foundation repair

Why Do I have a Basement Leak?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021 by Lynsey Richardson


WHY DO I HAVE A BASEMENT LEAK?

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Basement leaks happen for many different reasons. Basement leaks can result from something as simple as a plumbing leak or water heater problem. Or they can be the result of something more serious such as inadequate stormwater drainage or a foundation issue. Basement water problems are solvable, but they must be fixed right.

To properly correct the issue, it’s imperative to understand where the water is coming from and why. As a homeowner, you’re aware that water belongs outside your home and not inside. So when you discover a leak in the basement, it’s an immediate cause for concern.

Water in the wrong place is a strong and damaging force. You know that. So naturally, you become concerned and begin asking yourself, “Where is the leak coming from? How did this happen?” And then you want to know, “How do I fix it?”

Moisture problems in basements are fairly common but often not understood or properly fixed. These problems are not only annoying and uncomfortable, but they can lead to real damage to your home and even to health issues if left untreated.

 

WHAT ARE SOME CAUSES OF BASEMENT LEAKS?

WATER HEATERS

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A water heater drain valve can leak, but the good news is that this is generally an inexpensive and quick fix for a licensed plumber. But a leak from the bottom of the water heater is not so good news and usually means that the heater needs to be replaced by a plumber.

Water inlet connections can leak if they are loose or faulty. And the temperature and pressure relief valve might leak water from too much pressure or if the water becomes too hot. A licensed plumber can also help you with any of these water heater scenarios.

PLUMBING LEAKS

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A lot of plumbing runs through most basement walls and ceilings. This usually makes it easy to pinpoint water leaks in the basement area from the foundation or pipes. If you find water near any plumbing that runs inside your basement, investigate it further to see if the plumbing pipes are the source of your leak. If so, a licensed plumber can help.

If, however, you find a leak in the wall where your main pipelines enter or exit your foundation, that is probably a pipe penetration leak and something that we can help you with.

 

HVAC CONDENSATION

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Our HVAC units have lines that drain the condensation from our systems and route it outside not to damage our homes with the excess water. Sometimes these condensation lines can leak, either because they have broken or because they have become blocked. And if your condensation line empties too close to your foundation walls, that water can leak into your basement.

A licensed HVAC technician can help you with anything related to your HVAC system.

 

DOOR & WINDOW LEAKS

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If you have a water leak coming from around a window or door on the daylight side of your basement, a handyman or general contractor can help you with the fix. However, if the leak is coming from the bottom of the door, grading or landscaping could be the culprit, as well as an incorrectly poured concrete stoop or patio. Check to see if water stands in that area when it rains. If so, we can help.

If the leak is on the daylight side of the basement and it happens where the wall meets the floor, it might be the result of incorrect grading or landscaping or an incorrectly poured concrete stoop or patio. Again, check to see if water stands in that area when it rains. If so, we can help.


HOW CAN DRAINAGE LEAD TO BASEMENT LEAKS?

Waterproofing starts on the outside. It’s a good idea to do some detective work around your home and look for a few things that might be causing the problem. 

Irrigation –

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Do you have an irrigation system? If so, make the spray heads point toward your house in an area where you are finding a basement leak? Or is one of the lines broken and causing a leak? Sometimes, this happens, and the water can find its way inside if it's near your foundation. A professional irrigation company can easily fix these problems. If you are still experiencing a basement leak after fixing your irrigation system, then give us a call so we can help.

 

Gutters & Downspouts – 

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In a 1-inch rain, 1250 gallons of a waterfall on the roof of a 2,000-square-foot house. Without proper grading, as well as proper gutters and downspouts, some of this water flows into the basement because the water is directed toward the perimeter of your foundation. Over time, your rain gutters can become damaged and no longer direct water flow in the right direction. And over time, your downspouts can become clogged with debris that has built up, even if you have been cleaning the gutters regularly.

It’s good to do some periodic checks of your gutters and downspouts. When it rains, do you see water spilling over your gutters and dumping near your foundation in an area where you have a basement leak? If so, try cleaning the gutters and see if that eliminates the problem. It may or may not, depending on how long that has been a problem and the damage that has already been done to your foundation from the water. If you are still experiencing a leak after cleaning the gutters and/or downspouts, then you might need our help.

Downspouts without extensions can deposit large amounts of rainwater in a small and concentrated area near your basement. Are your downspouts dumping water right at your foundation? If so, they can cause basement leaks, and we can help you reroute the water.

Inadequate grading and landscaping – 

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If the ground around the foundation is either level or sloping toward the house, then water is directed toward, rather than away from, your home. Oftentimes, during construction, the soil around your home has been backfilled without the correct compaction, and then it settles. This is especially true under porch and patio stoops where water can pool near your foundation and cause damage. We can help you with any grading or drainage issues, even when they involve your porch or stoops.

Do you notice erosion near your house? If water is pooling anywhere around your foundation, it won’t take long until it causes extensive damage. Drainage is definitely the culprit for erosion and pooling issues, and we are your top choice to fix it.

A proper outdoor drainage solution is important in keeping your home dry, and good drainage solutions will go a long way in protecting the interior of your home. Properly landscaping and draining your yard so that water runs away from the house can prevent damage to your foundation and keep water from intruding inside. And there’s no better choice for you than DriTek Solutions – we are true experts who have been trusted in Atlanta and Athens for over 30 years.


HOW CAN MY FOUNDATION LEAD TO BASEMENT LEAKS?

Problems with your foundation walls can allow basement leaks that cause real damage to your home. Several foundation issues can cause basement leaks listed below. We are experienced and experts at solving all your foundation problems permanently.

Rain and Groundwater –

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As mentioned earlier, in a 1-inch rain, 1,250 gallons of the waterfall on the roof of a 2,000-square-foot house. The below-grade water table can also arise when the soil becomes saturated from heavy rain. When that happens, water needs a place to go and finds the path of least resistance and right into your basement if it is not truly waterproofed. 

Foundation Cracks –

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Poured concrete and block foundation walls usually develop some cracks. They can become severe if floor joists aren’t properly connected to the foundation wall, allowing the foundation walls to move. Soil settlement also causes some cracking, as does the natural behavior of cement and concrete. Places where walls meet rigid structures, like a fireplace, often crack also. And since water finds the path of least resistance, cracks are an easy way for water to leak into your basement.

Capillary Action –

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Remember the experiment in school with colored water and a carnation or celery? The colored water was eventually drawn up into the plant, and you could see the color change. That is capillary action, and it’s the wicking movement of water passing through small spaces in between particles. It’s a combination of the cohesion and adhesion characteristics of water. In clay soils, capillary action can draw water up to 20 feet! True waterproofing can help you to solve this issue.

Inadequate or Non-existent Foundation Drain –

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Many homes have no foundation drainage system, while others have an old, failing, or inadequate drain tile. Building codes have changed so many times over the years in our area, and any one of those scenarios could be true for your home. Your home needs to have an adequate and properly functioning exterior drainage solution for your foundation to remain waterproof permanently. True waterproofing involves the installation of a proper foundation drainage solution.

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