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Wet Weather Plumbing Tips

Heavy rain and severe storms can have an adverse effect on the health of your plumbing system, the beauty of your home or place of business, and the safety of your family or employees due to backdrafting and flooding. Both backdrafting and flooding are caused by an excessive amount of water backing up your sewer systems, potentially filling your home or business with dangerous chemicals and gallons of water.

When the wet weather events occur, we hope to provide you with the ability to prevent or minimize the effects of backdrafting and flooding through effective solutions that help identify and fix potentials risks within your home.    

Backdrafting

Backdrafting occurs when negative air pressure inside a home or building draws gases and other chemicals into the building from a plumbing drain system that is typically backed up with rain water. This results in the spreading of unpleasant and sometime dangerous odors, such as explosive methane gas, throughout your home.

Negative air pressure inside your home is the culprit behind backdrafting and accelerated by wet weather events. Thus, it is important to identify any possible risks within your home that could be causing negative air pressure. Common factors that result in negative air pressure with in your home include:

  • Bathroom and Kitchen Exhaust Fans
  • Fireplaces
  • Exhaust Ventilation Systems
  • Tight Building Construction

Typically, plumbing vents and exhaust systems will be improperly installed too closely to a door, soffit vent, window, or bathroom/kitchen vent. Making sure your ventilation and exhaust systems are free of debris and installed properly is critical in eliminating negative air pressure in your home. Especially when the reentry of sewer gases is significantly worse during rain, sewer, or storm drain flooding. 

Flooding

Another serious problem many homeowners face during wet weather events is the damaging and dangerous effects of flooding. Flooding generally occurs when there is standing water above the house foundation grade outside your home resulting in 6” or more standing water within your basement. This standing water can be a result of heavy rain, a river that has overflown, or backed up sewage lines. Even seepage from small cracks in your basements foundation that result in one half inch to a full inch of water can cause serious damage that costs thousands of dollars to fix.  

  • What to Do If Your Home is Flooded

Upon learning that their basement is flooded, many homeowners may be tempted to quickly rush into their basement in an attempt to get rid of the water as quickly as possible. This can be very dangerous due to the fact that there could be exposed electric wires and chords under the water that has flooded your house. Safety comes first! So it is very important that the first thing you do when your basement is flooded is to disconnect your homes main electrical switch or have a professional do it for you.

Once it is safe to enter your basement, your next priority should be getting your basement dry as soon as possible. Begin by removing the vast majority of water in your basement using a Wet-Dry vacuum and then set up multiple dehumidifiers and fans to quickly dry out your basement. Drying your basement as quickly as possible is critical because mold can begin to grow the longer water and moisture is in your basement. Completely drying your entire basement can take up to one to two weeks; be patient, proactive, and thorough to lower the likelihood of mold formation.

If mold does begin to form in your basement, the EPA recommends using effective fungicides that can be purchased at major home improvement stores. If however, the mold growth is extensive and highly visible it is highly suggested that you immediately hire a certified professional to remove all the mold from your basement.         

  • How to Prevent Flooding

Knowing what to do if your basement is flooded is very important. However, it is equally if not more essential to know how to prevent ever having to experience a flooded basement.

  1. Purchase a Home that Sets on a Downgrade
  2. Inspect Roof Gutters and Downspouts
  3. Run a 65 to 70 Pints Per Day Capacity Dehumidifier 24/7 from April - October
  4. Install 10 milliliter Plastic Vapor Barriers Between Finished Carpet and the Basement Floor
  5. Properly Install Drywall
  6. Install a Sump Pump Equipped with a Backup Battery Supply
  7. Repair All Vertical Cracks in Basement Foundation

These tips will save you money, increase the safety of your family or employees, and will help you prepare your home or business for the effects of flooding and backdrafting when wet weather events occur.