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Flooded Basement Cleanup 101
Studies have shown that 98% of all basements will suffer from some form of water damage at some point. Such a high percentage means that it basically becomes a matter of when, not if, homeowners will have to deal with flooded basement cleanup.
It isn’t hard to understand how this happens. Basements are the single lowest lying area of any structure, and water loves to run downhill. No matter where you are standing, 2+2=4. As with any case of water damage in the home, it is important to begin the flooded basement cleanup and water restoration process as soon as possible in order to avoid any further problems.
Firstly, locate the source of the water and shut it off. This not only prevents more water from coming in, but should also allow you to determine the type of water you are dealing with, if there are contaminants involved, etc. If you find that you are dealing with contaminated water, drop everything and call in professional help.
Water will need to be removed using either a wet dry vacuum unit or a gas powered submersible pump (again, depending on the depth of the water). One mistake that is often made is for homeowners to attempt to pump the water out too quickly. This may cause uneven pressure, putting stress on the foundational walls and making them prone to collapse. Water should be pumped out at the rate of about a third a day. Slow and steady are the watchwords here.
Always think safety when working in and around flooded basement cleanup. Wear long sleeves and pants, water proof boots, heavy duty gloves, and eye wear. In cases where mold may be a problem, make sure you have a filtration mask or HEPA approved respirator.
All utilities should be shut off at the source. Remember that gas and electricity do not mix, even for a minute, and that leaking gas can be ignited by even the smallest spark. Better to just shut it all off. If you cannot reach the switch to do so, call in professional help.
Once the water has been pumped out, open all doors and any windows to get air circulating through the basement. Air circulation is crucial for thorough drying coverage. This process may be helped along through the use of high velocity fans, blowers, and dehumidifiers. The more the better. These units should be moved around every few hours to allow for complete drying, and it may take a day or two for all surfaces to be dry to the touch.
If the water is allowed to sit for too long without being treated, you will most likely end up with a mold problem. Basements are common sites for mold anyway, and any form of water damage only exacerbates the problem. While small mold growths may be successfully remediated by the homeowner, larger growths should always be taken care of by a professional. The risk to the health of family members or other occupants is too great to ignore.
For the best results, contact your local Clean Trust Certified flooded basement cleanup and water damage restoration professionals.