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Keeping water out of your basement

As winter approaches and the wet weather is nigh, Pete recommends checking your home for issues that could contribute to basement flooding. Chuck Brastrup from Ram Jack has a few recommendations, not limited to lifting your house off the ground.

“The first thing that we notice is that the pipe protruding from the ground, that’s catching that down spout, is holding water. It’s not draining,” Chuck says, “which means there’s a block in the system.

“Other times, the system is not only backed up, but it can be broken, there can be a leak in it, which can lead to leaking in the crawl space.”

Chuck says that if you observe standing water or a damp spot on the basement wall, or your carpet is damp, it could be a sign of leakage.

He also says that if there’s a large buildup of white crystals on the basement floor, also known as effervescence, which comes from lime-enriched water evaporating and leaving lime residue, is a sure sign of a leak.

The solution, Chuck says, is to excavate and to locate the problem. This may mean only digging down one to two feet, for a crawl space, or six to eight feet for a full basement.

Typical points of failure stem from blockage, more often than not from pine needles. Drains covered by grates must be cleaned, he says, to eliminate blockage and water backup.

It’s also possible, if you have trees near your home (which Pete adds, he never recommends), that tree roots have broken through your pipes, which can lead to leakage. If you have ceramic or older pipes, which are particularly susceptible to tree root damage, Chuck recommends changing to a PCV pipe drainage system.

If you have water in your basement already and want to call people like Ram Jack, Chuck says the first thing they’ll do is determine the source of the leak.

Then, if they determine that there’s damage to the foundation, they’ll call in a geotechnical engineer to find out of there’s running groundwater under your home. They’ll then seal the outside of the foundation wall to protect from outside water.

If there’s still a problem, they may have to install a trench pipe, which is lower in elevation than the drainage pipe. This, unfortunately, may come with significant excavation, which may be cost-prohibitive. But, Chuck says, “we will devise the best system we can that presents the customer with alternatives. There are so many different factors that affect the total cost of any job.”

Listen to the whole show.

Home Matters with Pete and Rob can be heard on KIRO Radio every Saturday at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 6 a.m. or anytime at Like Home Matters on Facebook.

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