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Three major steps to take if your basement has flooded
As Spring draws near, basement flooding and water damage are a concern for many. Ice and snow melt and water looks to find the lowest level, and often that is a basement. Of course, there are many other causes for basement flooding that may cause trouble for home dwellers, such as burst, leaky, or frozen pipes, or sudden and heavy rainfall and broken gutters. Damage to the home’s foundation can also be a threat, as even a small fissure can be a source for water to pour in. The removal of large trees near a home, leaky windows whose sealants fail over time, and overly saturated soil surrounding a home can also result in a flooded basement.
A flooded basement could really happen to anybody at any time, so it’s beneficial to understand what to do if it happens. We understand that you would want to get back to a normal life as soon as possible, and we’re here to help make that happen.
Let’s prepare ourselves and go over three major steps to take if your basement has flooded.
Step one: Shutting Off and Determining the Source
The most important thing to consider is safety. No matter the source of the flooding, if you have standing water in your basement or water actively flowing into your basement, don’t attempt to wade or walk through it until you have shut off your electricity to the area. Be sure there are no open circuits standing in the water. Water and electricity don’t play nice together, so take care of this first to ensure your safety and the safety of others.
Now, on to the issue of determining the source. This might be tricky in some circumstances, but here are some tips for the circumstances where there appears to be an obvious culprit.
- If rain or storm water is causing the flooding, wait until it has passed before you get to work. It is helpful in this case, and any case really, to make sure the basement floor drain isn’t clogged or covered up if you have one.
- If you think the flooding is because of a burst water supply pipe in your home, shut off the main incoming water valve if it is safe to do so – i.e. if the electricity has already been shut off and the valve is safely accessible. Usually you can know if the flooding is due to a plumbing issue if the water is clean and is coming down from an upper level.
- If you think the flooding might be due to a sewage backup, or even if you aren’t sure, be sure you don’t flush toilets, run dishwashers, washing machines and the like because this is likely to make the flooding worse.
Step two: Make Some Calls
Once you’ve turned off the electricity and determined a possible source, now’s the time to make some calls. If you have flood insurance, call your home insurance company and report the flood. Be sure to confirm coverage limits, deductible amount and claim procedures. Now would also be the time to call a plumber for pipe breaks and leaks, and you may even consider calling a foundation contractor if the problem is possibly related to the home’s foundation. If the cleanup process is overwhelming, too time consuming, or not physically plausible, then you should consider calling professionals for help with cleanup – like us!
If you’re unsure if you should call a professional for help, here are some good reasons to get a professional opinion:
- if the water is more than several feet deep
- if you see mold or mildew developing
- if you’ve already taken steps to waterproof your basement and it still flooded
- if you don’t know what caused your basement to flood
Step three: Removal
This next step involves removing everything from the flooded area – including the water itself. Remove all electrical items first, then all furniture and movables. Do this quickly, as the faster you get the items out of water’s way, the more likely you’ll be able to save them from damage. Rip up carpeting and any under-padding and get it out of the basement as soon as possible. Doing this will allow the floor underneath to dry with more ease, as carpeting can prevent this from happening if it isn’t removed quickly.
Of course the water needs to be removed from the area as well, and there are several ways to do this. The old-fashioned and manual way always works, using buckets, mops and old towels to soak up as much water as possible. Use a drain to get rid of the water, but only if the sewers aren’t backed up. If they are backed up, then just pour the water onto your lawn. You can also use a wet-dry vacuum, but be careful to plug it into outlets far away from the water. Remember that water and electricity don’t play nice together! If you have an overwhelming amount of water, consider renting a sump pump. The removal of water is the most important thing you can do to keep mold from growing.
If all of this seems overwhelming, or you don’t have the time or energy, please consider us as your water disaster professionals. We will expedite the water removal process to make sure water damage to your property is minimized, so you can get back to normal life quickly.
And finally, a word about mold and mildew. These can negatively impact the structural integrity of a home and negatively affect the health of those who live there. Though the water will eventually evaporate, the damage you may not see that comes in the form of mold and mildew may slowly but surely ruin your home. If you are concerned about mold and mildew and unsure about the steps you should take, we at Stephco can provide you with a free consultation so you can explore your options.
We hope that this post proves helpful to you in your time of need. Basement flooding is a common and serious problem, and we want you to feel confident and ready if the event ever occurs in your home. We are also always available and ready to help with any water removal and cleanup needs.
Stephco Cleaning & Restoration Blog
Reliable, responsive cleaning and restoration in and around Boston for over 45 years.
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