Beating the Flooded Basement Blues

By Bailey May

Your basement flooding may leave you feeling overwhelmed, helpless and blue. Water damage is stressful and harmful to your property, but there are actions you can and should immediately take to control the situation. 

Before you do anything, be safe:

  • Turn all power and gas off in the affected area.
  •  Never enter the affected area while the power is on. An electrician should be your first call if you can’t turn the power off without crossing this area.
  • The moment you see flooding – take action by making a plan. That said, if a storm or heavy rain is the cause of the flooding, you will want to let it clear before actually beginning to clean up.  
  • Wear boots, gloves and a mask (if available). Be careful about moving around the flooded area.
  • Is the water coming from a burst pipe? If so, shut off water to the basement.
  • Check that your basement drain is clean and unclogged. It will be of benefit in removing the water.

Next – Insurance:

  • Call your agent or check your policy to confirm that you have flood insurance or some kind of water backup coverage. Then call the carrier to report the water damage, to verify your coverage limits, deductible and claim procedures. If you do not have coverage, begin low moaning and groaning sounds, and protect yourself for the next time around. Lesson learned the hard way!

Getting rid of the water:

  • The preferred method is to hire a restoration company to do the removal and clean up for you. If the budget does not allow for it, follow the below points.
  • Now that you have safeguarded the area, start removing water from your basement. 
  • Helpful items include a sump pump, a pool pump, a wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket.
  • Sump pumps are often used in homes that are vulnerable to flooding; a sump pump removes water which has accumulated in a water-collecting sump basin.

After the water is gone:

  • First, remove everything that is damaged. If the items can be salvaged, put them in an open space to dry, and possibly use a fan or two to speed the process. Dispose of things you know are ruined.
  • Allow at least 48 hours for items to dry. 
  • If your items are still wet after 48 hours, toss them; you don’t want mold and mildew in your home.  
  • Do not save wet cardboard boxes. Remove all items and keep what you can, then toss the boxes. 
  • Don’t touch electrical items even with the electricity disconnected. Let them dry and call an electrician to step in and inspect any damage in that area.  
  • Wet carpet must go and quickly! Carpet can hold mold and mildew not visible, so get it out of the basement.
  • Utilize open windows and doors, as well as fans and a dehumidifier to get your basement dry. 
  • Allow several days for this process.

After drying:

  • Show some TLC to your walls by wiping them down with a gentle cleanser and removing all spots and stains. 
  • If your drywall is wet or damaged, it must be replaced.
  • When everything in your basement is dry, spray an anti-mildew agent to prevent mold and mildew in the future best.

If this all seems too overwhelming, follow the steps to be safe and call your insurance agent in that order. Then reach out to a professional service for help. Make sure you check out online reviews or get a referral from a friend or family member. 

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