Tips on Cleaning a Flooded Basement
Every householder with a basement dreads the horror of the rains turning his/her basement into an island. Unfortunately, unfinished or finished basements are susceptible to flooding for numerous reasons. Maybe the downspouts and storm gutters are blocked or plagued with holes, making the water flow over them, down to the edge of the house instead of flowing away from the house. Or maybe, the water table is situated high on the ground; when the ground gets saturated, and the rains continue to pour, the water needs somewhere to go. If the foundation of your home has got any cracks, the water will find its way there. Basically speaking, flooding can be attributed to torrential rains, a faulty sump pump, and insufficient drainage around the basement walls.
Many homeowners are already aware of this problem and have chosen to install a sump pump to rectify the situation. However, losing electrical power can cause basement flooding if the sump pump only utilizes electricity. This will increase chances of mold growth and damaged stored items. Also, staying warm will be a challenge due to dropped temperatures and the inability to turn on your heater.
If your basement was to get flooded, do not resign into hopelessness and wish for a miracle. You can deal with this soggy disaster. Here’s how.
What to do right away
When facing a flood, fast action is necessary if you want to minimize a rising catastrophe- and the money you will spend to repair it. Here’s what you need to do during the initial stages of cleaning a flooded basement:
- Turn off the power or call an electrician, for safety reasons. Do not step into the standing basement water. You might get shocked or electrocuted!
- Stop the water from flowing. How to do this will depend on the source of the water. If the water is from malfunctioning or broken pipes, turn off the water shut-off valve. If it’s a sewage backup, avoid running faucets and flushing toilets. You can ask for pumping services from your local wastewater authority. If you own a septic system, though, you will have to call a septic company to have the tank pumped ASAP!
- Look for a plumber with a high-end pump. Cleaning a flooded basement is not a DIY project, especially if the flooding is enormous. You need a high-capacity pump to get it done fast. The longer the water stays in the basement, the longer your drywall sits under water, and the more long-term damage. Remember the more the damage, the more it will cost you to repair.
- You can take some photos if you will need to use them when filing a claim.
The right equipment for your basement cleanup
A basement flood cleanup requires the following equipment: wet vacuum and a portable sump pump. You can buy these types of equipment the moment you realize your basement is flooded, or borrow one from someone you know. Additionally, some stores rent out these tools.
There are some few things that you will need to know when determining which tool you are going to utilize. The sump pump requires an outlet to remove the water. Note that when your basement is flooding, the open drains in the basement may not be available for draining. You will probably need a long hose to affix to the sump pump and hang it out your window, far away from the house.
If you decide to use the wet vacuum, note that it will not take long before you have to unload the holding receptacle. Despite being able to hold more water, the wet shop vacuum is heavier and a bit difficult to empty. So, make your choice wisely.
Removing the water
After getting the required equipment, it’s time to start removing the water. Begin with the area that is likely to sustain the most havoc if the water sits. You can also begin from the highest section where water is the lowest, then work your way through to the large amounts of water.
Drying out the basement
After getting the flood water out, open the basement windows to allow air circulation and reduce the possibility of mold growth. Fans also assist with circulation and ventilation.
If the heating system is still in good working condition, turn the heater to a higher setting in order to speed up the drying out process. You should, however, not forget to open the windows so that the moisture that is present in the air can escape.
Things to note when dealing with basement flooding
- It is important to act fast to be able to reduce repair costs.
- Be very careful when using any electrical appliances in a flooded house
- Do not turn on wet electric devices because they may overheat, start a fire, or cause an electric shock.
- To save some money, you can do some of the cleanings yourself. A pro is however needed to offer a thorough cleanup.
- Just because you have homeowners insurance doesn’t mean you are fully covered. It is important to check with your insurer before a flood happens.
Basement flooding can pose a lot of problems for homeowners. Avoid mold and keep warm with the above tips. Always remember that as much as you would like to do a DIY basement cleanup, it is recommended that you hire a water damage contractors. These specialists have the training and expertise needed to dry your basement properly and clean and dry any affected belongings. They utilize scientific drying principles and offer documentation and validation that your home is dry.