Why a Basement Floods
An Indianapolis basement floods for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the cause is external, like torrential rains. Sometimes it’s internal, like a malfunctioning, overflowing appliance. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, as when a great deal of water outside enters through a flaw in the foundation, or freezing temperatures burst a pipe.
But whatever the reason for the flooded basement, it’s vital to react quickly to prevent extensive basement water damage. Here, then, are the things you should do if your basement floods. Note that these are not all things you need to do by yourself or that we at Five Star Complete Restoration recommend that you undertake by yourself. As you’ll likely decide, much of what follows is best handled by professionals such as electricians or skilled, reputable flooded basement cleanup companies.
When the Basement Floods, Step One: Don’t Rush Down There
When you discover you’ve got a flooded basement, your first impulse may be to charge down there for a better look or to try to salvage possessions that are soaking up water. Don’t do it. It could be dangerous. Any electrical device that’s come into the contact with the water could give you a hazardous shock.
Instead, unless your circuit breaker is in the basement, use it to turn off all the power in the house. There’s a good chance the circuit breaker is in the garage although some older homes have a fuse box outside by the meter.
If you have any doubt about your ability to eliminate the possibility to electric shock, call an electrician.
Also, if you have gas-fired appliances in your basement like a furnace or water heater, call the gas company to shut off the gas. There’s a chance water put out the pilot light and gas is flooding the basement. If you smell gas, get out of the house.
After that, still wasting no time, assuming the situation is more than trivial, call a basement restoration company to begin basement flooding repair.
When the Basement Floods, Step Two: Get Rid of All That Water
You can’t start basement flooding repair until you get rid of the water that’s currently there. The fact that it’s there in the first place means the sump pump has failed, so it may be necessary to buy a new one.
If there’s only a little standing water, a functioning sump pump should get rid of most of it, and someone can use a mop and paper towels to remove the rest. If there’s a floor drain, make sure it isn’t clogged. If the water is more than a few inches deep, though, extracting it is definitely a job for the professionals.
If you do let the water remain for any length of time, basement water damage will become more extensive, and there’s a good chance mold will grow. The mold can trigger allergies and even pose a serious health risk.
Working safely in a flooded basement requires protective boots, gloves, and depending on the situation, possibly a mask. You should also be mindful there’s a greater chance of slipping.
When the Basement Floods, Step Three: Take Care of Wet Objects
In the course of deal with the flooded basement, you’ll have to remove the contents. Otherwise the next step (drying the basement) won’t work. But you want to remove your damp objects anyway so they too can dry.
Using modern technology and techniques, flooded basement cleanup companies can do a lot to restore the appearance and functionality of things that have gotten wet. Still, it’s possible that not everything will be salvageable. Items that are damaged beyond repair may include electronics, fabric items that weren’t washed and cleaned within 48 hours, upholstered furniture, and drywall. If not everything can be saved, file your insurance claim as expeditiously as possible.
Knowing it’s possible not everything can be saved, prioritize the removal process to retrieve hard-to-replace and expensive items first. Here’s what to go after right away:
- Important documents like passports, deeds, and financial records.
- Electronics like televisions, desktop computers, and laptops.
- Family mementoes like souvenirs, photo albums, and heirlooms.
In addition to removing other wet objects, you’ll need to pull up wet carpeting. Wet carpeting and rugs are too more things that unfortunately may prove to be unsalvageable.
When the Basement Floods, Step Four: Dry the Basement
You got rid of the standing water, but that doesn’t mean the formerly flooded basement is actually dry. To dry it thoroughly may require fans, dehumidifiers, space heaters, and/or industrial blowers. Good ventilation is important to the process.
When the Basement Floods, Step Five: Stop Mold Before It Has a Chance to Grow
Fight mold growth by thoroughly cleaning walls with soap and warm water and wiping them down with a mold-control product. Your blowers and dehumidifiers will help, too, as will a HEPA air filter to catch mold spores and allergens. Keep inspecting the basement, and if a dark spot appears, attack it with warm water and bleach or a cleaning product that contains disinfectant.
It’s a sad truth that even with all these measures, there’s still a chance of mold taking hold. If you discover it later, you might have to remove sections of drywall to get rid of it. But the health risk requires that you do whatever it takes.
When the Basement Floods, Step Six: Don’t Let It Happen Again
Once you and the basement restoration professionals have taken care of your basement flooding repair, you should find out why you had that flooded basement in the first place. It’s possible that by repairing your foundation, upgrading to a more modern, more effective sump pump, changing your landscaping and gutters, or waterproofing your basement, you can prevent basement flooding from recurring.
When the Basement Floods: The Takeaway
Even if you retain nothing else from the discussion above, please remember these two things:
- Don’t do anything dangerous like risking electric shock or staying in a building with a gas leak.
- Act fast.
You can act fast by contacting Five Star Complete Restoration without delay. We’re the most trusted and accomplished water restoration company in Indianapolis, and we’re here to help you.