Basement flooding is a common concern in seasons of heavy rain. As we’ve recently witnessed with the tragic hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it is vital to do as much as we can to prevent maximum damage from flooding. Obviously, in extreme instances like Harvey and Irma, there are factors beyond control and comprehension. Our goal is to prepare you for the worst so you hope for the best.
Some flooding issues are simply too big for your britches and need immediate attention by emergency plumbing and flood services. However, there are some steps you can take that will hasten effective recovery.
As soon as you see you have basement flooding, turn off any and all power in the area. Currents from submerged electronics pose threats to you and your family. It’s best to do all you can to stay out of the water, but if the flooding is not due to rainfall and you must inspect the source, put on gloves and boots to protect yourself.
Two common sources of water damage that are easy to spot are usually either a burst pipe or clogged drains. If it is a burst pipe, immediately turn off your water in your basement. A basement clogged drain may require heavy duty equipment if this isn’t a recurring problem you’ve been taught to fix. To prevent further backflow, a complex clogged drain should be handled immediately by a professional.
If the flooding is not due to rainfall, start removing the water. Having a proper, functioning sump pump system is worth every penny in these situations. Sump pumps “pump” water in the surrounding area out of the house by drain. Even if you do have a sump pump, you can use another vacuum to absorb water in hard-to-reach areas or areas it couldn’t cover. Other than those methods, there’s the tried and true ‘mop-and-bucket.’ You can also soak up remaining water with cloths, rags, and sponges.
Remove damaged items from the water as soon as possible. Move them to a well-ventilated area so they can dehydrate thoroughly. The longer you wait to dry out valuable items, the more vulnerable they become to mold and mildew. Belongings that are already showing mold damage should be discarded. It can be tempting (and understandable) to cling to sentimental items even if they are beyond repair. Whether to keep them or not is ultimately at your discretion, but if they are decayed severely, there are associated health risks to keep in mind. Use anti-mold spray to target fungus on the spot.
Objects are not the only elements that can be damaged. If you have carpeting in your basement, you will most likely have to rip it up in the event of intense flooding. Water can seep through the carpet and harm the flooring underneath if left soaking.
Give your basement at least a couple days to dry. Open all doors and windows and turn on fans to move the drying process along as much as you can. Raised airflow will also promote circulation of healthy air, which is important when you’re dealing with increased amounts allergens from the flooding (mold and mildew). Dehumidifiers can also be used to rid additional moisture from the air.
Once your basement is dry, wash all your surfaces thoroughly however you see fit. You may want to hire a professional cleaning crew specializing in this kind of cleanup to help sanitize your basement.
Report the flood to your insurance company. Find some time - amidst the chaos of piecing your basement together - to contact your home insurer to confirm your coverage. Easier said than done, we know, but the sooner you can get back on the mend the better. It’s also a good idea to get an inspection by a professional plumber to make sure there are no glaring problems in the aftermath.