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MrGrimm888's avatar

How can I stop water from coming into my house? (If it's possible )

Asked by MrGrimm888 (14707points) October 5th, 2016

Last October I lost pretty much everything I owned to a flood. I blocked the door, and my window with clay from our yard. The seal was water tight. But as the rain fell the water got to knee deep around my house, and then the water seemed to just come in everywhere.

I’m on a cement slab, at ground level.

Hurricane Mathew is potentially going to hit my city (Charleston SC. )

Does anyone have any ideas about how to keep the water out?

I’ve been told that the water can come up through the concrete slab, so even if I put sandbags all around my house, it would still flood.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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19 Answers

janbb's avatar

I don’t know but sent this to LuckyGuy – our resident engineer and disaster planner.

Wishing you luck and hoping to avoid it in NJ later in the week.

SmashTheState's avatar

We just passed the 400 ppm mark of CO2, something the Earth hasn’t seen in tens of millions of years. The ecosphere is a stochastic system, which means it’s highly resistant to change; in order to modify it, immense amounts of energy have to be pumped into it. But once that change begins, the equation flips and it takes equally immense amounts of energy to stop that change. We’ve spent 200 years pumping energy into the system and it’s no longer physically possible for us to stop what we’ve done. The environmental changes we’ve initiated are permanent and will last for thousands of years.

Among the other changes, storms are now more frequent, and when they occur they are more destructive and less predictable. Any attempt you make to fix this problem has to be permanent, since it’s going to keep happening over and over again. Sandbags aren’t going to cut it. My advice is to begin looking at the solutions people use in parts of the world where flooding is a regular occurance, places like coastal India and Viet Nam. For example, stilt houses are common there. You may as well start looking for permanent solutions now, since the hard cost will be in addition to damages and any other expenses for temporary solutions.

MrGrimm888's avatar

What do you know. @SmashTheState and I in perfect agreement.

I rent the house I’m in, or am one of many roommates. If I owned this house I’d raise it. Stilt houses are quite common where I live. My house unfortunately isn’t.
Several neighbors raised their houses after the flood. It’s expensive, but the effect is probably worth it.

Thanks for the advice. I hope you can raise awareness of our environmental issues. I’m sure you try.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’m pretty sure that most of my city will be underwater in the next 70 -100 years….

Climate change is real.

Judi's avatar

It might be to late but the Aqua Dam seems to work

CWOTUS's avatar

My advice – if you had asked several months ago – would have been along the lines of @Judi.‘s I first read about aqua dams in the context of a man who had put such a coffer dam system around his home earlier this year in advance of the floods in Louisiana. He was laughed at… until people were cruising down his road in motor boats, pointing at his dry house and exclaiming what a genius he was.

I expect that aqua dams will be a common enough “neighborhood” solution in the not-too-distant future, but days ahead of the storm I think the best you can do is attempt to move out or move “up” in the house what you can, because there isn’t now time for engineered solutions.

I do wish you the best of luck.

If you make it through this year, then get together with the neighbors and consider going in together on an AquaDam.

JLeslie's avatar

It might be late for this storm, but you need to probably put in some French drains or swales to create a place the water can go into running away from your house.

If you have clay under and immediately around your slab that’s bad construction. They should have brought in a few feet of other types of dirt or sand to prepare the home site.

Is your property large? Can you dig a little bit of a trench to create a path for the water to flow away where it might be sitting now?

If water is backing up because the sewers fill up and back up in your neighborhood that is an added problem.

Also, if you don’t have gutters on your house carrying the water away adding them could help a lot. You can have the water travel under ground and away from the house through pipes if necessary.

An engineer can help you cure it. He might have you order an elevation survey, or he might do it just by sight. It’s a specific engineer who does this type of work. Call around and you will get to the right one eventually. I don’t remember what they are called.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

It sounds like your home is truly in the “low country” only a couple of feet above sea level. When the storm surge comes or the rivers rise the water will cover or flood everything. @CWOTUS ‘the blue one’ is right, an Aqua dam keeps the water away from the slab and the house.

chyna's avatar

Just looked up aqua dams. They are huge!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Actually ~410ppm was seen around 3 million years ago during the interglacial preceeding the pleistocene epoch. Stochastic processes are actually quite sensitive to initial conditions making them react dramatically to change, or not at all. What that means is that it is incredibly hard to make climate predictions. Runaway warming has not happened on earth even when we were well above 4000ppm. Co2 is only part of the equation that we are just beginning to understand. Pollution is bad nobody disagrees there but climate alarmists have everyone convinced the end of the line is fast approaching. The truth is we don’t know and the likelyhood of that is questionable. Caution never hurt though.

As to your wayer problem, I have some friends in Charleston and their advice would probably be to move to higher ground. Water will eventually win, it never sleeps. The only thing I know to solve this permanently would take some serious geotechnical work. I’m guessing you’re battling groundwater too when flooding happens.

Totally impractical but just for giggles drill a series of overlapping boreholes all the way to bedrock and fill them with grout. Extend these around your property until you have an underground wall completely surrounding your place extend it several feet above ground. Drill a couple of groundwater wells inside that perimeter and pump out the groundwater to a level that keeps it below the level of your slab.

Seek's avatar

For a next-36-hours solution, sandbags and painter’s plastic. Comes in big rolls at Home Depot. Roll it out, unfold it, stack the sandbags on top of one edge, fold it up over the top, and stack a layer of sandbags on top. If you have time, caulk the edges of the plastic to the walls (if you’re just going around the doors instead of around the whole house.

Anything that’s touching the ground level that you need to save needs to go in the attic or be stacked on something that isn’t touching the ground. You can get small styrofoam coolers at the Dollar store – use one for each table leg. Stack the chairs on the table. Roll up the carpet and put that on top of the chairs.

Unhook all your electronics and stack them on the top of your entertainment center. If you’re so inclined, track down a few milk crates to put your couch up on.

At least then, if you still have 4–6” of water in your house, the things that are expensive to replace will be safe-ish.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Thanks everyone. The air dam looks great,but far out of my humble price range.

I already have a decent drainage system, but as @Tropical Willie said, this is the ‘low country.’ I may just have to deal with it. Looks like the hurricane might miss us, directly anyway, so I’ll just have to hope.

We’re going to have a hurricane party Friday when it comes in. We’ll be in a brick building. Hopefully that’ll protect us until the storm is over.

Thanks again everybody.

Peace n love :)

SmashTheState's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me Stochastic systems like the ecosphere are resilient to change because they tend to disperse energy across the entire system through Brownian motion. However, this same phenomenon means that once sufficient energy has entered the system to begin change, it requires an equal application of energy to reverse it. Since the energy we’ve pumped into the environment is the equivalent of 250 years of industrialization, there is simply no way to change it back.

Here’s a citation to a peer-reviewed article which backs my claim.

As for your claim that it’s only been 3.5 to 4 million years since CO2 levels hit 400 ppm, that’s technically true, but it was only briefly that high. The last time it was consistently at 400 ppm or higher was about 20 million years ago. Again, a citation from a peer-reviewed paper.

Judi's avatar

@MrGrimm888, it might be expensive but when compared to the value of your house it might be cheap. If I lived in an area prone to flooding I would have one and just consider it insurance cost

MrGrimm888's avatar

@Judi . Thank you for your thoughtful contributions. I am a renter though. It’s up to the house’s owners to protect it.

We are resilient here. We take all comers. Fuck this storm.

Judi's avatar

Oh! That makes since. I wouldn’t spend 8K to protect someone else’s house either but I might try to get them to buy it!

MrGrimm888's avatar

Na. Their slum lords. They tried to swindle FEMA last year,so it took 7 months for them to repair my house. I lived on a couch for that time, but payed full rent.

I guess it’s my fault, but it’s hard to find a place that will take my dog and me.

It is what it is…..

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