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When it Comes to Water Damage, Rethink The Basement

Dec 15, 2015 | Plumbing Advice

By Paul O’Grady, Founder — O’Grady Plumbing

I’ve been in this line of work for a long time and I have to say this: It’s all too cool being a plumber. Every day it’s something different and I get to meet a variety of nice people. And I have the opportunity to solve some very difficult problems.

Take water damage in your basement, for example. The basement just happens to be the wettest part of the house. And while some consider water to be the staff of life, when it comes to damage to your home or business, water is right up there at the top as far as culprits.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve listened to property owners lament the water damage associated with a home emergency. These are just normal folks who are in shock from the loss of personal property that is the subsequent result of a burst pipe or a sewer back up.

It’s almost always the same story: Sewage has backed up from a back landing drain and rushed right through the back door. Or it comes up from a drain that has long since been covered over with boxes of irreplaceable memorabilia. Or there’s domestic or sewer leak coming through the ceiling onto their custom library, destroying family heirlooms, rugs and hardwood floors.

You name it and, believe me, I’ve seen it — and I’ve heard it. Listening to my customers is good because they get to work out and hopefully accept how all this happened. And there’s always something I can say to calm the situation, if not make it better.

My thoughts are this: You still have your health, and while you have suffered some unexpected property loss, I’d like to offer you a remedy to avoid the same situation in the future. Situations can vary, but my advice to these folks remains the same:

Inspect your home and know where the pipes are running in order to keep things away from being directly above or below.
Identify abandoned drains to ensure they have been capped. Verify the location of all floor drains.
If you love it, elevate it. A wooden skid works well for me.
Periodically do a thorough inspection of all of the plumbing in your home to identify an unnoticed leak.
Have the pressure tested and brought down if it is high.

It’s nice to have extra space in your home to put belongings without having to sell things off or put them in storage. But be smart in your use of this space to ensure your belongings are well protected from damage resulting from disasters that happen frequently. Perhaps next time, you’ll experience the same emergency, but you’ll have a far better outcome because you took steps to avoid the worst.

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