If your basement has flooded you may be in trouble. It can be a big mess, damage the foundation under your home and destroy items that you had down there. Keep your head, though, there a few things you can do to minimize the damage that occurs.
Read on and we’ll show you how to minimize the destruction to your home and belongings.
Stay Clear of the Water
When your basement floods water definitely isn’t the only hazard you’ll encounter.
At this stage, you need to immediately shut off the power to your home if the circuit breaker isn’t located in the basement. The biggest hazard to your health is a breached power line creating a puddle that’s a great way to get electrocuted.
Depending on the extent of the water contained in the basement you’ll also need to appraise whether you want to call a professional or take care of the problem yourself. If the breaker is located in the basement you’ll most likely need an electrician at the very least.
Once the power has been safely turned off you’ll want to remove any electronics and other valuables that can suffer from water damage from the basement to avoid further problems. Some of them may or may not be salvageable depending on how big the mass of water is.
Remove the Water
The next thing you’ll need to do is remove the water from the basement. You can buy or rent a pump for this purpose, or use the sump pump in your home if you have one. If the pump has failed you may need to install a new one.
If you’re looking at more than two feet of water in the basement we recommend calling a professional, as they’ll have the equipment to get the job done quickly which reduces the risk of water damage, mold, or mildew.
You can mop up the last bits of water after pumping with towels or sponges. Remove any water-logged items that remain downstairs at this point, otherwise, they’ll continue to drip and increase the humidity in the basement.
Remove the Humidity From the Basement
You’re not quite ready to start filling the basement back up just yet. Instead, you’re going to need to find a way to remove the excess moisture from the air beneath your home. Higher humidity puts you at risk for mildew, mold, and wet rot.
You really don’t want to deal with any of those.
Depending on the exterior weather you can either use a dehumidifier or a few box fans in the window to circulate wet air out and dry air in. Dehumidifiers are more expensive overall, but they’re also a better option in most cases.
In naturally humid climates you’ll definitely need to find a dehumidifier, but oftentimes they can be rented at a lower cost than you’d have to spend on buying one.
Sterilize Walls and Floor
Now comes the elbow grease.
You need to scrub down the walls and floor of the basement so that you’ll be able to ensure that things aren’t going to start growing.
Your best bet is to use sponges and a bleach solution. You may need to dilute it if your basement lacks windows, just to ensure that you don’t get sick from the fumes, but it’s the only way to be sure that any mildew, mold, or rot that began to grow with the moisture after your basement flooded aren’t able to continue to grow.
It’s an important step and some people miss it. It’s especially important if any portion of the flooded area is wood, as it doesn’t take a whole lot of moisture to create wet rot in precarious places like stairs.
Find Out the Source of the Flooding
You’ll need to figure out what caused the flood in the first place.
It can be a bad sump pump, cracks in the foundation, or any variety of different problems. If you can’t find the source then you may need to bite the bullet and call a professional.
On the other hand, in some cases, you may just need to grab your trusty air ratchet and shore up a couple of small cracks with some bolts and scrap wood. What needs to be done will vary widely depending on the exact source of the issue.
Basement floods can be a serious problem, so you need to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
If All Else Fails, Seek Professional Help
If all else fails, then you’re going to need to find a professional. In many cases this is the first route people will take, you really don’t want to mess around with something as sensitive as basement flooding.
Due to all of the problems associated it’s best to call a dedicated water damage or disaster repair company rather than your local handyman. They’ll be able to drain, dry, sterilize, and find the source of your problems. It’s a no-brainer if it’s too much for you to handle yourself.
Keep Your Basement Nice and Dry
Basement floods can be a disaster, but you should be able to make the most of it as long as you follow our handy little guide. Of course, you may not be able to handle truly drastic floods but the importance of getting things drained, dry, and preventing future damage can’t be overstated.
So, what are you waiting for? Kick the breaker and get to work. It may be annoying but you can save a lot of money in the event of minor floods simply by knowing how to do the above.