LESLIE: Well, a wet basement certainly can be a frustrating problem but there is really only one tried-and-true way to fix it.
TOM: That’s right. But if all else fails, there is one other option: a sump pump. And here to tell us all about that is This Old House host, Kevin O’Connor, along with the show’s general contractor, Tom Silva.
And Kevin, this is important because a wet basement can be very, very costly.
KEVIN: That’s right. Wet basements cause millions of dollars of damage each year. It’s important to keep your gutters operating properly and if possible, the area around your house should be sloped away from the foundation.
Sometimes, though, you run up against a rising water table and in that case, a sump pump is your last line of defense.
TOM SILVA: Well, you’re right. A sump pump can be essential at keeping your basement dry. It simply collects the water in your basement and it pushes it outside. The sump pump should be located in the lowest point of the basement so that the water can run to it. You can even connect the sump pump up to a French drain that runs around the perimeter of your basement. But again, that water must be pumped to the outside.
Now, most municipalities do not allow you to hook up to the sewer line. Drain that water into the sewer line, they have to treat that water; it costs more money. So just get it outside to a drywell.
KEVIN: OK. So, a lot of times when it’s flooding in the basement, it’s because there’s a storm outside and that storm can knock out the power. If the power goes out, what do you do then?
TOM SILVA: Well, if you’re fortunate enough to have a generator, the generator will kick in and run the pump. But if you’re not, they have battery backup units and they even have a pump that actually works from the city water. So when the city water pressure comes through that pump, it actually pumps the water out of your basement. Again, it doesn’t use any electricity.
KEVIN: And of course, I guess the best idea is just keep your gutters clean.
TOM SILVA: Absolutely. That’s the easiest way to avoid a wet basement, so keep your gutters clean.
KEVIN: Alright. Well, for more information, we have several videos on sump pumps on our website, which is ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Tom Silva, Kevin O’Connor, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. I’m now flush with excitement on keeping my basement dry. (Tom Silva and Kevin chuckle)
TOM SILVA: Thanks, Tom. Good to be here.
LESLIE: Well, you should be excited. You know, fixing a wet basement, it’s actually an easy do-it-yourself project that doesn’t have to cost you a dime. So go ahead and check those gutters; that’s truly where the problem lies.
TOM: Well, for more great tips from the team at This Old House, watch them on TV. This Old House is brought to you by Cub Cadet. Cub Cadet – you can’t do any better.