4 Common Basement Plumbing Problems and How to Solve Them
Basement plumbing is one of the most overlooked aspects of any home. No one usually thinks about the workings of their sump pump, toilet, or drainage system. That’s why, when problems crop up, they tend to be at the level that requires professional intervention.
However, if you can keep a habit of inspecting your basement and get to know these common basement-plumbing problems and how to fix them, you’ll avoid spending hundreds and thousands of dollars on damage repairs and renovations.
Weak water pressure can cause frequent clogs on your basement toilet. An ordinary clog can easily be fixed with a plunger and an unclogging agent, but if the problem goes deep, then you will soon be knee-deep in toilet water.
Don’t try to solve a major clog by yourself unless you’re knowledgeable and experienced in handling all kinds of clogging and plumbing issues. It’s better to call a professional to help than risk making the problem worse.
If you want to avoid future clogs, consider using a macerating upflush toilet for your basement bathroom. Upflush toilets are made for basement and outdoor bathrooms due to the ease of installation. You don’t need to dig underground to connect the toilet to the main pipes, and a powerful macerator pump packs a punch with every flush.
Frozen pipes are relatively common during the cold winter months. When that happens, the entire basement plumbing operation just, well, freezes. If the pipes are of substandard quality, they burst and cause a huge and expensive problem.
The only thing you can do is to take the slow path to unfreeze plumbing pipes. That means thawing them manually with a hairdryer, heat lamp, space heater, hot towels, an infrared lamp, or an electrical heating tape, along with turning up the heater. Any of these solutions will take considerable time to take effect.
Don’t ever use a blow torch or open flame to melt the ice quickly; otherwise, you may cause severe damage to your pipes and even risk starting a house fire.
What you should do is to safeguard your pipes before the cold months begin. Proper home insulation, regular inspection, and covering your pipes with insulating foam can help keep them from freezing.
Excess Moisture and Flooding
While the basement’s underground location makes an excellent place for peace and silence, it also makes it vulnerable to excess moisture and, in the worst cases, flooding. Water in the basement can come from indoors or outdoors.
Rainwater seeping into the basement walls is the most common cause of basement flooding. Other causes include internal water sources, bursting pipes, and faulty drainage.
Excess moisture and flooding can only be resolved entirely by installing permanent waterproofing and drainage solutions. These include the following:
● Removing moisture sources
● Installing proper gutters
● Extending downspouts
● Tilting grade away from the house
● Adding a layer of 6-mil polyethylene sheeting around the external walls
● Waterproofing the entire basement
● Building a complete drainage system with a sump pump.
If you don’t install a comprehensive solution to control moisture and flooding in the basement, the problem will continue to reoccur every time it rains, the humidity rises, and a leak happens. Sooner or later, the moisture problem will develop to a water, mold, and mildew problem. This, in turn, can compromise the structural integrity of your entire home.
Sump Pump Failure
Many basements have their own drainage system to remove stagnant water and prevent flooding. This tool is called a sump pump. The sump pump removes the water collected in the sump basin and pumps it out of your basement and keeps the basin from overflowing.
Unfortunately, the sump pump is open and exposed to all sorts of debris—soil, leaves, dirt, and dust—which can clog it and keep it from working. To prevent this, you should turn on the sump pump every month and clean it regularly.
The inner workings of the basement plumbing need proper maintenance and preventive care to stay in good condition and continue working smoothly through all seasons. You can save yourself a lot of time and money if you do regular checkups and maintenance and spot problems and get them fixed before they turn serious.