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How to Find a Leak in the Basement


It can be stressful to find a leak in your basement, but finding it is just as important as fixing it. The very first step that must be taken is to find the cause of it, which can vary.

Common causes of leaks in the basement include condensation, leaking water pipes or underground water seepage. But regardless of what it is, it’s also important to find our where it is.

Keep in mind you may find mold along the way as it commonly grows in dark musty areas, especially with leaky basements. It’s advised to wear a mask, gloves and safety glasses while you’re looking for the leak.

Foundation LeaksWater Damage in Crawlspace

Look for the obvious signs of damage like cracks in the wall where water may enter. After a storm, you may notice the water running down the wall from where the crack formed. If it hasn’t rained in a while, small cracks may be harder to find, but a flashlight will be handy to find and repair these areas.

When determining whether the leak came from a crack in the wall or condensation, you can tape a small square of foil to one of the walls and leave it for a few days. When you remove it, the location of any moisture will expose the issue.

Moisture on the front of the foil will indicate the problem is caused by condensation while moisture on the inside will indicate the problem is caused by a leak. If it is condensation, the best way to deal with it is to set up a dehumidifier and remove all moisture from the room.

Look for Deposits

White deposits or signs of dampness on the basement walls will indicate a deposit which commonly grows on concrete walls. The leak or crack should be closely located to the white deposit so it shouldn’t be too hard to find.water damaged ceiling next to window

1. Paint

If you notice any peeling paint, this is a sign of a leak. Look carefully and peel back the paint to identify the source of the leak.

2. Mold

Any mold or mildew on the wall, ceiling or foundation will indicate a moisture source in the basement. As long as there is moisture present, mold will develop within 24 hours and feed off the structural materials. It can also spread spores and trigger allergies and breathing issues.

3. Floor Tiles

If you notice any floor tiles that have become raised or any signs of rust on the floor, it is most likely caused by water in the basement.

4. PipesFrozen-Pipes

Basement leaks are commonly caused by the water pipes. Inspect your pipe carefully and identify any drips or tears. Also keep in mind the possibility of frozen and burst pipes in the winter. When the water inside them freezes, it expands and pushes on the inside of the pipe. The extra pressure will eventually form a tear, sending water everywhere.

Also keep in mind a continuously running toilet may be the cause of the leak. You may also want to check around the toilet for any signs of water seepage.

Call a Professional

If you’re not able to find the source of your basement leak, general contractors should be able to help. Regardless, it’s important not to wait to long to have it fixed as it will only become worse over time. Many professionals in the area should also be able to repair the leak as well as locate it, such as a licensed plumber.

Repairing a Crack in the Basement

If you do find a crack in the foundation wall, you can either hire a professional or do it yourself. Just know if you do it yourself, it’s essential to have the right tools and equipment before getting started. You can actually purchase a basement crack repair kit either online or at your local hardware store.

Each kit will come with everything you need to get the job done yourself: sealants and injection guns. They are expensive – around $150 or more – but they can be useful for having everything you need.

Allow Dry Time

Before sanding or painting the affected area, it’s important to give the area proper drying time. Depending on how dry the basement is, the process can take anywhere from a 24 hours to a week.

But you may be able to speed up the drying process by placing a fan in front of the area. Just be careful not to place it too close, or else the repair won’t set properly.

Water Damage RestorationFlood-Restoration-Hastings-NE

While it’s important to find and repair any leak in the basement regardless of the cause, it’s also crucial to address the damage caused by the leak. Any water or seepage can destroy belongings and porous structural materials like insulation, drywall, wood beams, carpeting and more.

For situations in which the amount of water damage is overwhelming, it’s important to contact a water damage restoration professional right away. For those living in the Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, NE areas, ServiceMaster is available 24/7 to respond.

Our professionals are ready to respond right away to your first call, extracting any standing water and drying out the affected areas. We will set up advanced drying equipment including air movers and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the affected materials and air spaces. We can also provide mold remediation services if needed.

During the drying process, we will apply anti-microbials to prevent any mold growth. Finally, we will repair the area that led to the cause of damage, such as a crack in the wall. After the service, we will work with your insurance adjuster during the claims process for additional peace of mind.

Contact Us

For professional water damage restoration services in the Lincoln, Grand Island or Omaha, NE area, contact ServiceMaster by phone or filling out a form.