Cleaning a Flooded Basement
Many homes across the country have been constructed with a basement. Homeowners generally view basements as a wonderful feature to have in a home. Unfinished basements typically provide the homeowner with a great space for storage, and finished basements can provide additional living space, enhance property value and more. However, as beneficial as basements may be, they are prone to one common and costly problem. Basements can often flood due to a variety of reasons, and this creates an incredible and expensive mess for the homeowner to clean up. Regardless of whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, cleaning a flooded basement should be a top priority that receives your undivided attention. After all, water in your basement can destroy your stored items, furnishings and more. It can also lead to mold growth and can cause other costly issues for you to contend with. When not properly addressed, it can even detract from property value. To properly clean a flooded basement, you should follow a few important steps.
Remove the Standing Water
One of the most important first steps to take when dealing with a flood in your basement is to remove the standing water. Many individuals will file an insurance claim for a flooded basement, and they will use the insurance proceeds to pay for a professional water damage restorations team to do this work. Professionals will use powerful extraction equipment to quickly remove standing water from the home. If you attempt to remove the water on your own, you may use a sump pump or other extraction equipment. If there is only a small amount of standing water in the space, you may also use a mop, towels or a bucket to remove the water.
Dry Out the Area
It is not enough to simply remove standing water when you are dealing with a flooded basement. When water enters your home, it increases humidity levels. High humidity leaves make the space ripe for mold growth to develop. The longer the air remains humid, the more susceptible the space is for mold growth. With this in mind, you must develop a strategy for dehumidifying the air. Professionals will use powerful dehumidifying fans to accomplish this goal. If you are taking a do-it-yourself approach to dehumidifying your space, you may rent or purchase similar equipment for your space. These fans may need to operate for several days in some cases. You generally need to have a measuring device available to check the humidity level in the air. Ensure that the humidity level has dropped to a reasonable level before you remove the fans and begin repairing the damage.
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Repair the Water Damage
After all signs of water damage and moisture have been removed from the space, you can assess the damage and make a repair plan. Standing water can leave behind stains, damaged drywall and furnishings, damaged electrical components and more. Generally, you need to address each issue in the home. When damage is widespread, an insurance claim can provide you with funds needed to repair the damage, and you likely will be able to afford a contractor’s services for this endeavor. If you attempt to do the work on your own, it may take you many weeks or longer to fully address the scope of the damage. In some cases, furnishings, cabinetry and more may be unsalvageable and may need to be fully replaced.
Test the Area for Mold
Mold requires two conditions to thrive, and these are darkness and moisture. A flooded basement is the ideal environment for mold to grow, and it only takes a few days for mold growth to begin. With this in mind, if humidity and moisture were present in your home for more than a few days, it is imperative to test the area for mold growth. There are several do-it-yourself mold testing kits that you can use to determine if this substance is present yourself. Professional mold testing is another option. In addition to testing, keep your eyes open for mold development in the coming weeks. Mold can be unhealthy and even toxic, and it requires professional remediation for the best results. If mold is present, you may need to halt repair efforts to deal with the mold remediation process.
Know When to Hire a Professional
Some homeowners will immediately call their insurance company to file a claim and will also contact a water remediation company for assistance at the first sign of a flooded basement. Others may prefer to avoid using insurance proceeds and may attempt to repair the damage on their own. As you can see, cleaning a flooded basement on your own can be a monumental task. Each step must be properly handled before moving on to the next step. Professional machines and testing equipment will need to be used. In addition, because restoration affects the condition of your home and its property value, quality craftsmanship is important. While some have what it takes to generate professional results, others will benefit from hiring a contractor to assist with all aspects of the extraction and restoration project.
Prevent Future Floods in Your Basement
If your basement flooded once, there is a good chance that it will flood again. Cleaning up after a flood can be an incredible and costly undertaking, and this is likely an experience that you want to avoid dealing with in the future. With this in mind, you can take steps to prevent future floods. Common steps include sealing your basement, installing a sump pump with a backup generator, adding covers to window wells, installing gutters, grading the ground away from the home and more.
A flooded basement may be easy to overlook for some who rarely use their basement, but the reality is that it can be devastating for the home’s condition and value. Ideally, water extraction will begin at the first sign of a flood, and you will continue to walk through these steps to fully clean up after the flood. If you feel that the work is beyond your abilities, hire a professional to assist with the process.