Basement Flooding In A Vacant House
Has A High Probability Of Causing
Severe Property Damage
If you come to a vacant house with the basement flooding, it is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. In fact, some clients want the property preservation / REO contractor to pump the water out right away, and then invoice for the cost of the service. Most other clients want a bid to be submitted before they will give approval for the work.
Causes Of Crawlspace Or Basement Flooding
There are a few possible reasons for water in the basement or crawlspace. The most probable are:
• Leaking plumbing
• Roof leak
• Inoperative sump pump
• Rise in ground water
Most frequently the cause is a rise in the level of ground water, combined with an inoperative sump pump. If it is a house where there is known to be a problem with either seasonal or year-round high ground water, a sump pump has probably been installed. If the electricity has been shut off, then the sump pump cannot do its job. It's also possible that either no sump pump has ever been installed, or the sump pump needs to be repaired or replaced.
Pumping Out The Basement Or Crawlspace Is Priority One
No matter what may be the cause for the basement flooding, the water needs to be pumped out before any other work can be done to remedy the problem. At times, the water needs to pumped out before the cause of the flooding can even be determined. The simplest fix is to connect electricity to a sump pump that is already installed and functioning. Usually this is done by just plugging the sump pump into a generator.
If there is no functioning sump pump, or if connecting it to a generator will take way too long, you can rent a pump and a length of two-inch hose from a local rental store or home improvement center. This can empty a basement or crawlspace of water in a matter of a couple of hours. Just make sure that if you pump the water out into a city street, it is directed toward a storm drain.
Fixing The Problem
If there is an operational sump pump already installed, supply your client with the name and contact information for the local utility company so they can get the power turned back on. If there is a non-operational sump pump installed, or one that needs to be repaired (e.g., leaking outflow line) provide a bid to repair or replace it.
If there is no sump pump and no sump, then you should provide a bid to install a new sump pump. This will include:
• Digging a hole in the basement or crawlspace, including cutting the concrete
• Purchase and installation of the pump and crock
• Installation of the plumbing for outflow
• Wiring of an outlet for electricity to run the pump
If, of course, the cause for basement flooding is either a leaking roof or leaky plumbing, after the water is pumped out, the roof or plumbing need to be fixed.
Drying Out The Basement
After the water has been pumped out of the basement, the basement needs to be dried out to prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Provide a bid to the bank for the installation of a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier should have the capacity to remove 50-60 pints of water from the air in each 24-hour period.
Install it where you can both plug it into electricity, and where you can run a short section of garden hose downhill to a drain. In this way it can run continuously, and more adequately remove all moisture from the flooded basement. This is very important, since the growth of mold can cause tens of thousands of dollars damage to the interior of a vacant house.
The use of a high capacity pump is not only helpful for basement flooding, it is also necessary sometimes for the securing of an in-ground swimming pool.