Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Another Day, Another Disaster

By now, You The Reader must be nearly as tired of my unending whining as I have become -- it makes me want to puke -- yet here I are again.

As you may have noticed, it's been raining a lot in the Midwest. And you may remember that the basement here at Roseholme Cottage has proven itself to be less than perfectly water-tight. We'd had a little water ingress of late; not as much as we've had in previous years, which had led to my feeling a bit self-congratulatory about the work I've done with installing gutters and cleaning the older ones, adding nifty extensions to the downspouts and so on and so forth. Pride, 'tis written, goeth before a fall. Or a damp Spring and damper Summer.

I try to be mindful of the odds of water on the basement floor; the shocking shortage of closet space means a lot of my clothes are down there in baskets and on clothes racks, and of course the ham shack, radio workbench and gunsmithing benches are all in the basement, along with a lot of parts and projects storage.

With all the tree problems, I haven't been paying as much attention as I should. There's a lot of "at risk" stuff down there and I've already lost the bet on some of it. How much, I'm still finding out. And mopping up. (Took a break to eat dinner -- I had a long day of hard work, nearly all of it out in the heat and the rest of it, well, this was "all personal stuff out of the North Campus" day and that used to be where my office was: lotta stuff, too many memories).

See, there was more water on the floor down there this morning than last night. Today when I got home there was...a lot. Sixty to seventy percent of the floor is wet. Oh, not very deep water, a sixteenth or in some spots an eighth of an inch, but as much as I mop, there's more. The dehumidifier is running flat-out. And I was fresh out of mops; came home, unloaded useless personal junk from car (Hewlett/Packard AC voltmeter, audio-though-low RF test osicllator, Hallicrafters SX-28 communications receiver: "junk") and walked downstaris to A Problem.

Even some of my woodworking projects were in the basement, like the big "window seat" I keep trying to finish for the library/dining room. I had the base assembled -- a six-foot by two-foot rectangle of 2x8 left over from a flooring project and it was tucked into the hamshack corner, standing on edge. Thought I had it propped up on something waterproof. I did not. It's been soaking up water all day; it's a goner. The other pieces I had cut but not assembled and they're on a 4x8x16 raw concrete block -- tick, tick, tick, unless I get real clever real fast.

My toolbox stand also soaked up water. I made a run to the building-supply store and it's up off the floor on waterproof feet now, for whatever good it will do. I can knock together another one easily enough...in my copious free time....

Don't know what else is shot yet. The shipping box for a touchscreen (CRT) all-in-one Windows computer, for sure (but the computer was and is safe upstairs. Not a powerful machine but kewl as all get-out, want it? First hundred and a quarter plus shipping owns it). Tam has some books at risk that I'll have to move. A few other boxes.

Heap big fun, no? --More rain in the forecast, last I knew. Tellya what, much as I loathe the idea, I am ready to get into some middle-sized debt to have my basement actually waterproofed...or at least drained well enough to prevent this sort of problem.

And I was looking forward to a nice, quiet evening, sorting out radio junk and salvage, listening to the ham bands. Fat chance!


SordidPanda said...


You can go into less debt with the sump pump route.

I'm sorry for the flooding, it's a pain I know. Consider looking for a "wet/dry" shop vac to help with rapid cleanup.

Good luck, and I hope your losses are minor.

John B said...

We're not tired or it.
You're like an Irwin Allen Series, only hot.

Anonymous said...

Our basement leaks after about three days of really hard rain. We've had pros in, and they've all said that it's impossible to leak-proof the basement, because the house is essentially 'floating'. We get the same kind of rivers - about 1-16 to 1-8 inch over about half the basement. We do have a drain fortunately, and the floor is properly graded to guide all the water to said drain, so we just have to wait it out and let it drain.

Keep electrical cords off the floor!

About the only way to keep a basement dry is to have proper drainage outside, so the water has no opportunity to come inside.

That said, the solution we've used in our basement is that everything in the path of potential water is on pallets which have castoring wheels on the bottom, so they can be moved when the indoor rivers start.

The pallets are just 2x4s nailed into a square, covered with 3-4 ply, with four castoring wheels mounted on the bottom.

Good luck with the indoor floods.

Carteach said...

Wish I lived close enough to help.

NYEMT said...

Echoing AM - a sump pump is quick and easy, especially if you have a low spot where the water collects while the rest of the basement is still dry. Over the past 18 years in the fire service, I've pumped out a LOT of basements. Seen some clever setups, and some not-so-smart ones. The most important things to protect (and the ones most people don't consider, in the race to save their "stuff") are your furnace or boiler, hot water heater, and your electrical service. They're all often located in low areas or corners, and if submerged, can cause BIG problems.

And as A. Nony Moose pointed out, the only way to waterproof a basement is to provide adequate drainage OUTside, so the water can't collect and run INside. Beware of paint-on stuff that claims to waterproof the walls - there ain't no such animal. Get someone in and excavate around the outside of the house, and install a curtain drain around the footing.

wv: "turde" - which brings up another sensitive area you don't want flooding - your sewer outlet to the septic system or municipal sewer. :)

Rob K said...

We used http://www.sanitred.com/ on our concrete basement. It's kind of expensive, but it works. If the stupid floor drain pipe wasn't broken under the concrete, there would be no water coming in. This stuff is also used to waterproof boats and swimming pools.

And you can make the hour drive north to my place if you want to see it.

BobG said...

Damn, when $hit happens it comes in bunches, doesn't it?

Dr. Feelgood said...

The sump pump in my basement saved us over the last several days of torrential downpour. It was all I could do to keep the backup going on battery power during a 30-hour outage over the weekend. I've been rudely introduced to the need for a portable generator.

The big problem is that one of the six cottonwood trees that fell in my backyard severed the sump discharge line, so my basement pump is now filling a good sized pond where the roots of said tree used to be. Here's hoping insurance will kick a little my way to help fix it.

Gewehr98 said...

Hallicrafters SX-28 receiver = "junk"?

Please say it ain't so. I spent too much time getting my own ex-CIA Hallicrafters SX-28 re-tubed and running perfectly to let it be called junk. Junque, perhaps, but not junk. ;-)

Drang said...

Tired? Nonsense. What are friends for.

(Easily said when I'm two or three time zones away, far to inconveniently far to be asked to help move bodies...)

sam said...

I guess when it rains, it really does pour!


Roberta X said...

'Hallicrafters SX-28 receiver = "junk"?
Please say it ain't so.'

It isn't so by me and that one was used to beat a freq counter's timebase against WWV, for which purpose, in that location, a front end that will handle very hot RF levels and good selectivity are all that is required. OTOH, among the North Campus's high-high-tech equipment, it was the very sorest of sore thumbs and not a small one. Too, the kind of freq checks the counter was used for, we really can't do any more. There's a way to do it but it takes another expensive part that we don't have and won't be getting. There's a recession on, after all.

Roberta X said...

BASEMENT: semi-official word has it thee is an "underground river" (strata of gravel/high water table) under my house and the neighbor's. I'm gonna have some water no matter what. Probably, the trench/sump/waterproofing inside and out approach would solve 90% of my water problems, but I'm going to have to go at it gradually.

--Also, my MGB is going to get sold, which will give me some room in the garage. I've put it off; I hate to give it up but I will never be able to afford to get it running again, let alone make it nice.