Basement floods can happen at any time and can cause chaos and devastation in your home.
Aside from making your basement unusable, a flood can ruin your belongings and create serious health and safety hazards.
However, no matter what causes water to back up into your home, knowing what to do when your basement floods can help keep a bad situation from becoming far worse.
So when your basement floods, there’s no time to waste! Here are the first steps you should take to minimize risk and damage to your home:
Step 1: Turn Off the Electricity
For your own safety, it is recommended that you do not enter a basement that has been flooded – at least not right away.
Electrical appliances, devices and outlets in your basement can pose the risk for an electrical shock when they come into contact with water.
The first thing you should do, if you cannot access your electrical panel and turn off the electricity yourself, is to call a licensed electrician.
Once the area is safe and free of running electricity, you can enter the basement and begin the process of cleaning up the mess.
Step 2: Remove the Water
Now it’s time to remove the water so you can assess the damage done to your basement. This will likely require using a pump in addition to a mop and towels.
Before you get started, however, check to see if your sump pump is working. This could be the cause of the flood and may need to be replaced.
Otherwise, it can be used to help drain the water from your basement.
However, if there are more than two feet of water in your basement, you may need the help of a professional to remove the water and dry out your basement.
Either way, the important thing is to get the water out as soon as possible before mold has a chance to grow and to speed up the repair and recovery process.
Step 3: Remove Any Wet Items
After the standing water is removed from your basement, it’s time to clear out any wet items such as furniture, boxes and, most importantly, carpets.
You won’t be able to effectively dry your basement, and prevent mold growth, with damp items hanging around.
At this point, take inventory of any items that have been damaged by the flood. It’s possible that your insurance company will compensate you for damaged items (as well as the cost to repair your basement). File a claim as soon as possible.
If you had any valuable documents stored in your basement that did not escape the dreaded flood, quickly get them into the freezer! This can stop mildew from growing so you can deal with drying them out later.
Overall, it’s important to safeguard any belongings you keep in your basement. Now is the time to consider using concrete blocks to keep possessions off the floor or plastic storage bins to waterproof stored items.
Step 4: Dry the Basement
A basement will not, unfortunately, dry on its own.
You may need to gather some fans or an industrial blower to ensure that the entire area is properly dried. Running a dehumidifier will also help with excess moisture and help your basement dry faster.
If you don’t have these pieces of equipment kicking around, you can always reach out to local restoration companies and hardware stores to see if they can be rented.
Apart from blowing air around to dry out your basement, you may want to check for any leaks and cracks around your basement. Moisture can work its way into cracks in concrete and cause condensation – this can contribute to the growth of mold.
If you notice any cracking in the concrete, seal it up with a concrete paint-and-sealer combination to protect your walls, floors and health.
Step 5: Prevent Mold from Growing
We’ve already talked about steps to preventing the growth of mold but it is imperative that you are extra cautious in this regard.
Damp and dark areas, such as a flooded basement, are a breeding ground for mold which can pose a threat to your health and the health of your family.
Apart from ensuring that your basement is completely dry, use soap and warm water to thoroughly clean your walls. Be sure to check your basement every day after the flood to see if mold is growing – if it is, clean it immediately with water and bleach.
You can also set up a HEPA air purifier along with your dehumidifier and fans/blowers to filter out mold spores and allergens.
In extreme cases, you may need to remove and replace portions of your walls if the mold cannot be cleaned.
Step 6: Prevent Future Floods
The final step in dealing with a basement flood, after the area is dried and repaired, is to determine the initial cause so you can prevent another flood in the future.
Here are some common causes of basement floods:
- Heavy rain/snowmelt
- Improper sealing
- Improperly installed downspouts
- Drainage tile failure
- Cracked foundation
- Sewage backup
- Failed sump pump
- Broken, cracked or clogged pipes
- Hot water tank failure
You should talk to a professional to determine what caused the flood as well as what steps can be taken to prevent another from happening.
Dealing With Basement Floods
Basement floods can be an absolute nightmare but, the quicker you deal with the problem, the less devastation you will face in the end. Following these steps can help mitigate costly issues.
If you suspect your plumbing may be the culprit in flooding your basement, please don’t hesitate to contact our team of expert technicians at Peak Sewer & Underground Services. We can help you assess the cause of the flooding and put a plan in action to correct the issues and prevent them from happening in the future.