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The Most Common Plumbing Problems in a Basement

Although not all homes have a basement, those that have one need special attention and care. That is because several plumbing connections run through your basement that ought to remain in good shape for your smooth operation. Yet many plumbing problems will affect your basement and your whole house. For example, you deal with cracked sewer pipes in the basement, leaky pipes, and sump pump failure, among others.

By being aware of these problems and understanding their causes, you can easily seek solutions before escalating. You will also know how to prevent them so that you avoid dealing with them as much as possible.

Here is a compilation of some of the most common plumbing problems you will likely encounter in your basement.


Leaky Pipes

Leaky pipes can result in significant problems. They can cause damage to your home, ceiling, walls, furniture, and more and you will have to plan a home renovation even if you didn’t think about it. It also results in wastage of water and thus more water bill on your table. It might be challenging to identify the problematic pipe; however, by knowing the causes of leaky pipes, you can quickly call in a licensed plumber to help you resolve the issue.

What Causes Leaky Pipes?

There are several reasons why your pipe is leaking;

  • Seals are vital in keeping water flow in check as they are around all water connectors in your home. Broken or faulty seals give openings for water to leak out.
  • The improper installation of pipes because of the materials used or methods, hence leaking pipes.
  • Cracks in a fixture.
  • Temperature fluctuations cause pipes to contract and relax. When these changes occur rapidly, they can cause cracks on your line resulting in leaks.
  • Shifting pipes due to erosion, flooding, or any other event may shift plumbing connections causing a leak.
  • Damage on pipe joints.
  • Excess water pressure may cause undue stress on pipes, thus damaging them. In some cases, if the water pressure is extreme, then pipes might burst.
  • Unattended clogs may cause pressure build-up, which damages pipes.
  • Corroded pipes may also contribute to leaks. Corrosion takes place mostly with age. With pipes that are more than thirty years, you run the risk of having leaks. Replacement is crucial, especially if you see signs of corrosion on your pipes like rust.

How Can Leaky Pipes be Diagnosed?

When you see the following, then know that your basement is leaking;

  • Cracked and damp floors
  • Water bugs
  • Stained carpet
  • Stained or warped wood
  • Rust stains on pipes
  • Persistent mold and mildew smell.
  • Efflorescence; white chalky mineral deposits might appear on your wall.
  • Dampness or brown stain on walls and ceilings.

How to Fix Leaky Pipes

While you might get into the temptation of fixing the leaky pipe personally, it may work to your disadvantage since you may fail to recognize the root of the problem. Therefore, you should call professional plumbers near you to help you handle the matter.


Sump Pump Failure

A sump pump is crucial in draining off excess water from your basement; however, its failure can be a messy affair since it serves to keep your home safe from dampness and flooding. Therefore, monitoring your sump pump regularly is necessary, especially if you live in flood-prone areas.

What Causes Sump Pump Failure?

Several issues can contribute to the failure of your sump pump.

  • Electrical power outage.
  • Improper sump pump installation.
  • Overwhelmed pump.
  • Switch problems.
  • Lack of maintenance.
  • Frozen or clogged discharge lines.
  • Wear and tear of the pump coming with age.

How Can Sump Pump Failure be Diagnosed?

The first thing you will notice as an indication that there is a problem is a watery basement. More specific signs to direct you into checking your sump pump include;

  • Strange noise from the pump.
  • Excess vibration when the pump is running.
  • Irregular pump usage makes it more susceptible to wear and tear.
  • A pump that runs at all times.
  • Irregular sump pump cycling.
  • Visible rust.
  • Sticking motor or motor failure.
  •  Frequent power blackouts.
  • If your sump pump has lasted for seven years or more, then it is time to replace it.

How to Fix Sump Pump Failure

Some are related to the installation process when you consider the causes of a sump pump failure, while others appear technical. For a lasting solution, you need to reach out to professionals who will determine the precise cause of the problem. They will therefore work towards correcting it.


Flooding is any homeowner’s nightmare. Flooding can cause a lot of damage in your basement, and it can also be hazardous. Pipes can burst and leak into your home, and flooding can cause mold and mildew to grow. Furthermore, it will cost you quite a good amount of money to fix the problem.

What Causes Flooding in the Basement? 

There can be several causes of floods in your basement. They include;

  • Broken sump pump. Sump pumps are used to remove water from the basement in the event of heavy rain or flooding. If a power outage occurs, for instance, during a heavy rainstorm or flooding event, the sump pump won’t function properly. That can cause significant damage to your home.
  • Broken water pipe. Often, when a pipe breaks, other pipes in the home can be affected as well. Sometimes a broken pipe will cause water to leak through the walls and damage the drywall and insulation, but sometimes it can cause water to seep up through the flooring and into the basement.
  • Blocked drain. Drains are an essential part of the plumbing system in your house. They allow water to leave your home and take any waste with it. If you have a blocked drain, then it can cause water to back up and flood your basement.

How to Diagnose Flooding in the Basement

  • Inspect the walls and surfaces in the basement. If you see signs of flooding in your basement, the first thing you should do is locate the source of the flood. Look for watermarks on walls and other surfaces to see where the water is coming from. You can also use a flashlight to look for water coming out from behind walls.
  •  Watch out for sounds. If you start to hear water pouring into your basement even though you didn’t turn on the tap, it’s a good sign that your basement is being flooded.

How to Fix Flooding in the Basement

As soon as you notice that water is flooding your basement, call a plumber near you. It may cost you an average of $500 to $2800, depending on the extent of damage and the size of your basement.


A well-functioning basement is an asset as a homeowner. It is necessary to conduct frequent checks to ensure that everything, especially your plumbing system, is not faulty. If you notice any sign that could spell some damage, do not hesitate to reach out to a licensed plumber near you. After ascertaining the cause of the problem, they will fix it, saving you from more damage and expenses.

Lyne Proulx
Lyne Proulxhttps://ottawamommyclub.ca/
Lyne Proulx is a Certified WEBB Bodywork Pet Practitioner, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. She loves all things Disney and is an avid teaholic and chocoholic. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

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  1. Great article, I once had a toilet that was leaking from the water hose. Didn’t notice for awhile but it was an easy fix to pick up the part at Canadian Tire and replace.

  2. Thanks for the informative post. We once moved to a house that had really old plumbing. The first time I did a load of washing, I came downstairs to a flooded basement, full of unpacked boxes. It was a mess. Thanks goodness my husband is very handy.


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