A flooded basement can give even the most experienced homeowner a sense of helplessness. With severe weather hitting all across the nation during spring, it’s important you’re armed with what to do in case a storm strikes your area and you’re left with the unwanted damage caused by flooding.
Turn off the power to your basement
The moment your Notion System alerts you of pooling water in your basement, you’ll want to shut off electricity to the area. Why? Your basement is likely full of electrical items, which can be deadly if introduced to water. If your circuit breaker is located in your basement, call your local electrician and definitely don’t enter the room. Once the power is turned off, try to relocate electrical items to a dry area upstairs. If they’ve been exposed to the moisture of the flood, refer to your electrician to determine their damage. Your homeowners insurance may help pay for their repair or replacement.
Determine the source
If a storm is the cause of your flooding, you’ll need to wait until it’s passed before you find how it entered into your home. If there’s no active storm, take action as soon as you notice flooding. If a burst pipe is the cause of the flood, shut off water immediately. Your basement may have a floor drain, did it become clogged? Is an object blocking water access? Keep the area open and functioning to help drain the water as quickly as possible.
Start removing water and belongings
Depending on the amount of water, you can use a sump or pool pump, a wet/dry vacuum like a Shop-Vac, or a mop and bucket to clean up standing water. After most of the water has been removed, soak up the remainder with a cloth or sponges.
Meanwhile, you can start to remove damaged items out of the basement to dry in a well-ventilated area. If weather permits, a sunny place may lend itself as the best option (great news for our Colorado family). Give items about 48 hours to thoroughly dry. If they remain wet, they may need to be discarded in order to avoid mold and mildew. Discard any cardboard boxes that items were stored in, since they can be especially susceptible to bacterial growth.
Remove carpet immediately
Now that your basement is clear, you’ll need to remove any carpeting as quickly as possible. The top of your carpet may even appear to be dry, but it can prevent the floor underneath from drying. Sometimes wet carpeting can be salvaged if dried in a well ventilated location, but keep in mind, if carpet isn’t dried properly, it can harbor dangerous mold and mildew.
Cleanup and dry EVERYTHING
Give the basement several days of drying time. Open windows and doors to get as much ventilation as possible, and place fans around the room for air circulation and to speed drying time. Wash down floors and walls to remove any dirt left behind by the water, then remove any wet or damaged drywall and insulation to prevent the spreading of mold.
When the floor and walls are dry, use an anti-mildew spray to discourage mold and mildew growth.
If the water is several feet deep or if you see mold or mildew developing, you’ll want to consult a plumbing contractor, a basement waterproofing company, a disaster restoration specialist or a combination of specialists. Check with your home insurance company to determine any preferred vendors for flooding.