10 Things You Have to Do to Repair a Flooded Basement
Oh No! The Basement’s Flooded!
It’s not a situation that any homeowner wants to deal with, but basement flooding is all too common. It can happen for a variety of reasons; excessive rainfall, inadequate waterproofing, sewer backups, or poorly planned drainage around the home can all turn your basement into a wading pool.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation, first of all, you have our sympathy. But this is no time to mope. We’ve got work to do, and time is of the essence. Here are 10 things you’ll need to check off your list to get your basement back in order.
Shut Off the Electricity
First things first, we’ll need to make sure we don’t risk getting electrocuted. If the water depth is anywhere near the height of the outlets, then don’t risk making your way downstairs until you’re certain that the electricity is off. And don’t rely on a power outage for safety – the electric company could bring it back online at any moment.
Depending on the severity of the flooding, you may just need to shut off the basement breaker, or you may need to have an electrician fully disconnect your home from the grid. When in doubt, consult a professional.
Get Rid of Standing Water
Once you’ve eliminated the risk of electric shock, it’s time to get rid of any standing water in your basement. If the flooding is relatively minor, you might be able to get the job done with buckets or a wet-dry vacuum. For larger floods, it may be necessary to rent a gas-powered pump.
Dehumidify the Environment
Even after you’ve gotten rid of all the standing water, there’s still going to be plenty of added humidity in your basement, and that can cause mold, mildew, and a host of other problems. Purchase or rent a dehumidifier or two to get rid of all the excess moisture.
Remove Damaged Household Goods
If you’re like many homeowners, then you probably use your basement to store all sorts of things – sleeping bags, tents, extra sheets and blankets, and seasonal decorations. Some of this stuff may be salvageable if you can dry it out quickly enough. Other items may be a lost cause.
Either way, you’ll want to sort through any belongings that got wet during the flood and either dry them out or get rid of them. The last thing you need is to have a bunch of moldy old blankets lying around.
Check for Structural Water Damage
At this point, your basement should be relatively empty, so you’ll be able to get a good look at any structural damage. You should take particular note of wet structural supports, drywall, insulation, and framing wood. Once these materials get wet, they become a haven for mold spores. Assess the damage. Salvage what you can and make arrangements to have the rest replaced or repaired.
Replace Electrical Components
Trying to use waterlogged electrical items is a recipe for danger. It’s probably a good idea to get rid of any electrical appliances that were exposed to flood waters, along with switch boxes, light fixtures, and outlets.
Don’t Let Mold Invade Your Home
Mold: the scourge of basements everywhere. If you’ve gotten rid of all the water, properly dehumidified your basement, and disposed of objects that can’t be cleaned or dried, then you’ve lessened your odds of having to deal with a mold invasion. Still, when you consider the possible costs and health issues associated with a full-scale mold problem, calling in mold prevention professionals may be a smart idea, just as a precaution.
Call Your Insurance Company
Depending on your insurance policy, a portion of your flood damages may be covered. If you’re not sure, review the provisions of your policy or call your insurance rep to learn more. If you happen to have good flood coverage, it could save you thousands.
Eliminate the Source of the Flood
What’s worse than dealing with a flooded basement? Dealing with it more than once. After getting everything back in order, try to prevent the flooding from recurring. There are a variety of flood-prevention measures that range from simple to elaborate. Your issue might be solved by something as simple as patching cracks in the foundation or cleaning your gutters.
Call in the Professionals
Sometimes, it pays to enlist the help of a professional. If you feel out of your depth (no pun intended) with any flood-related repairs or preventative measures, don’t hesitate to call an expert. Just make sure to research any potential hire’s reputation, bond and insurance status, and references before signing on the dotted line.
A flooded basement is a catastrophe – there’s just no way around it. But if you take the proper steps, things will be back to normal in no time. This too shall pass. Put it behind you and get back to the joys of homeownership.
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