Does this basement flood?  This is probably the most asked question by clients who are getting a home inspection.  I have a client who has had multiple home inspections that all had to many issues in his eyes to purchase the home.  After his 2ND home inspection I explained that he should call me will all the info on the property before he made another offer and went through the inspection process and spent money he might not have to.  He found a home that he wanted to move forward on.  The home inspection was in Riverwoods, Illinois.  He pulled the insurance records and found that there were 2 claims in the last 3 years with flood damage.  His question was will the Riverwoods homes basement flood again?

Flooding in basement comes from 2 places and both can be controlled.

  • Sewer back up is probably the biggest reason for water damage in homes.  If you have an “in ground sewer” then your chances are high for getting sewer back up.  This is what most homes have.  An in ground sewer means the sewer lies underneath the floor in the basement and the waste is sent into the sewer main via gravity.
  • Water around the homes foundation is called ground water and can enter the home via the ground or window wells.  Generally the ground water enters a sump pump pit and is pumped away from the home via a sump pump.  Sometimes like everything the sump pump will fail and will need to be replaced.  We advise all of our clients to have a back up sump pump installed for these times.  The Riverwoods home inspection did have a sump pump pit but no back up pump.

The Riverwoods home Inspection did flood because the sewer was an in ground sewer with no flood control system.  What is a flood control system?  There are two type of sewer systems your home may have.  If you have an in ground sewer you may need a flood control system.

  • Overhead sewers are the most ideal situation to have for a finished basement.  If your home was not built this way there is no way to convert the sewer system to an overhead type sewer system.  If you have an overhead sewer system that means you will most likely have an ejector pit in your basement.  An ejector pit takes water from floor drains, laundries, basement bathrooms, basement kitchens and pumps the water waste to the overhead sewer.  The probability of the Riverwoods home inspection flooding with this system is nil.  As a licensed plumber I appreciate this system and always explain how lucky my clients are to have this drainage system in their home.
  • In ground sewers are the culprits for flooding in basements.  The Riverwoods home inspection proved this.  Just because the home has an in ground sewer does not mean you should not buy it.  The remedy for keeping sewer waste water from entering your home is having a flood control system installed on your sewer main.  A flood control system has a check valve that allows water to leave the home and not back into the home.  Some systems have reservoirs on the exterior of the home to catch all the water and store it until the waste water subsides.   The cost for a flood control system is from $5000.00 – $10000.00 and is recommended to all of our clients with finished basements.

Does this basement flood? Without a flood control system you will still be asking this question.

flood control system was the remedy for the Riverwoods home inspection.  This is the only way the home will have a dry basement for sure.  The system can be installed in a day and you will be very happy when big storms roll through your town.

If you have any questions about flood control systems in your home please contact me at ~ The Thermal Home Inspector or 312-961-4228.

Thanks for stopping by and stay safe.

Jim Kolke