Floods are a widespread natural disaster in the USA. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that 99% of all states in the country have experienced a flooding event. Additionally, basements are the most common areas of flooding.
Apart from natural causes, like rapid snow melts and flash floods during the rainy season, there are other causes of basement flooding. These include drainage issues, burst pipes, hot water tanks, and sump pump failures. When you are dealing with a flooded basement, experts urge you to act fast to prevent mold growth and further damage.
So, where do you start? Here are five primary tips you should follow when dealing with the water in your basement.
Prepare To Clean
Safety should be your priority. Thus, avoid the risk of electrocution by cutting out the power and gas supply to your basement from the main supply. If you can’t do it yourself, call an electrician and your power supply company to assist you. In the meantime, avoid coming into contact with electrical areas in your basement.
Despite the water source, wear protective gear, including goggles, gloves, waterproof boots, and a mask to protect yourself from the chemicals and pollutants in the floodwater. If the flood is not as a result of a storm or flood water, start by checking for the water source. If something is broken or damaged, shut the water supply to the basement, and call a reliable water restoration company to fix it. Also, check the sump pump to ensure it is functioning because it will help you drain the water. As you wait, proceed to clean up.
Get The Water Out
You can use a mop and bucket, a wet vacuum, or a pool pump to drain your flooded basement, depending on the amount of water you are dealing with. If you opt for a pool pump, be careful not to pump out the water too fast, as this could increase the pressure of the water outside and damage your basement more.
Remove carpeting and let it dry outside. If it is not possible, use an upstairs power outlet and run an extension cord for your wet vacuum and use it to dry the carpeting. You must do this within 12 to 24 hours after the flood. Otherwise, the carpeting will be infested with mold. After you have removed most of the water, soak up the rest with your mop, a cloth, or sponges. Alternatively, run fans under and above the carpet to dry it thoroughly.
Clear The Basement
Remove things, such as furniture, boxes, and rags, from your basement and move them to a well-ventilated area to let them dry. Drying these for up to 48 hours will prevent mold and mildew growth. For your cardboard boxes, empty the contents and discard them. Wet cardboard is susceptible to bacterial growth.
According to the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, electrical equipment and wiring can be extremely hazardous once exposed to water. Thus, it is best to have them checked by electrical personnel before reenergizing.
Dry Out The Residual Moisture
Even after drying your basement, often water is left in the concrete and wood. Start by getting rid of flooded drywall and insulation to avoid spreading mold infestation.
Also, take time to wash the floor and the walls with some water and chlorine to disinfect the surfaces and prevent adverse water damage. Prevention is better than cure; hence, take this time to apply an anti-mildew product to kill any mold and mildew spores that have started growing.
Leave It To Dry
If it’s clear outside, leave your windows and doors open to vamp up air circulation in your basement. Dehumidifiers and fans will also speed up the drying phase and allow you to use your space in no time.
Place fans in various parts of the room to help with air circulation, and preferably, mount small fans on windows that open outside. Keep the fan filters clean by washing them often to ensure they function efficiently and effectively. Ensure your dehumidifiers are several inches away from walls for the best effect.
How To Prevent Basement Floods
- Keep gutters free of debris .
- Position downspouts away from your home’s foundation.
- Install and maintain your sump pump.
- Inspect the exterior of your basement’s floors and walls.
- Have your septic tank cleaned and your sewer inspected during the spring.
- Consider additional property insurance coverage.
- Seal basement exterior openings, such as window wells and vents.
- Consider additional property insurance coverage .
- Always consult an expert for repairs or waterproofing.
With these tips, you can be calm even in a flood. Follow these directions, and in case some of your essential documents are wet, quickly toss them in the freezer and sort them out later.
In the future, keep your possessions in plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes and keep them off the basement floor.