While a flooded basement is something you hope you’ll never have to deal with, it’s a very real possibility for many homeowners. Even if you don’t live in a high flood-risk region, there are several problems that can cause flooding, including plumbing and sewage leaks and foundation issues.
If you have unfortunately experienced flooding in your basement and you’re unsure of what to do next, you’ve come to the right place. Whether the flooding is due to structural issues or a natural disaster, follow these simple steps to mitigate the problem and make sure your basement is clean and safe.
First Things First: What Not to Do
Although cleaning up your basement is important, do not step into the sitting water in your basement until you’ve eliminated other risks and donned protective gear. Coming into contact with the water could be extremely hazardous for many reasons.
If the basement flooding was caused by a plumbing or sewage leak, then the water certainly has bacteria and residue that could be harmful to your and your family’s health. No matter the cause, stepping into the water could also risk electrocution if there was any electrical wiring or outlets in your basement.
Shut Off Your Electricity
Speaking of electrical risks, the first thing you should do is shut off your power to ensure that no one (you or a professional) is harmed during the clean-up process. If you don’t know where the main breaker is or if you can’t access it, call your electrical company to shut off the power.
How Much Flooding Is There?
If there is more than a couple of inches of water, we recommend that you call a professional water damage restoration company. They’ll be able to handle the more extensive damage that can be caused by heavy flooding, and they have the equipment to handle larger scope problems.
If there is less than a couple of inches, it may be possible for you to handle the damage on your own. However, you must use proper protective gear. After turning off the power and before entering the basement, put on waterproof boots, plastic or rubber gloves, and protective clothing. If there is a possibility of mold or if the water has been sitting for more than 48 hours, you should also wear goggles and an N95 or N100 mask.
Locating the Cause
It’s important to determine the cause of the flooding so you can properly solve the issue. If there is a plumbing leak, for example, you should shut off the water and call a plumber immediately. Leaving the leak unresolved will only allow for flooding to happen again.
Potential basement flooding causes:
- Pipe leaks
- Basement windows left open or leaking
- Sewer backups
- Poor yard drainage
- Broken washing machine hose
- Leaking water tank or water heater
Drying Out the Basement
The next crucial step is to remove the water and dry out the basement. Because mold can begin to form within 48 hours, you should do this as quickly as possible.
To begin removing water, use a wet/dry vacuum or a sump pump. A wet/dry vacuum will require emptying the canister more frequently, so it’s best to use this method only if there is a small amount of water. If there is more standing water than a wet/dry vacuum can handle, use a sump pump or call a water restoration company to help move this process along quickly.
After the standing water has been removed, use large fans and a dehumidifier like the ones provided by Pur360 to speed up the drying process. This will help to eliminate mold growth and get it ready for any repairs that need to be done, such as drywall repair.
Remove Wet Furniture and Belongings
You don’t need to wait for the basement to fully dry to begin moving your belongings out of the area. In fact, by moving wet furniture and other items, you can make sure that there is significant airflow to all areas of the basement.
Once you’ve set up the fans, begin moving any furniture and belongings in the basement up to a well-ventilated area. You should also remove carpeting in the basement if you have it since it can encourage mold growth and prevent the floor from fully drying.
Any electrical items that were in the basement, including wiring and outlets, need to be thrown away. Water-damaged electrical outliers and appliances can be extremely hazardous to your home and your household. Call an electrician to help you inspect the electrical wiring in your basement and ensure the safety of the room.
If you have flood insurance or if your homeowner’s insurance covers flooding (typically only flooding caused by specific problems), you’ll need to take photos throughout the entire process and document every possession that was damaged. Keep track of receipts and make sure you ask your insurance representative what they’ll need to provide coverage or reimbursement.
Clean the Basement
Once all water and belongings are removed and the basement is dried, you should clean the basement as thoroughly as possible. Wipe down the walls and floor to get rid of any dirt or debris left behind. It’s a good idea to use either a commercial or natural product with antibacterial properties, since the water may have carried contaminants.
If there is mold anywhere in the basement, you must contact a mold remediation expert instead of attempting to clean up yourself. Although it may seem more cost-effective to do it yourself, the remnants of any mold (which may or may not be visible to you), can cause serious health problems for anyone living inside the home, and it’s best to have a professional ensure its complete removal.
Schedule an Inspection
If you do decide to clean up the basement on your own, it’s still a good idea to call a water restoration company to inspect the area after it’s been cleaned up. They’ll be able to help identify any issues that you may not have noticed and give you clear direction for what still needs to be done.
Water restoration experts have extensive knowledge in recognizing hazards caused by flooding, even those that are not obvious. Investing in their expertise for the safety of your home is very important.
Prevent Future Flooding
Once you’ve had the basement inspected and it’s completely repaired, you can start thinking about how to prevent flooding in the future. This largely has to do with the cause of the flood, and you will have already solved that issue during the repair process. However, there are a few other things you may consider to reduce the risk.
Installing a basement sump pump that automatically pumps water out of the basement is an excellent first-response solution to reduce the amount of damage done. There are some models available that work even in the case of a power outage, which is a great choice if you live in an area at higher risk for natural disasters.
Flood vents are also an option for homes in high flood risk areas. These help to vent out water and eliminate hydrostatic pressure that can damage your home’s foundation.
Pur360 offers professional service, equipment, and materials to help with basement flooding cleanup. Click here to request a free quote today!