Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)

As you may recall, I mentioned about a week ago that our basement was beginning to flood. I say beginning because I now know that what I saw last Saturday was truly only the beginning.

Our basement does get wet every now and again (see related posts), but this time it was different. Usually the water recedes fairly quickly on its own (unless there is a ridiculous amount of rain for days upon days) and for reasons unknown, it was not only not receding, it was getting deeper!

The rise was slow, so we kept hoping that once all the snow had melted, the water would all leave and we could begin the clean up. Little did we know, that the melting snow was not the source of the flood!

By Wednesday (March 10th, about five days after we first saw water in our basement) most of the snow had melted, but the water level continued to rise. In fact, it rose so much that it extinguished the pilot light on our water heater. Jen noticed there was no hot water, and figured that’s what it was. She was right.

I waded through the swamp and discovered that the water was just under the place where it would do the same to our furnace, so I went outside to see if there was anything I could do to stop this crazy, relentless flow of water!

As we studied the flowing river that our front sidewalk had become, we just could not figure out where the real source was. Especially since the snow was gone. We figured it was coming down the hill to our south, but couldn’t see the water streaming from anywhere else, and well, most of the snow had already melted. It really seemed like the water was just coming from the ground!

Turns out… it was.

I finally took a much closer look, and discovered a nice little “spring” welling up from the ground. Lovely.

So, turns out, not only was our ground being saturated by the melting of about one foot of snow… it was also being aided by a “faucet” running for more than five straight days.


All of this after I just got back from having some maintenance work done on our van to the tune of several hundred dollars. Not that it was in any way an unfair price, or even a shock … just saying. All I could think was how much the clean up from all this was going to add to our expense line this week…

I made all the appropriate calls, and the appropriate people jumped (well, kinda jumped) to action. The town’s water guys were out and found the problem right away. They shut it off at the source of the leak, but then about 10 minutes later, they turned it back on. When I asked about this, they said that the tenants in the apartment next to us (where the leak was) didn’t want their water shut off, so…

Um… seriously? Meanwhile, our basement water level continues to rise???


So, the fire department (who at first was unreachable…) finally got there (actually, was nice to see an old friend was part of the team of guys sent out to respond) and when they found that our basement has no sump pump—or drain of any kind—informed me that they could not help.


So, with the water still running… and the water level in our basement still rising… I took matters into my own hands. I got our 8-gallon wet/dry ShopVac out and started sucking!

50 trips (400 gallons, 3,340 lbs) later, I felt like I had barely made a dent! Really! It was only maybe an inch or two lower! Ugh.

Thankfully, we have good friends. One of those good friends heard of my trouble and offered to bring over his portable pump. (He heard of our trouble because he is also a web client of mine and we were talking about his website being hacked and all the files being deleted that very day! Yeah… fun day…) 🙂

He arrived just after my 50th trip to dump out more water, and was a very, very welcome sight. That tiny pump was awesome! We drained it into the washing machine drain, and within a couple hours, we could see the floor again.

Now that the floor was visible, so was the source of water. I could see the places the water was coming in, and astoundingly, it was coming in just as fast as the pump was pumping out! My goodness! So, I wasn’t sure what to do. It was very late in the day at this point, and I was completely exhausted. I decided not to leave it pumping all night, and would just run the pump again in the morning.

Believe it or not, with the water still flowing outside—yes, the town left the leak leaking all night—the basement had another FOUR INCHES of water in it (on the deeper side). Ugh. Ugh Ugh Ugh.

So, I got pumpin’.

They finally shut off the leak just after 9am. As soon as they did, the pump finally caught up and I had fairly dry floors. Under an inch of standing water (in the lowest spots). A plumber came and repaired our water heater for us. (They gave us a break on the price, too, which was nice. Felt bad for the crazy week we were having. And likely won our business for as long as we’re in this house.)

All was getting back to normal.

BUT… there was still the washing machine.

The day prior, I had tried to empty the water I was pumping by putting it in the washer and running it on spin cycle to pump it out into the drain. When I did this, the washer made some weird noises and did NOT pump anything out. Great! But, now that stuff was beginning to settle down, I got a chance to look at the washer.

I hoped that a sock was stuck in the tubes or the pump or something. What I discovered was that the motor just was not going to work anymore. It was making a strange sound as it struggled to turn the barrel. And then it just couldn’t. I reluctantly chalked it up to one more thing the flood had claimed.

Do you know how important a washing machine is to a family of eight? 🙂

This was not good news.

However, we have good friends. We were heading out that night (oh yeah… it was our daughter, Julia’s, 4th birthday… not the most fun way to spend a birthday…) and asked our friends if we could do a load of laundry (or two), not knowing when we’d get a replacement part, or washing machine. They agreed … and more than that, did two loads for us while we were out celebrating Julia! Even folded it!

We do have good friends. 🙂

We’re still not done with the clean up, but in the “good news” department, there is no more standing water in the basement. There are even dry spots! AND… as I was putting the washing machine back together this morning, I decided to give it one more try…

It worked!!!

Apparently it was just not dried out enough when I was trying to get it going yesterday. That, or God decided to give us something to smile about?

Maybe both.

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