What to Do When Your Basement Floods and Who to Call
The first things to keep in mind when you are wondering what to do when your basement floods are to not panic, keep a level head, and use these flooded basement tips for a faster recovery.
It's always good to prepare for these events before they happen, so you can act quickly and get moving on the flooded basement cleanup process quickly and efficiently.
How Do Basements Flood
Basements can flood for a variety of reasons. You could have cracks or holes in your floor and walls, clogged and overflowing gutters, cracked sewer lines, or your sump pump may be failing. Then there are natural disasters like buckets of rain or rivers breaking their banks.
Carefully inspect the walls and floors for any signs of cracking. You can sometimes seal the cracks yourself if they are not bad, but there's a chance you may need to call in professional if the damage is extensive.
Are your gutters sagging, and does water spill over at the slightest drop of rain? Gutters move water away from your house and into the stormwater drainage system.
If they are clogged and sagging from the weight of debris, gallons of rainwater could end up in your basement. Clean out the gutters at least once a year, more often if you have a lot of tall trees in your area.
Old sewer lines can get clogged from tree roots or separated because of shifting earth. When contaminated water from broken sewer lines flood your basement, you will need to decontaminate as well as clean.
Sump pumps are a critical component of a home's water drainage system. They are generally reliable, but they do have many moving pieces that can fail. You can keep your sump pump running efficiently by getting it inspected regularly by a plumbing service.
What to Do When Your Basement Floods
Having a straightforward course of action during a basement flooding will minimize the damage, keep you in control of the situation, and reduce stress levels. These easy-to-follow steps will show you what to do when your basement floods.
1. Cut the Power
Sometimes, it's not just about knowing what to do when your basement floods, because knowing what not to do can save your life.
Never step into the water of a flooded basement unless you are entirely sure the electrical power has been turned off.
Electrical devices like TVs and stereos can store dangerous levels of power for some time after the power has been cut off. Avoid making physical contact with these appliances and have them inspected by a professional.
2. Stop the Leaks
Now that you are sure you can step into the water without getting electrocuted, it's time to see if you can stop the water flow. If it's a burst water pipe, you can quickly shut it down by turning off the main water valve. This should also work for a sewage backup, but make sure everyone in the house knows the toilet won't flush.
You may not be able to shut down the water flowing into your basement if it's because of a natural disaster or a burst pipe outside of the property. In some cases, you may be able to slow the water by laying down sandbags.
3. Pump Out the Water
Getting the water out as fast as possible so your basement can start drying is critical to preventing a mold outbreak. Sewage is also a dangerous biohazard. You may not have the equipment to quickly drain your basement or deal with sewage so call a professional flooded basement cleanup service for help.
4. Start the Drying Process
When you finally remove the standing water, it's time to start the drying process. Basements will need some help with drying out, so you will require dehumidifiers and industrial drying fans to speed up the process.
Getting started drying as quickly as possible is critical to stopping a mold outbreak, but it's unlikely you will have the necessary equipment stashed at the back of your shed. A flood damage remediation company can supply you with all the industrial equipment you need to expel moisture fast and prevent more damage.
5. Call Your Insurance Company
Most insurance policies will cover a range of circumstances that lead to flooded basements, so give your provider a call as soon as possible and let them know about your situation.
Your local disaster restoration company will have a lot of experience dealing with insurance companies. They may be able to help you maximize your claim. Insurance companies are less likely to give you the runaround when they know they are dealing with professionals who understand the industry.
How to Clean a Flooded Basement
Start by moving everything to a dry, ventilated area because leaving them to dry in the basement will take forever. Your yard will provide an ideal location if the weather is in your favor. Wet items will generally require at least 48 hours to dry thoroughly. Anything that is still damp after this time may need to be discarded to prevent mold and mildew.
Wet carpeting and rugs should be removed as quickly as possible. Don't leave the carpet on the floor, as this will prevent the flooring underneath from drying out. You may be able to save your carpet, but it's a good idea to check with your flood remediation company for professional advice.
Basements will usually need several days to completely dry out. Open as many windows and doors as you can to keep the air circulating and help the process along.
Give the walls a wipe down and thoroughly mop the floors to clear away any soil that may have accumulated from the floodwaters. Wet or damaged drywall should also be removed and replaced.
When the walls and floor are completely dry, applying an anti-microbial spray will prevent mildew and mold from growing.
Any type of flooding can be a traumatic experience. However, when you know what to do when your basement floods and who to call for help, you can remain in control, minimize the damage, and get your basement restored back to its previous condition or better with minimal disruption to your life.