It all began back in late August 2017 when the two eldest children checked on the basement on a night of heavy rain; they stepped off the bottom step into several inches of water.
I was out of town, so anxious phone calls and video chats were exchanged that night, and eventually we all slept as the water slowly receded.
Over the next weeks and months we would meet with an insurance adjuster, tear out the new floor we’d installed in January, dehumidify and air out the space, and I began to talk to companies about water mitigation.
It was a slow process. And it turns out that was a huge blessing.
On November 6 everyone else was asleep in the midst of a heavy thunderstorm, and Monkey and I decided to check on the basement.
The late August storm had brought 11 inches spread over hours, and the November storm ended up only bringing 4+ inches, but despite that, when Monkey and I went down to check the now empty basement, there was water already making an appearance.
I ended up sitting up all night to lay out water absorbing “sand bags,” stare anxiously at the sump pump to will it to keep working, wander outdoors to gaze in awe at the rain, and move fans around to push the water in new directions for my own amusement. Additionally I learned water was coming on on three sides of the basement, which we hadn’t known, and I learned water was dripping down the chimney; an unexpected issue.
Monkey kept me company for the first hours, then eventually I settled into a lawn chair with a murder mystery and my cell phone to watch the amount of water pouring in with awe.
In a hilariously bad decision, at 5 a.m. I decided to grab an hour of sleep before I would awaken with Buds at 6 a.m. to proudly show him my good work due to my nighttime labors. The sump pump was working fine. The water was contained by the barriers around the sides; surely I could sleep a little.
At 6 a.m. we headed downstairs, Buds leading the way. He got to the bottom, turned around and looked at me saying, “Wow, that’s bad.”
I pushed past him to the bottom of the stairs, stunned to see water all over the floor. The pipe from the sump pump had come loose and was blasting water into the basement!
As I stuck my face down into the sump pump enclosure yelling for Buds to get a screwdriver so I could reattach the sump pump, a blast of water blew up into my face. It was so cold and so stunning, we had to laugh.
So much for my night of work.
The blessings of this storm became clear (after a good nap so I could regain my sense of humor and balance.)
We needed a multi-step attack. New gutters, chimney repair, and some sort of final line inside to redirect any water that made it past our outside barriers.
As I write this on March 4, all three of these steps have been completed.
Scott “The Gutterman” and I haggled back and forth, finally reaching consensus on cost and installation timing. His two-person crew did a great job clearing out the randomly-sized, over-installation of old gutters and downspouts, giving us larger gutters and fewer downspouts.
The chimney also got a delightful refresh. And we’re hoping the new screen at the top now makes it skink-proof!
The chimney top wasn’t level, leading to water pooling. The flues coming out the top weren’t even and their caps were decayed. It needed new tuckpointing and waterproofing.
Luckily, there are always companies and people willing to handle these issues. Several visits later we had a custom-made cap on our clean, freshly dressed up chimney.
The water abatement process took three+ days, so it deserves its own post. Upcoming soon.