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How To Protect Your Basement From Flood Water Damage

Updated on October 27, 2016

Just two of my weights that received water damage

Water line on my basement wall after the "flood"

The Basement Flood, Oh What Fun

Have you ever had to deal with cleaning up a flooded basement? Recently I awoke to find out my basement sump pump had given up during a heavy thunderstorm. Imagine my amazement while I’m getting ready to go to work and run down to the basement to get some clothes out of the dryer only to find 4 inches of water standing in my basement. My old faithful sump pump had finally given up and I didn’t have any type of water leak detection system in place. How dare it to choose such an inopportune time to quit on me. So here I am expecting a routine Friday only to be shocked into the reality of in life stuff happens and not always for the better or on our time schedule.

So instead of simply doing my Friday work routine and enjoying my weekend, here I stood in ankle deep water in panic mode, looking around and seeing what I could possibly still savage from the flood water. There were my free-weights mostly submerged in water and the power converter for my electrical weight machine floating above them. In the nearby corner was my 2 month old dehumidifier floating, yes my $200 dehumidifier ruined by water, oh the irony. Additionally, a 42 inch flat screen television that I haven’t gotten around to hanging up was sitting in 4 inches of water along with books that I haven’t found time to read and numerous other items that were now totally destroyed.

After installing a new sump pump and “draining” the basement it was time for my wife and me to really enjoy our weekend. A quick call to our insurance agent educated us on the level of our policy deductible along with the clauses in our policy that didn’t cover a lot of the things because the water leak source occurred below grade in a basement. Oh well it was time to get busy and savage what we could and throw out what couldn’t be savaged. Luckily the basement did not have carpet and the walls were cinder block so no sheetrock damage. After a full weekend of tedious work we did reclaim our once flooded basement, but I knew I would never sleep soundly during a thunderstorm again unless I had something to notify me if the sump pump failed and a reoccurrence of basement flooding was occurring. I needed a quality water leak detector. Thus started my quest to find some type of water leak detection equipment that would alert me if I again had water in my basement.

I quickly identified a system to help me sleep in the future. An alarm system that would act like a smoke detector and emit a loud piercing alarm if that dreaded beast called WATER ever showed its face again in my basement. The “white knight” is called, “BWD-HWA Basement Watchdog Water Sensor and Alarm”. It’s designed to emit an alarm anytime its sensor gets wet and it’s very sensitive. So sensitive in fact that if you wet your finger and place the sensors across the wet finger the detector will activate. And boy does it activate, I’m talking about an ear piercing alarm that I would no doubt hear in any part of my house and immediately start my mad dash to the basement sump pump in full flood damage alert. Additionally, there’s a product called Leeo Smart Alert that will recognize the activation of the alarm and automatically send a notification text message and/or phone message to my smart phone (I-phone or Android). I had found my water leak “white knight” and it was available on Amazon for under $12 and eligible for free Prime shipping. Yes, I have Amazon Prime, it’s a great deal if you want to know more click on my article discussing the benefits of free shipping on thousands of items and free books and movies to stream plus much, much more.

Continuous radon gas detector. I was over 13 until a radon mitigation system was installed. Now holding steady between 0.6 and 1.4

The Water Detector

Here are some of the capabilities of the BWD-HWA Basement Watchdog Water Sensor and Alarm:

- Detects unwanted water only 1/32 of an inch deep (that’s really a small amount of water)

- Small alarm module can be hung up or stood up on the floor near a sump pump, water heater or any other likely source of potential water leak sources

- The sensor comes with 6 feet of wire so the module can be placed a distance from where you place the sensor leads

- Loud 110DB alarm (equivalent to the average smoke detector alarm loudness)

- Runs off of a 9 volt alkaline battery but uses a batter saver feature that prolongs the life of the battery. The battery is only used when the system detects water and the alarm is sounding.

Additionally, my “white knight” comes with a 4.6 star rating out of 5.0 on Amazon and the seller has the same rating (no I’m not the seller). Great product, great rating for the product and the seller, life is good. I quickly order my water leak detector, tested it with a couple drops of water and then installed it at my sump pump location. I place the sensors a couple inches above the water line in my sump pump well. I then unplugged my sump pump to run a “real” test on the water detector by pouring water from a bucket into the well, as soon as the water touched the level of the leads the detector alarmed. Almost immediately my Leeo Smart Alert sent me a text notification. So now I sleep soundly even during thunderstorms.

If you are interested in automating all your alarms (smoke, water, carbon dioxide) then read my article on the Leeo Smart Alert.

Water Detection Alarm System

Do you have a water detection system in your home to provide early warning of a water leak?

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