When the rains start, a serious problem arises, water damage. Rainfall doesn’t just clog your gutters or drains; your basement becomes flooded as well. This begs the question: What to do when a basement floods?
A flooded basement is always a messy situation. But you don’t have to waste time panicking or feeling helpless.
Apart from rainfall, a broken sump pump, a burst pipe or a clogged gutter could also make your basement flood. The damage is tremendous. From soaked sofas to sopping carpets to soggy boxes, and valuable possessions can be lost.
But you shouldn’t delay. Once your basement floods, you should act fast.
If rain is the case of the flooding, you should wait for the rain to stop before acting.
Cut off power
For your safety and that of your family, calling up a professional flood cleanup company, your power company, or an electrician is vital, depending on the severity of the flood.
A large volume of stagnant water in your basement is a recipe for electrical disaster.
Don’t enter a flooded area when the power is still on. The smart thing you can do is to disconnect your basement from the power source (this includes gas and electricity) and try not to touch wet electrical appliances.
If you cannot disconnect power yourself, call a professional electrician before venturing into the basement. Remember to dry up your electrical items. If necessary, get a qualified repairman to fix electrical damages.
Before doing anything, you have to protect yourself. This means getting rubber gloves, protective eyewear, and boots. Chest and hip waders can be useful too. Walking around a flooded basement is a slipping hazard. Being extra cautious is important.
Find the source
If the flood is caused by a burst pipe, shutting off water to the basement is vital.
If there is a floor drain in your basement, ensure it isn’t clogged. A functioning drain will help dry out the water quickly.
Wearing a pair of rubber gloves, examine the basement drains and steps. This includes the downspouts and gutters around your home.
Then remove any blockage—this includes mud, twigs, and leaves. Take out the drain screen in your basement and clean it thoroughly. A plumber’s snake or a plunger can be used to clear out the muck in your drain.
Getting the water out
Quickly mopping up water is the first thing you have to do. Getting the water out is important to stop the growth of mold—which grows fast in moist conditions.
You can use a wet vacuum to remove a small amount of standing water. Renting, borrowing or buying a wet vacuum is critical here.
Sump pumps are installed in basements to prevent flooding. These pumps prevent water from coming up through the ground and flooding your home.
A working sump pump, a dry/wet vacuum, a pool pump or an old-fashioned mop and bucket can be of great help when dealing with a flooded basement.
If the water damage is critical and beyond what you can handle, I would suggest seeking the services of a professional flood cleanup company.
But if it’s just a few inches of standing water, towels can be used to dry up the water. Note: ensure to wash and dry the towels to stop mold from building up.
If there is carpeting in your basement, remove it immediately. Carpeting can slow down the drying of the floor underneath as well as harbor mildew and mold. And if you can save your wet carpeting, please do. Consult a restoration specialist or a carpet cleaning contractor for recommendations.
Scrub the floor
If your basement has a hard flooring like linoleum and vinyl tile, you can scrub with a solution of chlorine bleach and water (chlorine bleach one cup to one gallon).
Before cleaning, wear protective items like protective eyewear and rubber gloves.
Don’t forget to keep the basement ventilated.
You should clean the walls as well to remove the dirt left behind by the floodwater.
To prevent mold growth, take off any damaged drywall and insulation.
Then you have to get your damp possessions out of the basement and dry them out. You need to do this quickly. For dampened valuable papers or documents, immediately place them in the freezer. This will prevent the growth of mildew on them.
If you are going to keep any possession in the basement, concrete blocks can be used to keep them off the floor. Also, plastic storage bins are safer than cardboard boxes when storing in the basement.
Drying your items inside the basement means risking a mold outgrowth. This means you have to keep your wet items in a dry and airy area. Put them under the sun, if possible. Dry your items thoroughly for 48 hours.
Never save wet cardboard boxes and discard boxes already showing signs of mold.
Keep the basement ventilated
Air circulation is important to dry up your basement.
Putting fans around the basement helps in speed up drying time. Dehumidifiers and fans can come in handy. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, you can rent one.
By air-drying your basement, you will prevent the growth of mildew and mole.
Remember to clean the filters of your dehumidifier regularly.
Allow your basement to dry before putting things back into it.
If there are windows in your basement, open them for more ventilation.
When your floors and walls are dry, the anti-mildew spray is important to stop mildew and mold growth.
Call your insurance
You should call your insurance company and report the flood if you have flood insurance. By doing this on time, you can save yourself a lot of stress. Ensure you get your deductible amount, coverage limits, and claim procedures.
Get a professional
There is no shame in calling a professional if you cannot manage the flood in your basement. Whether it’s a disaster restoration specialist, a basement waterproofing company, or a plumbing contractor. A professional opinion can save your house. You might want to go a little further in waterproofing your basement.