Who knew we'd be taking the phrase literally? The past week has been quite eventful thanks to torrential downpours in Chicago. Last Thursday morning, John woke up at 3am and heard some strange noises coming from the basement. Turns out a pipe for our sump pump burst and water was spraying out of the drainage well and all over the basement. And since the sump pumps connected to that pipe were compromised, water started pooling on the basement floor.
John yelled upstairs to wake me up. I began calling plumbers at 3:30am while he tried to stop the leak. I left several voicemails and finally talked with someone at 3:45am who could be at our house in 10 or 15 minutes, but not before talking with a plumber that said he could be there at 6 or 6:30am. And no, he wasn't servicing anyone at the time. Dude, if you're answering the phone and not working, why can't you come to our house?
About 15 minutes and $150 later, we had a fixed sump pump pipe. Unfortunately, the inflow of water was still too much for our sump pumps. At its worst, the water was about ankle-deep. We were bailing water into 45 gallon storage tubs and tried our best to keep the flooding out of the finished part of our basement with towels. At one point, we had 4 of the tubs and our slop sink full of water. That's about 200 gallons of water!
Eventually the water reached the carpet. Once the water level receded, we naively thought we could buy a wet/dry shop vac from Ace Hardware, Home Depot, Target, Menard's, or anywhere else on such short notice! Thankfully, a neighbor (without water in their basement) lent us one.
In addition to the shop vac, we had two fans and our dehumidifier running to dry out the basement. We (Yes, I helped do all of this while 34 weeks pregnant. No I didn't go into pre-term labor) also pulled up the carpet that morning and threw out the soggy carpet padding. Thanks to our quick work, we were able to save the carpet itself and later replaced the carpet padding.
As for the unfinished part of the basement, John mopped the floor a few times with antibacterial liquid cleaner. He also sprayed the affected area with liquid bleach. Even though the fans were running and the windows were open, I made sure to stay out of the basement.
All in all, the only thing we lost was a box of textbooks John used to study for an insurance designation. John's fortuitous trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night definitely saved us. Plus, most of the stuff near the sump pump was in the giant plastic storage containers. John joked that a flooded basement is like a homeowners' right of passage. I hope we never have this problem again, but we'll probably get a wet/dry shop vac and a few more shelves and plastic storage bins just to be sure. And now we know which plumber to call in an emergency.