Last Updated on December 30, 2022 by Hooria Batool
Flooding in your basement poses severe health and safety risks to you and your family, no matter how much water is there. If you take action now, you will be able to save a lot of money on basement water damage repairs later. You may panic when you discover water in your basement, but safety should always come first.
Basement flooding can occur due to several factors, including weather events, burst pipes, and drainage problems. We have the tips you need, no matter the cause or whether you’re dealing with a flooded basement or want to be prepared.
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Flooded Basement Cleanup Process
When it comes to making your basement safer after a flood, you want to act quickly. Getting rid of excess water in the basement is one of the most critical steps in this process. This article will give you an overview of what the flooded basement cleanup process looks like, whether you use professional help or go at it yourself.
Why is a flooded basement so urgently cleaned up?
There is no such thing as too much haste when it comes to flooded basements. A flood can be dangerous and cause severe damage to your belongings. Flooding doesn’t always stop at basement level; if the water pressure outside is high enough, it could start flooding into other rooms and bringing more water in with it through cracks and holes (including those that already exist). The only way you can control this process is by removing water from affected areas right away. Once you do this, though, don’t worry about plugging wall or floor cracks just yet. It would help if you had time for them to dry out independently.
People come to harm when the water level stays high for a long time; it can make them sick by creating an unhealthy environment for mold, bacteria, and insects. If you take steps to clean up the basement yourself, be sure to wear protective clothing (like goggles or gloves) and work in a well-ventilated area. The other risk is electrocution – submerged electrical objects pose a hazard even after the power has been shut off because they could be conducting electricity underwater.
What should you do with your belongings?
Don’t try to save anything from your flooded basement. Even if something looks fine, it could have absorbed harmful substances from the water and possibly become conductive. Please put all of your belongings in plastic bags, make sure they are labeled with a permanent marker and take them outside or to another unaffected room. If you want to go through them later on (for insurance purposes, perhaps), do it outside. Don’t risk contaminating other rooms if there is a chance for more flooding.
Make the basement habitable again
Once the water has been removed from flooded basements, you can start trying to make the room usable again. The first step is drying: Use dehumidifiers and fans and monitor humidity levels carefully. Even slightly high humidity (above 55%) can lead to mold-related problems down the line. Even if you choose not to use professional help with your flooded basement cleanup process, we always recommend that you do, be sure not to neglect this step! It’s just as crucial as the drying procedure itself and will determine how quickly and thoroughly dried items can be put back into storage.
If possible, use a portable dehumidifier instead of a heater. It is more effective for smaller spaces thanks to its small temperature range, which means it doesn’t cool down the dust particles in the air before they can absorb moisture. This means your equipment won’t have to work harder to lower humidity levels, thus saving energy. If there are still wet spots on the floor or walls after everything has been removed from flooded basements, you should dry these areas with towels soaked in hot water.
Inspect the structural damage
Once humidity levels have dropped to a safe level, you can inspect the floor and walls for cracks and holes. Repair as many as you can yourself. It’s easy to do if your chosen material is caulk or silicone sealant. It would help if you took measures to prevent future flooding, such as waterproofing basements with a particular film designed for this purpose. As a final step, change all batteries in smoke detectors and carbon dioxide detectors, test them regularly and replace any that fail their tests.
Call in help
If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of dealing with flooded basements on your own, it’s OK to ask for professional help. This is especially true if there are many items to dry or clean (like carpets), if you noticed damage to furniture or appliances (like vinyl) or if you don’t feel like continuing after just one unsuccessful attempt at drying waterlogged furniture.
Professional cleanup isn’t always cheap, but it will surely be worth every penny when everything is said and done. Unfortunately, floods aren’t always avoidable; sometimes, insurance companies have to get involved. Even then, though, having someone experienced around can help speed up the work considerably and lead to a better outcome overall.
Basements can be a great place to work, play and entertain friends. However, many homes have basements that flood whenever heavy rainfall or snowmelt. Although it might seem like you’re unlucky and happen to live in the wrong neighborhood, all it takes is the proper preparation, so your basement doesn’t become flooded during those infrequent but inevitable wet weather events.
Maintenance of basement
A bit of preventative maintenance before the water enters your basement will go a long way toward preventing damage to your home and belongings, as well as saving money on your homeowner’s insurance premiums. Here are several simple steps you can take:
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
When gutters and downspouts become clogged with leaves and debris, they can’t direct rainwater away from your home. Even a small amount of standing water in the gutter is enough to cause a leak. Not only that, but if you don’t clean them regularly, they can overflow and damage siding or even foundation walls near downspouts. Repairing such damage will cost far more than simply removing the debris regularly.
Divert Rain Water Six Feet Away
If it’s possible, divert any rainwater running off your roof six feet away from the house, and especially away from basement windows and doors, using downspouts placed further away from the building and gutter extensions (also called splash blocks). This move alone can often prevent most basement leaks and flooding.
Make Sure the Ground Slopes Away From Your Home
Make sure your yard slopes slightly away from the house. This allows water to drain away rather than seeping into your foundation walls or basement floors. Maintaining this ground slope is easy with a spade and an hour, and doing so can save you expensive foundation repairs in the long run.
Install an Emergency Generator
When blackouts occur, they often leave cold, wet, and dark basements. To prevent having to bail out the water every time there’s a power outage, install an emergency generator to provide enough electricity for basement lights (and dehumidifiers if necessary) to last through extended periods without power. You’ll rest easier knowing that you can always get into your dry basement.
Install a Sump Pump
A sump pump is the last line of defense against flooding from heavy rainstorms or snowmelt, especially if you live in an area where changing weather patterns bring more intense rainfall. A sump pump automatically drains water from the basement and prevents it from coming back up. Ensure your system includes a backup battery, so there’s no risk of losing power during a storm. You can also use a smaller “mini” sump pump inside the lowest point of the basement to keep the water away from any nearby appliances or electrical wiring. However, most experts do not recommend this approach.