Expert gives tips on preventing a flooded-basement emergency

Apr 26, 2022, 4:54 PM | Updated: May 5, 2022, 7:14 am
A woman looks at her flooded basement....
Krizia Avina looks over her basement, damaged from the previous night’s flooding, in Tooele on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. Photo credit: Spenser Heaps, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — Has your basement flooded recently? An expert gave advice and tips on how to prevent that home disaster emergency from happening.

Related: How to prepare for an emergency when you’re not really into it

After waking up to a flooded basement — again — KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic called Mike Wilson of Any Hour Services to discuss what homeowners can do today to prep their homes for unexpected flooding.

Previous flooding disasters have taught Debbie to never store valuable documents, records, or irreplaceable mementos on the floor of a basement.

“We started putting important documents up one level, so if there was flooding again we wouldn’t risk that,” she said.

It also taught her to never allow the downspout on a rain gutter to face the house.

“The lesson I learned from that was I’m never putting carpet in my home again.”

Today, Debbie’s water heater is to blame for her flooded-basement woes.

Wilson said his company sees a lot of flooded basements due to water heaters.

“When you think about the sheer volume of water that’s stored in the tank. [When it] fails or something happens, all of a sudden you got 40 to 50 gallons just sitting there waiting to escape,” he said.

Warning signs to watch for

Wilson said a water heater should last between 10 and 15 years, but the best practice a homeowner can take to mitigate flooding risk is to inspect the heater occasionally.

“You shouldn’t have water outside of the water heater down in the basement. Do you have rust on the top? Do you see water dripping on the top of the water heater? Look around the floor. Are you seeing signs of water down there?” he asked.

“Is there a drip from the spigot on the side of the water heater? Are there signs of water around the basement floor drain? Is there a trail of water going from the water heater to the floor drain?” Wilson asked. “Just don’t ignore the warning signs.”

Tree roots

Debbie said that several years ago tree roots clogged her sewer line. 

“A lot of homeowners might not realize that they’ve got tree roots covering their sewer lines that back up the whole line into their home,” she said.

Wilson said using a router to remove roots blocking the line will work in the short term but may not in the long run.

“If you’re in a situation where the only way you’re able to keep that sewer line open is by routering it every couple of years, the more of those roots get into the line, it can actually weaken the integrity of the pipe and eventually you could end up with a blockage that you can’t repair,” he said.

Wilson added there are companies that can send a high-definition camera down the sewer line to inspect where the root blockage is originating, how significant the damage is, and find a permanent solution for keeping the line open.

Also, he said if your neighbor has a root intrusion into a sewer line, that should be a warning sign for you to watch out for the same.

For more information or tips, visit the Be Ready Utah website.

Floods: What you should know when living in Utah

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. 

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Expert gives tips on preventing a flooded-basement emergency