We have a guest post this week from none other than Joanna Frasier – working mother of 5 (whom she home-schooled), and partner in the ownership of Frasier’s Plumbing Heating & Cooling.
Joanna loves catching Northwoods Walleye!
Since moving with Phil and their kids back up to Rhinelander to join the Frasier’s team back in 1996, Joanna and her family have worked hard to keep Frasier’s profitable, and a great place to build careers.
Joanna at home with Phil Frasier & members of The Way Outfitters Charity group
In fall of 1996, they began building their home near the home of Phil’s Grandfather and former owner of Frasier’s – Bill Frasier. The home has a basement dug out of the top of ridge near a lake. Like much of the land here in the Northern WI, the soil that they had to sink their basement in to is comprised primarily of sand and some oily clay.
Which is prime for all manor of flooding as it is quite porous where sandy, but where there is clay, it acts like a rubber liner – stopping all water. The danger grows exponentially when you have your own septic system or live near a city storm drain to collect all that water.
That is exactly what happened to Joanna and her family…twice. Here is her account.
“Our first septic flood was during an unusually strong rain storm in the summer. We were at a family reunion during the storm and came home afterward to backed up sewage water in our basement which covered about 1/3 of the basement floor. The torrential rains had washing into our septic tank, overfilling it, and the only place it had to go was in our basement. What made it worse was that we had relatives from out of town, as well as our children, staying in the bedrooms in the basement. The cleanup took time and energy we didn’t have after a long day as we vacuumed and sopped up all the disgusting water then washed the floors with a bleach solution to disinfect them. We lost some items that were saturated with sewage water. It was awful!
Our second flood occurred on an evening when we had some employees over to our home for a dinner meeting. We were just sitting down for a big meal when one of our kids discovered that there was water at the bottom of the basement stairs. Because it was obviously already over most of the basement floor and dinner was sitting on the table, we shut the basement door and went on with our meal and meeting knowing we had a bad situation to deal with afterward. By the time our employees left, a nasty smell was wafting up the stairs. Our basement floor was covered in sewer water that had backed up from our septic tank after excessive rain…again. This time it was everywhere and no room was unaffected. We spent hours that night and the following day getting it dried up and removing the contents of the basement which is where four of our kids’ bedrooms were as well as a bathroom, storage room and rec room. The kids were obviously displaced from their rooms. We set up a canopy in the back yard to protect items we could save as we sorted through all the unsoiled and soiled belongings. It was disgusting, hard work and very smelly and gross! We had to rent a 30 yard dumpster and we filled it with ruined belongings and furniture. Each of our kids lost things that were meaningful to them. Some were pricey items like a guitar foot pedal and amp. There were things we had to throw out that had sentimental value and can never be replaced. That was really hard.
We had to hire a company to come in and disinfect the basement after we removed all the carpet in the bedrooms ourselves (another gross job). They cut the wet drywall off about two feet up from the floor to stop the wicking of the nasty water that was occurring and then disinfected everything. After that, all the wall framing had to be coated with something to prevent mold in the future. Since we couldn’t afford the repairs to the walls at the time, they remained that way for quite a while. We didn’t have flood insurance, so this was not a covered event. It was a big financial strain.
On top of all this, we were only a couple of weeks away from a large event at our business with business owners from around the country coming to spend a few days at our business. Needless to say, the flood added a ton of stress to that time and made it very difficult.
A household sewage flood is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It’s disgusting, stressful, a health risk, financially draining, emotionally taxing…awful. I said back then that I’d be very tempted to move if it ever happened again! I’m grateful we were able to take measures that prevent us from ever having another septic flood again.
As you can see, those experiences were far from pleasant and ridiculously expensive.
That being said, following our recommendations for preventing basement flooding would have really helped. And just maybe, it would have stopped these experiences from happening. It’s not a matter of if conditions will be right for flooding – it’s a matter of when and “Will we be ready?”.
That is why it is essential that you have your Sump Pump and other systems inspected. You need to be prepared, and it is far less expensive that everything else you will be stuck with after your home floods.
We are continuing our $69 Flooding Inspection offer through May 31st, but we all know the flooding often starts before then. Call today and tell us you want the “Flooding Inspection Package.” We’ll send out one of our highly trained technicians to inspect your flood defense systems and give you peace of mind, that your home is safe.