(Topic ID: 161540)

Basement Flooding Prevention

By mamawaldee

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 16 posts
  • 14 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 years ago by wayout440
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders


Linked Games

No games have been linked to this topic.

    #1 3 years ago

    Three years ago we held a graduation party for my stepson. The following morning we were scheduled to take a seven hour Kayaking trip. We were fixing to leave and I was downstairs letting the dogs out. I'm looking at the row of pins, and then see a drip fall on one of the games. Then another drip, then another, so I start scrambling to get the games moved as the entire floor above starts a downpour.

    Luckily, at that time the games were on a concrete floor and I was able to pull some of them out of the area before the entire thing let loose above as I'm screaming upstairs to turn the water off to the effin toilet. I pulled two pins 15 feet to safety, and threw a tarp over the others and within about a minute it was Niagara falls in that spot. No games were damaged, only a little down the beer seal on one and I quickly got out the shop vac, electric heaters and fans. Real lucky I had that tarp handy too.

    What happened is that during the course of the party the previous day, somebody flushed something down the toilet that totally plugged it up, simultaneously the float mechanism got jammed up; so a two point failure. We just had been using the other bathroom since the party until all hell broke loose. It rapidly flooded the upstairs bathroom, hence the area underneath became a waterfall. I cannot fathom what would have happened if someone had flushed that toilet and we just walked out the door for a seven hour trip. I would have lost the entire arcade and a lot more.

    So, now we are now moved to a bigger house, have alot more pins, and unfortunately the only way the layout works is to put games underneath the bathroom areas again. This has got to be a universal problem, pins are often in the basement, and house design does not lend itself to the games being totally away from plumbing.

    What do the hardcore collectors do to protect these games from disasters like the one I very luckily avoided?Is there any catch-system that can be installed into the framing underneath a bathroom (or kitchen) to collect water overflows? Anybody solve this problem?

    #2 3 years ago

    Hmmm. Well, to give you a heads up about a leak under a sink or around a toilet I would recommend placing wireless water sensors in the area. Simplisafe.com offers these sensors for security systems with notifications to your phone.

    Also, the base station continues to function even during a power outage for up to two days and relies on a cell phone signal versus a landline. Pricing is pretty affordable. Their security systems are also very well reviewed and affordable.

    Traditional water sensors are better then nothing but if you are away from the house for a few days or at work when a leak occurs then major damage can still occur.

    #3 3 years ago

    Water sensors are useful if you are home (unmonitored) and useful if you are away (monitored), but you could also shut off the main supply valves to the most likely problem items (toilets, clothes washer and dishwasher) if you are leaving for an extended period.

    You could also shut off the main house water supply valve if you are leaving for an extended period.

    No one ever does this (the main supply valve), because it is very inconvenient.

    While they were away for a week of vacation, some friends of ours had a toilet tank crack on the top floor bathroom of their house and the water ran for days. It was about $100,000 worth of damage.


    #4 3 years ago

    There are remote shutoff valves that you can install on the main water line in your house making it easy to turn off the water. Some even link to water sensor units to shut off the water to your house if a leak is detected. Not cheap but a whole lot cheaper than a basement full of wet pins.


    #5 3 years ago

    If you are on municipal water, your local water utility will usually turn the water on and off at the street connection for a small fee. Very common in areas with a lot of vacation homes. That's only practical for longer term absence from the house.

    (Edit: If you are on well water, turn off the power to the well pump while you are gone. No pump, no water.)

    Check your clothes washer feed lines since those are normally just rubber hoses and can fail. Replace them if they look at all sketchy.

    I happened to be home a couple years back when the water heater failed (tank rusted through) and began to leak. If I had been away, it would have been a real mess. Not sure if there is a way to absolutely prevent pluming leaks.

    Much more common basement flooding is due to either storm (rain) water getting into the basement or sanitary sewer (yeah, that kind) backing up from the municipal collection system. Redundant sump pumps and backwater valves are common measures for those.

    #6 3 years ago

    We have this installed at home, and with the piping system we have, we should be pretty safe.
    Maybe you have something similar in the states.


    Original link (in Norwegian)


    #7 3 years ago

    I have the cheapo 9V battery powered leak detectors under all our water devices of concern but agree it's not the ideal way unless someone hears it. I would suggest shutting off your main water supply. I assume most homes have these inside like ours does but maybe not? With it shut off you remove most risks. And we use one of these (There are better options out there) http://www.basementwatchdog.com/Basement_Watchdog_Combination_Systems.php to mitigate water if a pipe would break and power would be lost. Again not the best solution in your case if the pins are under you bathroom where most piping is.

    #8 3 years ago

    Probably more questions than answers, but I've seen basements flood for two reasons: rain/ingress from outside and plumbing failure. The latter seems more of the concern here. How high is the ceiling in the basement, and is it finished (if so, what kind - drop, drywall)?

    I've had my share of leaks and the problem has been that the water doesn't always come down where you'd expect relative to the leak. Depending on where the pipes run, insulation, joists, etc., there likely isn't an easy way to install a pan to divert the water but it may be possible.

    Because it is such a fluke, not sure I'd invest too much in trying to build a catch system. I think water sensors are cheap insurance -- auto-cutoff would be the next step up. For my outdoor photography equipment, I bought some inexpensive plastic drop cloths I keep in my equipment cases as emergency throws -- I might do the same with the pins, too. If there's a high risk area, put the easiest to replace to pin there.

    If you think the basement is subject to flooding/filling with water, maybe install a sump pump as insurance, as well. Also, depending on the value, consider a separate insurance policy?

    #9 3 years ago

    I run water sensors on the floors that feed into my alarm system. Not only do I have sensors in the basement, but I also have them in all the bathrooms, and next to the A/C and water heater as well. In the living areas, they are tucked in behind the baseboard, and only the sensor face is exposed, so you never see them. I am way more than paranoid due to 2 incidents. The first was a washing machine hose break while we were on vacation, and I returned home to a flooded basement. But the other was one I had not thought about......we left for several days and had a de-humidifier running on the 2nd floor, which drained into a sump feed. Unfortunately, the coils froze up while we were gone, and the ice blocked the drain, so the unit overflowed. Not a whole lot of water by any means, but over several days, it ended up being several gallons. It eventually worked it's way into the basement and ruined a lot of ceiling tile and flooring. So I have a main shutoff in the basement that I turn off whenever we are going to be a long way from home, and I make sure everything else is turned off. I also have rupture valves on any non-metal plumbing, and one on the main. We have a lot of retired neighbors that I can call if the alarm goes off during the day, but after being hit a couple of times, I don't take any chances. If water is going to get to my pins, it is going to have to work at it! lol

    #10 3 years ago

    I have this (Well I have both in place a back up system for the back up system)
    amazon.com link »

    They make them for washing machines/ice makers/hot water heaters/toilets/sink. They work really really good.
    turns the water off with just light water. Also contact your insurance company and some times they will help pay to put a system in place like Defense Leak system. http://leakdefensesystem.com/residential-users/ pricey but sometime they will pay for half. It covers the entire home. However, after a major leak its priceless. Great product

    #11 3 years ago

    I use a Zipato as an automation / security device. Once I'm finished with my basement, I'll be adding Z-wave water sensors along with an automated shutoff valve on the main feeding the house. That way if a water sensor is tripped, the main shutoff valve can be close by the controller.

    I realize that it might not be from a burst pipe and could be from a backed up sump pump, but I'll still get both a text / push notification from the app. It can also be programmed to do anything else I want, such as set off the alarm siren, flash the lights in the house, etc.

    #12 3 years ago

    Well the suggestions about water sensors and things like that are all good things but not really what I'm looking for. A slow leak is something I'll probably catch in that is leaves a spot on the ceiling. I'm more worried about catastrophic failures.

    A little bit more about the application, the basement is a walkout on a hill, with well water. The sump pump never runs on it's own, so I manually cycle it to keep it from seizing. About the most water it gets is from the furnace drain. The heaviest downpours don't show up in the pit, the soils drains very well, and we are on a small lake which helps. Basement is finished with drop tiles, but will be redone with drwall to get more height someday. This house has already had both toilets leak at the wax ring with the telltale signs of drooped stained ceiling tiles. That's all fixed, but problem with well water is it rapidly ages the toilet hardware. The previous house was also on well water and the valve that failed was only a couple years old. We also run the water softener.

    I kick off the well pump when going on short vacations, however we have a lot of dogs and for reasons beyond this discussion we can't board them. So for instance for the last real vacation we went on we had a house sitter. So in that case the water has to stay on. Also, this single incident really opened my eyes in that large numbers of pins could get ruined just going to dinner for a couple hours. All you have to do is flush a toilet and head out the door. I'd get the pins away from the bathrooms if I could, but with the I-beams and HVAC, the only way to get continuous rows of pins and good density is to have some of them be in the danger zone.

    I was hoping somebody had installed some kind of pan under the joists, or used those water diversion systems that keep patios dry under decks.

    Also thanks for sharing your horror stories, I never would have thought of the washing machine hoses. My buddy had a washing machine pump hose come off and flood his utility room. They do make pans for washing machines, water heaters, etc. I purchased a non ice making fridge after the salesman told me horror stories about the plastic feed line breaking and flooding customers houses. I also keep a 5-gallon bucket under the garbage disposal after having one get plugged up, fail and dump rotten vegetable water all over a downstairs couch. Thankfully the dehumidifiers are all downstairs anyway, so if one dies it won't do too much damage. I'll plumb them to the sump pit in the future, just in case.

    #13 3 years ago

    I would tend to invest in a water treatment system . That would tax your plumbing system less.

    #14 3 years ago

    The cheapest solution would be to get some thicker clear painter's plastic sheets and throw them over the pins that are in harm's way when you are leaving, or when they are not in use. Still might get some rusty feet, but legs are a lot easier to replace than the pins themselves.

    #15 3 years ago

    The best tip I ever got when I bought my house was to replace the rubber hoses for the washer with the steel reinforced ones like this: amazon.com link »

    #16 3 years ago

    Another option, have someone stay at your house or at least check on it when you are gone away.

    Promoted items from the Pinside Marketplace
    $ 89.99
    $ 54.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    $ 94.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    $ 27.99
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 119.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 7.00
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Pinball Z
    $ 14.00
    Yorktown Parts and Equip
    From: $ 209.99
    Lighting - Led
    Comet Pinball
    $ 69.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 29.95
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 28.00
    Playfield - Other
    Pin Monk
    $ 76.95
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    Super Skill Shot Shop
    From: $ 42.00
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    ModFather Pinball Mods
    $ 17.95
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    $ 45.99
    Lighting - Interactive
    Lee's Parts
    $ 8,000.00
    $ 45.00
    Cabinet - Shooter Rods
    From: $ 175.00
    Gameroom - Decorations
    Pinball Photos
    $ 5,999.00
    Pinball Machine
    Classic Game Rooms
    $ 9.99
    Matt's Basement Arcade
    $ 15.00
    Third Coast Pinball
    $ 69.99
    Playfield - Toys/Add-ons
    Lighted Pinball Mods
    $ 64.00
    $ 1,099.00
    Flipper Parts

    Hey there! Got a moment?

    Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside