A flooded basement is one of a homeowner’s worst nightmares. Panic can set in for even the most level-headed homeowner when faced with the damage to home and belongings that can happen when a basement floods. It can be hard to know what to do first, but if you keep your head about you and try not to overthink the situation, it may not be as bad as you think.
- First things first: shut off the power. Turn off the electricity and gas before entering a flooded area, and if you don’t know how to do this, call a qualified electrician.
- If the flooding is caused by rainfall, wait until the storm has passed. If the water is coming from another source, take action as soon as you notice a problem. Try to determine the source of the water, and if it’s a burst pipe, shut off the water.
- Protect yourself. No matter where the water is originating, it’s smart to wear boots, gloves, and maybe a protective mask. If you’ve got hip or chest waders, those may be useful as well. Be careful when moving through the flooded area, because you could easily slip and fall. Be aware that many safety hazards can be present in a flooded basement, including raw sewage, structural damage, gas leaks, and electrical shock.
- Get the water out of the basement as quickly as possible. If there’s a floor drain, check to make sure it’s open and functioning properly. Then use whatever tools you have at your disposal to remove the water. Depending on how much water is in your basement, you might be able to use a mop and bucket or a wet/dry vacuum, or you may need a sump pump or a pool pump. Sump pumps are particularly useful, because they pump water from the lowest part of the basement, keeping it away from the other parts of the house. Once you’ve got most of the water out, finish the job with a cloth or sponges.
- Remove your belongings from the basement. Take any damaged items to a well-ventilated area so that they can dry. If the weather is clear, it may be best to take them into a sunny spot. Don’t try to dry them inside the basement, because it will still be damp. Give everything about 48 hours to dry thoroughly, and consider throwing away anything that’s still wet after that time frame. If you had things stored in cardboard boxes, it’s fine to try and salvage the items in the boxes, but don’t try to save the boxes because they can create a welcoming environment for bacterial growth.
- Use great caution regarding electricity. Even with the electricity disconnected, don’t touch any electrical items like televisions, stereos, or lamps. Instead, let them dry in place, and consult an electrician or repairman about the damage they may have sustained.
- Rip out the carpet as soon as you can. It’s important to take wet carpeting out of the basement because if it’s not removed quickly it can keep the floor underneath from drying. Sometimes wet carpeting can be saved, but if it isn’t dried properly it can host mold and mildew.
- Allow your basement time to dry. For several days, do everything you can to help the process, opening the doors and windows if possible and placing fans around the room to speed it along. A dehumidifier can also be a good idea, and you can rent one if you don’t already have one.
- Clean up after it’s all dry. Wash down the floors and walls, remove wet and damaged drywall and insulation to keep mold from spreading, and spray walls and floors with an anti-mildew spray to help prevent mold and mildew from developing.
- Call the experts. Call your home insurance company immediately to report the flood and confirm the details of your policy. It’s also smart to call in a professional to help with the cleanup.
When your basement floods, you can trust Reliable Basement Services to help. A family-owned and operated company, Reliable Basement Services has served the greater Chicagoland area for more than ten years. We offer a full spectrum of basement services, charging reasonable rates for work that includes crack repairs, sump pump systems, basement waterproofing, basement windows, and floor repair. Our consistently high standards have made us an award-winning Chicago basement waterproofing contractor and earned us thousands of satisfied customers all over Chicago. For more information, call (630) 318-4888 or visit our website for a free quote.