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Old 05-24-2008, 07:53 PM
 
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Is there any way to tell that the basement may have issues...such as mold/moisture? I thought if it had a Sump Pump that was a sure sign of some water issues.
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Garden City, MI
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Hmm I'm sure an inspector could tell you but look near the flood for mold or mildew. Or a strong odor would be a good giveaway.
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Old 05-24-2008, 11:19 PM
 
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Basements are great! I hope anyone who has finished their basement adds "sewer and drain" back-up to their Homeowners insurance policy! It's not expensive. Almost all basement "flooding" is actually caused by sewer backup.
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Old 05-25-2008, 12:03 AM
 
Location: Lower Michigan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovindfw View Post
Is there any way to tell that the basement may have issues...such as mold/moisture? I thought if it had a Sump Pump that was a sure sign of some water issues.
A Sump Pump is a good thing to have just in case there is a water problem in the future!
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Home!
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I am pretty sure most new homes (if not all) with basements have sump pumps. This helps to keep the water out.
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Old 05-26-2008, 11:19 AM
 
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Thanks for the info!
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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Quote:

Basements are great! I hope anyone who has finished their basement adds "sewer and drain" back-up to their Homeowners insurance policy! It's not expensive. Almost all basement "flooding" is actually caused by sewer backup.
That's a good reason not to buy a house in on the low end of the sewer line....Especially if your storm sewers are also a part of your sanitary sewer. Good point. Check that out before you buy! You can probably ask at your city engineer's office.
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:18 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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A sump pump means that your basement may have been properly constructed to keep water out. No sump pump means potential problems.

When you build a house, you disturb the naturally compacted soil of the property. The backfill creates a channel where water will collect. All the water proofing and damp proofing in the world will not keep water out of a basement long term. The only thing that works is getting the water away from your house. That requires a good drainage system and, unless you are on a hill, a sump pump.

Even a leaky basement can often be corrected. You will have to dig out around the foundation, put in a drainage system, backfill with gravel (at least 2/3 of the fill, and then cap it with Michigan clay (native soil in Michigan is mostly clay, so you will have plenty available).


Mold is over hyped. Only a few types of mold cause problems. Mold is everywhere, it is all around your house. If you test any house for mold, it will come up positive. that is why they test the area around your house and then compare it to areas inside the house to see if you have a problem. If the mold level is the same or lower than it is outside the house, it is usually considered acceptable. Thus, your house may be fine even though it has ten or even a hundred times the mold level of my house.

the age of the house can make a difference too. Our house is 170 years old. That means that it is not very well sealed. We get drafts in the winter time. However all that air passing through also keeps mold down. Modern sealed houses keep moisture inside. Your breath, stem from the dishwasher, cooking, showers, etc. all collect inside your house and provide a nice environment for mold to grow. You have to choose. Do you want to be warm/cool, or moldy.


When it comes to basements however newer basements tend to be dryer because they finally figured out how to keep them dry about forty years ago. The primary focus on moving ater away from the house is even more recent. Altho8ght they knew about subdrains and sumpumps they were still attempting to waterproof basements until fairly recently. You cannot permanently waterproof a basement. You can make is more water resistant, but there is not such thing as a waterproof basement. A house on top of a hill, helps a great deal, but is not a solution. A friend of mine was told that he did not need a back up sump pump becuase his house is on top of a large hill in Rochester hills. However during a huge rainstorm his primary sump pump failed and the savings of $600 on a back up ended up casoting about $30,000. (Finsihed basement).



Short version - you not only want to see a sump pump, you probably want to see a sump pump with a back up. I would not buy any house in Michigan that did not have a subdrain with a sump pump unless I had a price and the available money to put one in.
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Old 05-31-2008, 09:55 AM
 
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I've never needed a sump pump in any of the houses I've owned. One built in the 20's, one in the 50's and one in the 40's. Only had water seep into the basement of the one built in the 50's and that was because a downspout was draining next to the house. I extended it 4' away, backfilled to slope away from the house, and no more water infiltration. The house built in the 20's had a very dry basement. It was only dug about 4' deep due to the house being built up. There were about 6 stairs up to the front porch.

Many developers built in areas where they had no business digging basements (in areas with underground springs for example). My in-laws house in Plymouth has a sump pump that seems like it's running constantly.
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Old 06-16-2008, 09:15 PM
 
5,683 posts, read 9,328,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireKwame View Post
I hope anyone who has finished their basement adds "sewer and drain" back-up to their Homeowners insurance policy!
Caveat: check to find out what exactly is covered by such coverage. Our homeowners' insurance company (in Madison, Wisconsin) does offer sewer/drain backup coverage, but all it provides is $5,000 for cleanup costs. There's no coverage for loss of furnishings, fixtures, appliances, furnace, hot-water heater, etc. And speaking from bitter experience, I can tell you that's the expensive part of a basement flood.

I would counsel anyone with a basement to get a plumber in to check the floor drain for a back-flow preventer. If you don't have one, it'll cost you probably $500-$700 for the plumber to install one, but it can save you thousands if your local sewer line floods, to say nothing of the heartache of having to throw away dozens of irreplacable treasures and keepsakes.

We had a city water line rupture in the middle of a January cold snap several years back, at the corner three doors up the street from our home. The pressure of the water blasted through the 10 feet or so of soil to the sewer line and flooded it. Once the sewer line filled up, the only place for it to go was people's basements. Over 20 homes in the neighborhood had anywhere from an inch or so to three or four feet of raw sewage in their basements. Homeowners' insurance said "the incident occurred off your property, too bad, so sad." The city's liability insurance said "there was no negligence on the city's part, too bad, so sad." Eventually, close to a year later, the city council approved up to $3,500 payments to affected residents, but that was less than half our losses, and around 10% or less of several people's losses.

Call a plumber and get a back-flow preventer installed in your floor drain. It may not keep everything out, but it'll slow it down considerably, and it's a heckuva lot easier to recover from 2 inches of slime than it is from 2 feet.
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