker when it first happened, but after I got that out of my system, I'm just trying to move on.  I remember that it could have been a lot worse and we really haven't lost anything valuable (yet).

BTW, tested the electronics today and they all work.  TV started right up (when I remembered to plug it back in) and the iMac chimed in right away.

Offline I Am Sith

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2009, 10:02 PM »
My turn.  Thankfully, I don't have a finished basement...

Pretty bad storm came through our area last night.  There was a reported tornado that knocked out some power lines and the electric was out for about 5.5-6 hours.  Needless to say, with the downpours we were getting and the fact that I don't have a battery back-up for my sump pump, I had about 2-3 inches of water in the basement.  I was able to get to Menards and get a generator so I got the sump working again, but by the time that happened the damage was already done.

I was able to get most of our stuff off the ground before it got wet, but there were some things that I just couldn't get up fast enough.  Tonight begins the process of going through boxes to see what we lost.  Most of the kids toys that were down there were lost and all of the carpet remnants we had on the floor are now trash.

Worst part of it all was that my son's 4th birthday was today and we had planned on making a bunch of food last night.  That really didn't happen as planned, but he still ended up having a great time.  Looks like I know how I'll be spending Father's Day tomorrow.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2009, 10:28 PM »
Parts of Pittsburgh flooded earlier in the week and they were predicting more today, but raelly the rain was spotty.  There was serious damage in parts of the city though, and some counties called states of emergency over it as there was a bit of damage.

One or two tornadoes maybe touched down, I never heard one way or the other on that but nothing near where I live.  We just got rain, but I don't have a basement so no worry there. 
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Offline BillCable

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2009, 05:06 PM »
We had three different people in my office whose basements flooded the night of that storm.  Two of them never made it in to work.  Crazy stuff.  The weather was relatively mild in Bethel Park.
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Offline Jesse James

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Re: Flooded Basement Thread
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2009, 10:53 PM »
Yeah, we never lost power out here in my area even...  It was windy, stormed bad, but it didn't flood and Diane and I both live in supposedly flood prone areas (though we've only really had one in the last 20 years each, and that was during the Hurricane a couple years back).
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