Basement Flood Cleanup Tips
There’s nothing quite as depressing as waking up one day feeling completely refreshed, only to discover that, Lo and Behold, your basement got flooded! Unfortunately, this occurs far more frequently than many homeowners want to admit. It is for this reason that it never hurts to learn beforehand how to cleanup a flooded basement.
Four Fundamental First Steps
Here are the first four things you MUST do.
- Protect Yourself: There is no telling what might be present in the water that’s flooded your basement. While E. coli and Salmonella are most likely not present, you never know. It is for this reason that you should ideally adorn yourself with gloves and waterproof boots, at minimum.
- Turn Off The Power: Always turn off the power before you enter your basement. It doesn’t matter if the flood is only 1-inch thick. You have no way to know for certain whether a short or some other type of electrical issue occurred. As a result, it is in your best interest to first disconnect the power.
- Find The Source: The next thing to do is attempt to determine why the flood occurred. Did rainwater seep into your basement? Did a pipe burst? Obviously, if it’s not related to rainwater, then you’ll want to shut off your home’s water supply. However, also turn it off in case you can’t identify the source.
- Allow Fresh Air: Last but not least, open every single window and door so that as much fresh air as possible penetrates your basement. This will accelerate evaporation of the water (though evaporation is not tantamount to extraction). It will also help reduce the likelihood of odors collecting in your basement.
Understand that these are just preliminary steps. The real work doesn’t start until you begin water extraction.
Realistically, you will without a doubt need the assistance of a professional water restoration company to fully and correctly perform water extraction. Why? You need certain pieces of equipment like industrial-strength dehumidifiers, flood pumps and wet vacs to do it. Otherwise, you run the risk of not picking up every bit of moisture.
Basic Extraction Techniques
To get rid of the water, you’ll need to use a water pump or dehumidifier. The latter will not only slowly remove moisture from the air (thus also affecting the water), but it will prevent the formation of mold. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to close your windows while running the dehumidifier. Otherwise, the outside elements will work against your efforts.
If your flooded basement contains carpeting, you will unfortunately likely need to get rid of it. However, you might be able to save both the padding and sub-flooring, though success will be dependent on how quickly you extract the water. Truth be told, if you’re serious about saving any part of your carpet, you will want to reach out to a restoration company ASAP, especially if you’re not familiar with carpet repair.
Drywall unfortunately acts like quite the sponge when confronted with water. The good news is that plaster drywall can be saved, though you’ll need to get air flowing behind the wall. This is the only way you can dry the studs. You might also need to use bleach and/or other solutions to remove any mold buildup. Again, unless you know exactly what you are doing, please do seek the assistance of a professional.
Personal Property Damage
A flooded basement usually means plenty of wet personal property items like books, DVDs, furniture and whatnot. You will want to scrub and disinfect everything, so as to ensure that no chemicals or bacteria remain present. However, be prepared to also let go. There are inevitably going to be certain items that just cannot be salvaged, regardless of your efforts.
Whether or not you yourself can cleanup a flooded basement depends not only on the severity of the blood, but also your available equipment. The fact remains that most people lack the tools and resources to cleanup a flooded basement properly. It is for this reason that we highly recommend you seek the assistance of a professional.
The good news is that most water restoration companies provide a completely free assessment. Remember that not all damage will necessarily be visible to the naked eye. It just so happens that restoration experts know what to look for.