Diagnosing Water Problems
The first step in curing a basement water problem is to determine the source. Basically, we can divide potential water sources into three categories:
- Surface Water
A flow of water that obtains as its basic source, water from run-off, rain, snow, lot drainage, etc., and can be exacerbated by poor soils. This type of water problem is generally restricted to the top four feet of soil. We think of this as an "external water source".
- Ground Water
A flow of water that obtains as its basic source, water from high water tables, springs, etc., and can be exacerbated by poor soils. This type of water problem can extend from the surface, down past the level of the basement floor. We think of this as an "external water source".
- Other Water
This category includes all other potential sources, whether they are inside or outside (i.e. condensation due to temperature differences, inside plumbing leakage, outside plumbing leakage, etc.). This can be both an"external water source", as well as an "internal water source".
Start by asking yourself, "When does the leakage manifest itself?" Does it show up immediately after only heavy rains?. . .or, every time it rains? Is the leakage usually confined to one specific area?. . .and if so, can I associate an external source with this area (such as a window well, a poorly sloped driveway, etc.)?
It is very common to misdiagnose a basement leakage problem as being from an "external water source" (surface water or ground water), while it is actual coming from the "other water" category. A leaking water line inside a basement wall, sewer backup through a floor drain causing basement flooding, condensation on water pipes & walls during summer months, all can make a localized area very wet. This can easily be mistaken for basement leakage.