This year has been a record breaking year for rain in California. As of today, February 22, 2005, the rain for this season has climbed up to the #3 spot on the most recorded rain in California. The only two times it has rained more were in the 1800s.

Normally I love rain, but all of this rain has caused us problems with our house. Over Christmas, our floor furnace flooded and was irreparably damaged. We ended up ripping it out and replacing the system with central heating and air conditioning. While it was a nice upgrade, it was also an unexpected expenditure. This past weekend, I found that rain was seeping through the back door of the garage (which sits a little lower than the backyard) and flooding the garage. Fortunately, almost everything in our garage is up on IKEA shelves and off the floor. Even so, it took a better part of two hours to mop up all of the standing water.

Today, we were preparing for the inspection of the new heating system and we opened up the floor to take a look underneath. To our surprise, we found quite a lot of water. It looked like the same kind of flooding that killed our floor furnace. Mike, our foreman from the heating installation, tried testing how deep it was and by dipping a long crescent wrench as well as part of his arm, we determined it was about 16 to 18 inches deep. That kind of water can damage the foundation and promote the growth of mold.

When I looked in the backyard, I found the water draining from our garage roof pours out onto the sidewalk of our backyard, and into the entrance of our crawl space. From there, it streams to the lowest point in the crawl space, which happens to be the place where we found all of the flooding. I placed a tarp and a set of bricks over the crawl space opening, and hopefully that's reducing the amount of new water coming into the crawl space.

On Mike's recommendation, I went to Home Depot to pick up a submersible sump pump. These things are used to drain basements, overflowing swimming pools, and apparently crawl spaces. The pump is completely submerged into the water to be pumped and a garden hose carries the water away. While at Home Depot, I found three other people looking around for pumps and Home Depot had a handy end-cap display. I guess we're not the only ones with a flooding problem.

pump box water
hose draining water

Here are some pictures of our draining operation. In the upper left, we have a picture of the box that the pump came in. In the upper right, you can see the garden hose leading down the hole in our floor into the water. We didn't take a picture of the pump before we submerged it. On the bottom left is our garden hose snaking across our living room across several strips of tarp to the front door. And on the bottom right, we have a picture of the water draining out of the hose into our front yard. Our front yard tilts out toward the curb, and right in front of our house is the drain for the gutter.

We've let the pump run for a couple of hours now and it looks like the water level is slowly dropping. I'll probably turn it off tonight and let it run again tomorrow during the day. The pump is rated for 1470 gallons of water per hour, but in this case, it needs to pump the water up out of the crawl space, and so the pumping capacity is a bit reduced. Hopefully this will all be cleaned up by the end of the day tomorrow, and we'll find a more permanent solution to keeping water out of the crawl space.

Update: Good news! The next day we ran the pump again and all of the water drained in about an hour, leaving only a small puddle under the house. I think that it was draining so slowly the first night we tried it because more water was still streaming into the house from the backyard. We're going to get more rain at the beginning of next week and we'll check to see if we get more water under the house then.