How to Deal with a Flooded Basement
Water in a basement is an immediate and long-term safety threat
By Shelly McRae
Basements flood due to the drainage system being unable to keep up with the water flow into the area. If your basement floods during heavy rains, you need to remove the water as quickly as possible to avoid damage to items in the area. Standing water is also a health and safety hazard.
- What You Need to Know
- Make sure that you store any supplies you may need to deal with a flooded basement outside of the basement. The garage or an upstairs utility closet is an ideal location.
Cut the flow of electricity to the basement from the circuit box before entering the basement. If the circuit box is located in the basement, call your power company to have the electricity turned off from the meter.
Call your insurance agent. You need to be able to file a claim for damages as soon as possible.
Prepare to drain the water as quickly and efficiently as possible. If your sump pump was wired into the basement circuitry, rent or purchase a portable one. If your sump pump has a battery back up or is on another circuit, turn it on.
Enter the basement. Wear high-topped rubber boots with thick soles, rubber gloves and a dust mask. Check any gas appliances for extinguished pilot lights. Remove your dust mask. If you smell gas, leave the basement and call your utility company to request the gas be turned off.
Re-enter the basement when all threats of gas leaks have been resolved. Take pictures of the flooded basement for insurance purposes. Continue to take pictures as damage becomes evident.
If you are able to turn it on, check that the sump pump is running properly. If you need to rent one, ascertain where you will be able to run the hose. The hose needs to lead out of the basement to the outside for the water to drain. The water needs to drain away from the house.
Open all basement windows to allow for fresh air ventilation and to aid in evaporation.
Prepare to clean the walls and flooring and remove items from the basement after the water has been drained. Designate an outside area, away from play areas, to dispose of ruined items. Designate another area for those items that can be cleaned and salvaged. Use plastic garbage bags to dispose of any foods stored in refrigerators, freezers or cabinetry. The food may be infected as the floodwaters likely contain bacteria, fungi spores and sewage. Remove any soaked boxes or other water-damaged items that cannot be salvaged. If appliances have been damaged beyond repair, remove them to the designated area and remove any doors from those appliances. Arrange to have them hauled away by the city as soon as possible.
Remove any water-damaged drywall or plaster. Allow the framing to completely dry out before replacing.
Use a wet-dry vacuum to vacuum the floor. Use an anti-bacterial cleaning product to clean the floors, walls and any items you were able to salvage. Monitor the basement for mold and mildew and clean as necessary.
About the Author
Shelly McRae is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has experience with hydroponic gardening and other areas of the home improvement industry.
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