A common fear of homeowners with basements is that they will walk down the stairs and their basement will be flooded. This can be a complete nightmare and a situation that can cause a lot of stress and damage to personal items. Here are some tips so you know what to do if your basement floods.
- Shut off all power, including electricity and gas, in and around the area if you notice water in the basement. Do not enter a flooded area while the power is on to avoid injury from electrical currents. Call an electrician before entering the basement if you are unsure how to shut off the power.
- If you have flood insurance, call the insurance company and report the flood. You may want to confirm your current coverage limits, deductible, and claim procedures.
- Before you enter the basement, put on gloves and boots for protection. Be careful when walking around your flooded basement as it will likely be a slipping hazard.
- Once you enter the basement, determine the source of the water. If a burst pipe is the reason for the flood, shut off the water source to the basement. If a rainstorm is the cause of the problem, make sure the storm is over before assessing the damage.
- Check if the basement floor drain has become clogged during the flood. Keep it open and functioning to help drain the water.
- Pump out as much water as you can from the basement. Depending on the amount of water, you can use a sump pump, a pool pump, a wet/dry vacuum, or a mop to reduce the amount of water.
- After you have removed most of the water, use a cloth or sponge to soak up the remainder.
- Do not touch electrical items even if the electricity is disconnected. Items like televisions, stereos, or lamps need time to dry before they are handled properly. Contact an electrician if you are unsure if these items are permanently damaged.
- Move any damaged items out of the basement to dry in a well-ventilated area. A sunny place is the best option as well as letting items dry for at least 48 hours. If you have things stored in cardboard boxes, take everything out of the boxes and discard the cardboard.
- Any carpeting that has gotten wet needs to be removed immediately. Carpet can prevent the floor underneath from drying if it is not removed quickly.
- Before you undergo any major basement flooding repairs, let it dry out for several days to ensure all water is gone.
- Wash the basement floor and walls to remove any dirt left behind by the water. Remove all damaged drywall and insulation to prevent mold from forming and spreading.
Unfortunately, unexpected issues such as a flooded basement happen but it is the way you deal with the damage that is important. Do not be afraid to ask for help so that you are properly repairing any destruction that the flood has caused. Basement flooding is not an easy experience to deal with but knowing what to do if your basement floods can reduce any long-term damage.