3 inches of water in your basement is not a good thing. Especially if it’s a finished basement. And a basement you have reorganized TWICE in the past ten days so you can pass your fire inspection.
But that’s what we had last night – 3 inches of water in our basement. I went down to the basement around 9:00pm and thought I noticed a funny shadow on the carpet out of the corner of my eye. Upon closer inspection, it wasn’t a shadow, it was soaking wet. Within a couple of steps in that direction, I realized I was wading in water up to my ankles. Not good.
We have a french drain and a sump pump, and the sump pump empties probably twice an hour, 24/7, regardless of the amount of rain we’ve had. Our old-time neighbors talk about the underground stream running through our neighborhood. I used to think that was some sort of old folklore, but after seeing how frequently our sump pump fills up and empties, I believe them. There is just a tremendous amount of moisture in the ground around our house. Plus, we have had about 4 inches of rain in the past week, so the ground is totally saturated.
So, at some point yesterday the circuit breaker for the sump pump tripped. And therefore the sump pump did not empty the water it was collecting. The water spread over the basement floor, and by the time we saw it, I’d say 3/4 of the basement was wet. Thankfully we were able to flip the breaker, and the pump emptied out the standing water in a matter of minutes. But the carpet is 100% soaked. The baseboards are wet and the drywall behind them probably is too.
After the standing water drained out, we moved the furniture, etc. to the 1/4 of the basement that had not yet gotten wet. We called friends who live nearby and drove to their house to pick up an extra dehumidifier, two box fans, and a shop vac. Craig tried to vacuum the water out of the carpet but there’s just way too much of it.
Craig was able to stay home today and he has calls into a company that handles floods, an electrician to look at the circuit breaker, and also to our insurance company. I am very thankful that he is able to tackle this project today. We do not want to have to deal with mold down the line, and we don’t know if we can salvage the carpet or if we will have to cut out the wet drywall, etc. We are definitely going to buy a battery back-up for the sump pump this weekend.
I barely slept last night because I was sick to my stomach thinking about the expense and hassle of this minor disaster. We do not have room for major home repair expenses in our budget right now. We’re waiting to hear how it will work out if we go through our insurance. I imagine this is what it’s for.
We are very, very grateful that we identified this problem last night. If we hadn’t, it probably wouldn’t have been until tonight, after work, when either of us went down to the basement. I imagine that by that point in time we would have had 6-8 inches of water throughout the entire basement, and that would have been a true disaster. So, we are glad that we caught it when we did.
Oh, and the fire inspector is coming again on Monday. The basement will be a total disaster, but dammit, that furnace room is still totally empty (and actually dry).