Here’s What to do When Your Basement Floods
Basements can flood for a number of reasons including groundwater seepage, clogged sewers, plumbing problems, foundation cracks and improper drainage. Whatever the cause, a basement flood is a serious issue that needs to be addressed immediately.
Flooding can occur even when the weather is dry and even if the basement has never previously flooded. Safety and speed are top priorities when responding to a flood in your home. Be prepared, always consider the conditions and act accordingly. Before a flood occurs, familiarize yourself with how to turn off electricity, gas and water to the basement.
Here is a checklist of steps to take to minimize damage:
- Wear boots and gloves to avoid electric shocks.
- Turn off the electricity and gas in the basement area. Call an electrician if you are unsure how to shut off the power to the basement.
- If the basement flooding is due to bad weather, wait until the rain stops before taking further action. Otherwise, you should react immediately.
- If the water is coming in from a burst pipe, then shut off the water in the basement. Contact a plumber or basement company if you are unsure how to do this.
- If applicable, check for clogs that are preventing the water from draining properly.
- Remove excess water using a wet vacuum, sump pump, or even a mop and bucket.
- Let electrical appliances such as televisions or lamps dry where they are.
- Remove furniture and other non-electrical items, if possible to a sunny location outside. If items take longer than 48 hours to dry, throw them away. Only return items to the home that are completely dry.
- Properly dispose of wet cardboard boxes.
- Remove carpeting as soon as possible so that the basement floor can fully dry. Wet carpeting will most likely need to be replaced because it can develop mold.
- Open the doors and windows (weather permitting) for several days. Use fans or a dehumidifier to expedite drying.
- Wash the floors and walls, and remove any wet drywall.
- Spray the floor and walls with an anti-mildew spray.
- If you have basement flooding insurance, report the flood to your home insurance company.
Mold growth is a serious problem that is likely after a flood. If the water was more than six inches deep, or if you see mold spreading, get a professional assessment for remediation. A professional will also look for and spot damage in areas you don’t see.