When severe weather hits, there are a lot of different things that can go wrong. After making certain that your family is safe and that the weather has passed, it is time to take stock of your property and see what kind of damage there might be.
You open the basement door, take a few steps down, and see your worst nightmare: your basement has flooded. Once the shock wears off, the next step is to assess the situation and determine what you need to do next.
The key when your basement floods is to be proactive. There are so many things that can go wrong when water damage becomes a possibility, and the last thing that you want to do is sit on your hands and do nothing. When that happens, the damage becomes worse, and your battle becomes an uphill climb more than ever.
Thankfully, there is a guide that will help you get through that trying time, get your basement cleaned and repaired, and get you moving forward with your life. These are just a few things that you should do when you notice that your basement has flooded.
Do Not Enter a Flooded Basement
The first step in the process is to never enter a flooded basement. The reason for this is that, in addition to property damage, the flooded basement can pose a serious threat to both you and your family. Any outlets or appliances that are located in the basement could be submerged in the water, making it the danger of electrocution significant.
If you can’t get an electrician to come out right away, the smart thing is to locate your circuit breaker (so long as it is not located in the basement) and turn off the breaker located in the basement. Those electrical devices or appliances can become very dangerous when they come into contact with that water.
In more modern homes, the circuit breaker is generally in a more convenient location such as the garage or the main level of your home. If you have an older home, there could also be a fuse box that is located outside by your meter. Wherever it is, make sure to cut off the power to the basement as soon as possible and definitely before you decide to enter the basement.
Remove the Water
This is only to begin when you have cut the power from the basement and removed any electronic devices or items that may have been compromised by the water. Once you have completed this task, you have to remove the water so that you can properly assess the damage.
If your basement has flooded, this is a clear indication that your sump pump has failed. If this is the case, you will have to purchase a new sump pump and then use it to drain the water out of the basement. It is important to note that the sump pump will not remove every last ounce of the water; whatever is left will have to be cleaned up using towels and a mop.
Should there be two feet of water or more in your basement, you might be better served to call in a professional service instead. They have the necessary tools to drain the water from your basement and dry it out rather than you trying to remove that much water yourself.
In any event, it is imperative that you get the water removed from your basement as quickly as you possibly can. When the space inside your home is damp, this gives mold a chance to grow. Mold is not only dangerous for your respiratory system, but it can also compound the property damage costs that you will incur.
Deal with Any Damp Objects
The key to drying your basement effectively is that you can’t leave any sort of wet items behind. Removing everything that got wet, and bigger items like bookshelves or couches should be placed in an area where they can dry out. Your garage is a great place for bigger items to dry out.
Ideally, your insurance company will be willing to compensate you for any of the damaged items as well as the cost of removing any mold and repairing your basement. It is imperative that you file an insurance claim with your insurance company as soon as possible after the flood has occurred.
In addition to removing any of the objects that might have gotten wet, you will need to rip up any wet carpeting as well. There are some instances where some of the carpeting is salvageable, but generally speaking the carpet as well as the padding underneath will both need to be completely replaced.
Dry Out the Area
After you have removed any items or carpeting that are wet, the next step is to dry out your basement, as it will not dry on its own. To accomplish this, you will likely need to buy or rent fans to help dry out your basement or even an industrial blower or two.
You can also use a dehumidifier to remove any excess moisture. This will help your basement dry a lot faster, and it will help to minimize the chances of any mold growing in your basement. There are also professional services that you can contact to perform a full dry on your basement and help prevent the growth of mold.
It cannot be emphasized enough that removing all of the excess moisture from your basement is absolutely imperative. That moisture, even if it seems like a small amount, can fester and spread if left unchecked. Worst of all, it can lead to that nasty black mold that will require extra money to remove and could have adverse effects on your family and their health.
Take all the necessary measures to get rid of that moisture before it can stick around and do any additional damage to your basement, home, and health.
Take Any Necessary Steps to Stop the Growth of Mold
Preventing mold from growing might not seem like that big of a deal, but it absolutely is. When conditions are dark and damp (as they can be in a basement that has flooded), these are ideal conditions for mold to begin to flourish.
Mold is a serious health threat, causing respiratory issues if it is allowed to grow inside your home. Not only that, if you discover mold a couple of weeks after the flood, you will probably have to remove entire chunks of drywall.
Should you find mold, the best thing to do is to call in a professional mold removal service. It might cost you a little bit of money, but allowing mold to grow and fester in your home has serious repercussions, and it should not be allowed to persist.
After you have dried out the area that has flooded, you will want to use warm water and soap to thoroughly clean any walls that may have been impacted. When this is complete, you will want to use blowers and your dehumidifier (if you have one) as well as a HEPA air purifier that will filter out mold spores as well as allergens.
From here, check the basement every day after the flood. Keep your eyes open for mold; if you see any areas that look suspicious, clean that area with warm water and bleach to help prevent any mold growth from occurring.
Investigation and Prevention
When you have finally cleaned up the mess that was caused by the flood, the next step is to try to figure out just what happened to cause the flooding in the first place. Maybe a heavy storm hit and flooded your lawn, eventually draining into the basement. Perhaps you have cracks in the foundation of your home. Or maybe your sump pump is shot, and you need to upgrade it to a newer and more current model.
It can be helpful to call in a professional service to provide an inspection in the wake of a flood. This service can help you determine the best way to update your basement, change your landscaping and gutters, fix your foundation, and take any other preventative measures necessary to ensure that your basement will not flood again.
The key here is not to ignore it. Basement floods are at best an annoyance; at worst something that can destroy your property and have serious adverse effects on your home. Once you have taken the steps to clean up the flood and replace anything that was damaged, the next step is to take preventative measures.
The last thing you will want to have to deal with is another flooded basement. There are guides all across the web that can help you take those preventative measures to keep your basement dry, your home protected, and your sanity intact. Be smart about how you approach the situation. Saving money is one thing, but if it makes more sense to involve the professionals, do not hesitate.