water infiltration

Then there was this

Water in cellar

It is a magnificent feeling to step in cold water (of questionable cleanliness) first thing in the morning. Not fully awake, still in your pajamas and flip-flops. Yep. Awesome.

This is the landing of our cellar steps. Pictured here is enough water to cover my foot, and is a small sample of what was in our cellar. A neighbor has a ruptured pipe of some sort, which has yet to be properly fixed. This is the third time this has happened since the holidays, but this time they went for extra credit, sending a whole lot of water our way.

One of the things that people don’t tell you about townhouse living is that even though you’re separated from your neighbors by stone, bricks and mortar, what happens on one side of the wall frequently has consequences on the other side. The water pictured here, originated 18 feet away at the other side of the cellar, yet it made its way across the wall in the photo, to say hello to our other neighbor. By the time it got there, it had lost some of the oomph and was more or less just a damp spot.

If you live in a home that is attached to another home, don’t be a dick to your neighbors. To quote Bill and Ted: “be excellent to each other.”

 

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The tyranny of water in its many forms

Fun fact: snow is made of water. Snow melts and turns into water. Water will follow the path of least resistance and end up in the basement. Given its liquid slinky-ness, water flows a lot faster than you’d expect.

Last night, as I was feeling pretty accomplished for asking the Hubs to check on the wonky dehumidifier in the basement. I thought “way to go! We’ll get ahead of all this humidity and make sure the basement is not damp. Yey me, the responsible homeowner.” Without a care in the world, I amused myself by taking the stupid Buzzfeed quiz on what profession should I have, or what Muppet character I should be (CEO, Animal). Hubs is in the basement a looooong time, and eventually resurfaces in a huff. Water is pouring in through the hatch. A lot of water, he says. Our basement is notoriously damp (hence the dehumidifier), but the look on his face makes it clear that this is worse. Much worse.

I immediately think it’s my pseudo snow moat in the front yard. I piled the snow pretty high on top of the coal chute. I thought it was fun. Stupid me, the silly and immature homeowner.

IMG_2093

My moat just needed some water and a drawbridge

Turns out the problem was with the rear hatch instead. A lot of water was coming through and it was hard to tell exactly where, because (of course) this happened around 10 pm. Down the fire escape we go with flashlights and shovels. Did I mention it was raining?

The culprit was a frozen downspout, actually  THE frozen downspout since there is only one for the whole roof. Why? Because in spite of its beauty, Victorian architecture doesn’t always make sense. Anyway, the rain was melting the snow and the water was finding alternate routes to the ground. It just so happens that the best path was into a puddle at the base of the hatch.

After a lot of shoveling and moving stuff out of the way, we concocted this makeshift gutter to channel the water away from the house.

Tarp gutter

Last night’s McGyver gutter as seen this morning.

It actually worked. The problem was this spot, where water was coming down super close to the foundation and just making an enormous puddle.

tarp gutter 2

Shockingly, this held up with the wind and all the rain. Yey 0.7 mil plastic drop cloth.

I don’t have any photos of the water in the basement, as we were in full crisis mode to make it go away. I think we probably vacuumed up about 1oo gallons or so, maybe more. Of course, the wonky dehumidifier that got us started on this is broken. So happy Valentine’s Day Hubs. Haven’t you always wanted a shiny new dehumidifier?