Floods cause more property destruction than any other type of natural disaster. They can and do happen to anyone at any time, regardless of season and geography.
Knowing what to do when you find out that your basement flooded can prevent an inconvenience from becoming a disaster. Here’s what every homeowner needs to know about flooded basement cleanup and restoration.
First Things First: What Not to Do
If your basement floods, your first instinct may be to charge down and tackle the mess yourself. While this impulse is understandable, it can also be dangerous. Here are some tips on what not to do when cleaning up water in your basement.
- Submerged electrical outlets may be electrifying the water
- Floodwater may be contaminated with sewage
- Severe flooding may have interrupted gas lines, creating toxic gas leaks
- Floors, walls, stairs, and ceilings may have hidden structural damage
- Damp surfaces above the waterline may have begun to mold
If your basement floods, do not enter the flooded area unless you are certain that it is safe to do so. If possible, turn off the electricity to the area at the main circuit breaker before entering.
If the water has receded or been removed and you want or need to enter the space, wear personal protective equipment such as:
- Tall rubber boots
- Water-resistant coveralls
- A face mask
- Eye protection
If you cannot safely enter the area, wait and let professionals handle things.
What to Do Instead if Your Basement Flooded
What should you do if you experience a flooded basement?
First, if the flooding is caused by broken pipes, shut off the water to the house. If municipal sewer lines are backing up into your home, contact the local authorities immediately. If you suspect the flooding has made your home unsafe, get yourself and your family to safety.
Second, as soon as possible, call wet basement restoration specialists. These professionals will have the equipment and expertise to safely address your basement issues. The sooner you call:
- The safer your home and family will be
- The more you are likely to be able to salvage from your basement
- The less likely it is that the problem will spiral into a bigger, more expensive, and more hazardous situation
Third, document the situation as best as you can.
- If it is safe to do so, take photos or video of the affected area
- Note the date, time, and any other relevant details
- If you know the cause of the flooding, such as a storm or broken pipes, document that as well
Fourth, call your insurance provider. Open a claim for the damage and make sure that you understand what your insurance does and does not cover.
Importantly, many homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. You may need to have a special rider or additional policy in place to get flood coverage.
Next, if it is safe and possible to do so, remove any unaffected items from the area. For example, undamaged possessions on shelves above the water line can be relocated for safekeeping. Clean all items thoroughly to prevent mold.
Should You Try to Clean up Yourself?
Do not attempt to handle water in basement cleanup yourself unless you have no other choice.
Flood remediation is a complex process. If it is not done correctly the first time:
- Mold can take root, causing massive damage to your home and your health
- Your insurer may not pay for all the necessary work because it was not performed by certified professionals
- You may become injured or ill due to a lack of proper equipment and protections
- You may miss critical opportunities to prevent future flooding and flood damage
The Basement Restoration Process
What can you expect from the basement flooding restoration and mold remediation process? In general, the process looks like this.
- Remediators will check your home for structural damage, ensuring it is safe
- They will then drain or pump out your basement, removing the water
- Remediators will help you identify and collect salvageable items, which must be professionally cleaned right away
- Remediators will help you identify and remove unsalvageable items, such as water-logged carpet, damaged drywall, and ruined possessions
- They will set up dehumidifiers and ventilation to completely dry out the space
- Remediators will use powerful and targeted cleaning products to remove mold and kill mold spores, preventing the spread of mold to other parts of your home
Once the basement water damage has been fully cleaned up, you enter the restoration phase of the process. During restoration, your floors, walls, and ceilings are repaired. Pipes and electrical wiring are repaired or replaced, as well.
Many restoration and remediation companies also offer construction services. This allows them to handle your restoration needs from start to finish, which can save you time, money, and hassle.
Once your home is safely restored, it’s time to look at preventing future flooding.
Basement Flooding Prevention
What type of flooding prevention you need will depend in large part on the original cause of flooding in your home. For example, if your flooding was caused by heavy rain, you may need to explore drainage solutions for your yard that funnel water away from your home during storms. Depending on the terrain, you may also need to install a sump pump.
If the flooding was due to leaks or cracks in your home’s foundation, walls, windows, or doors, you will need to repair or replace those inlets to keep water out in the future. If broken piping was the problem, you’ll need to have your pipes repaired or replaced to prevent future failures.
You may need to use a combination of methods for the best results. Professional remediators can help you assess your home’s specific needs and determine the best approach to preventing future flooding.
You can also work proactively to prevent flooding by having your home inspected for flood risk by flood restoration professionals.
Protect Your Home Today
Learn more about how to protect your home and what options you have if you find your basement flooded by exploring our blog. Or contact us and let our experienced restoration professionals assess your property and its flood risk today.