Top Five Most Common Areas That Flood in a Home
Identify where flooding most often occurs in and around your house and how to deal with water cleanup.
Not only is flooding inconvenient, but it's also a hazard to your home and your health if water damage isn't quickly and properly contained. A flood can ruin your possessions and significantly affect your home's structure, which could result in costly repairs. A professional water restoration company can help minimize the damage and perform any necessary repairs after the water cleanup process is complete. While you can't predict if and when flooding will happen at your residence, you can educate yourself on where a flood is most likely to occur and once you've identified the sources, you'll be better prepared to handle a flood in home.
Reasons for Water Damage/Flooding in a Home
A flood can occur for a number of reasons and more often than not, it's unexpected and happens suddenly. Some telltale signs that flooding may be inevitable include leaky appliances, water spots on walls and ceilings or malfunctioning bathroom features. The exterior areas of your home can also experience flooding or the affects of a flood, such as water damage. Some sources include clogged gutters, downspouts, or drain pipes; a full (or faulty) septic tank; or backed up sewer lines.
Weather is another factor that can cause a flood in the home or a flooded yard. Heavy storms and a long rainy period may contribute to flooding in attics as well as basements (and lower levels of a house) or water damage to a home's foundation, especially if it is already cracked or damaged.
Places and Items Prone to Flooding
While almost any area of your home is susceptible to flooding, some areas are more likely to flood than others, such as rooms that have sinks (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms), or lower-lying areas such as basements and cellars. Learn which parts of your house, appliances and sources are the most common causes of residential flooding.
The bathroom is one of the most likely places that a flood could occur, mainly because there are a number of water sources – sinks, toilets, bathtubs/showers – all contained in one small area. Plus, all of these features are connected to pipes, and if they are clogged or if they're leaking it could lead to a flood.
- Clogged or blocked pipes/drains – Whether it's in the bathtub, sink or toilet, this is usually the main culprit of floods in bathrooms. Malfunctions, such as a leaky toilet or broken toilet float – which can cause water to continuously fill and overflow – are also a common reason for bathroom flooding.
- Forgetfulness – A flood can also be unintentional and due to simple human error. For example, forgetting to turn off the water in a plugged tub or sink is a common mishap.
Since basements are in the lowest part of a house and have a number of entry points for water, they are most likely to flood first if there is a heavy period of rainfall or inclement weather, especially if you live near a body of water, such as a lake, river/stream or the ocean.
- Multiple water sources – Basements, like bathrooms, also have a number of water sources and features such as sump pumps, water/sewer pipes, drains and other plumbing elements.
- Appliances that use water – If you keep your water heater or washing machine in your basement, or have a sink or basement bathroom, these are all potential flood hazards if they are clogged, leaking or malfunction.
- Cracks and leaks – Cracks in the foundation, ceilings, walls, windows/doorways are all susceptible to water seepage, which left untreated can lead to bigger leaks and water damage. A contractor can help repair these problem areas and any damages incurred.
If your roof is damaged – either from weather, a fire or improper installation/contractor repairs – it could be susceptible to flooding.
- Damaged flashing – The most common source of roof leaks that leads to flooding is problems with the flashing. Its main purpose is to decrease water penetration (and help reduce indoor mold problems), and is installed around chimneys, valleys, vent pipes and skylights. If not installed correctly, there could be gaps between the flashing and shingles, which allows water to seep through the roof, into the attic and potentially leak into your living space.
- Leaks – A small roof leak could quickly turn into a big problem and result in flooding and water damage if not addressed immediately. Broken shingles, improperly installed/sealed roofing components and even clogged gutters can all lead to leaks.
Many household appliances use water and are connected to the pipes and plumbing that runs throughout the home. Water heaters, washing machines, dishwashers and garbage disposals could all potentially cause a flood in home if they are improperly connected, broken/have faulty parts, or leak.
- Water supply – It's imperative that there are no leaks or problems with the water supply connected to your appliances.
- Broken and/or leaking – If any of your household appliances stop working and/or start leaking, it's time for a professional to come in and inspect. They may address the issues by replacing a broken or faulty part, but if the appliance is beyond repair, you'll need to start shopping for a new one.
- AC unit – While sometimes overlooked, your air conditioning unit is another appliance that creates water (condensation) and could potentially cause water damage in your home (soaked ceilings, saturated/soggy insulation) if the condensate line is clogged, if the unit’s overflow pan is damaged or if the drainage system stops working.
Pipes run throughout your home – under floors, behind walls, in the basement and even outside your house. Because they are so prevalent in so many areas of a home, a flood could happen pretty much anywhere if you have a badly leaking or busted pipe.
- Clogs – Keep in mind that drains are connected to pipes and if pipes are clogged, drains won't be able to effectively remove water. A plumbing contractor can help repair pipe issues and inspect your pipes and plumbing system to make sure it is in good working order, so you can avoid flooding and water damage.
- Inclement weather – During the winter, extreme cold temperatures can cause pipes to freeze, crack and rupture, especially if they aren't properly insulated.
Depending on the amount of water damage you're dealing with if you've experienced a flood, you may be able to handle the water cleanup on your own. However, if there's a lot of standing water or a pipe or appliance that won't stop leaking, it's best to call professionals for help. Resolve has a national network of contractors who can assist with all types of water cleanup and repairs, and offers a three-year warranty on the work.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.