Don’t Panic When You Have a Flooded Basement In Indianapolis
It’s scary when discovering basement flooding. Basement water damage can extend to both items that got wet and the structural elements of the house itself. It can foster the growth of mold that’s both ugly and a significant health hazard.
But although the flooded basement is a serious situation requiring immediate attention, it may not be quite as disastrous as it feels. There are steps you and your basement restoration professionals can take to keep a bad situation from getting worse and speed the tasks of basement flood cleanup and basement flooding repair while controlling flooded basement cleanup cost.
Flooded Basement Step #1: Don’t Go Down There
Your immediate impulse may be to rush down into the flooded basement to try to stop the flow of water or rescue your possessions. Don’t do it. First call an electrician and, very likely, basement restoration professionals. You need the latter if there’s two feet or more of water in the basement or if you’d simply be more comfortable bringing in the experts.
If your circuit breaker’s not in the basement, or you live in an older house with a fuse box that isn’t, you can cut the power to the house yourself, and you should. (A circuit breaker is often somewhere handy like the garage, and a fuse box is often outside by the meter.) But you will still want the electrician to verify that the flooded basement and any wet electrical appliances it contains don’t pose a threat of electrocution.
Flooded Basement Step #2: Get Rid of the Water
The longer the water remains, the more damage it will cause. You need to remove it right away.
If you’re undertaking this yourself and there’s a floor drain, check it and unclog it if necessary.
If the source of the flooding turns out to be something under your control, like a burst pipe, shut off the water to the basement.
Your sump pump presumably failed or the water wouldn’t be there in the first place. You may need to buy a new one or use a pool pump as a temporary substitute. Also be aware that the pump alone won’t get rid of every bit of water. You’ll need to break out a mop, sponges, and towels as well.
Anyone who goes down into the water needs boots and gloves for safety’s sake. A protective mask and hip or chest waders can be useful, too. Be mindful that it’s easy to slip on a flooded floor and be careful as you move around.
Flooded Basement Step #3: Get Your Wet Possessions Up Out of the Water
To prevent further damage, furniture and your other possessions have to come up out of the basement to somewhere they can dry and be salvaged if possible. Your garage may be a suitable location if it’s well ventilated. Or you may be able to place objects outside to dry in the sun if the weather permits it.
Don’t, however, be in a hurry to touch electrical devices even after the power’s disconnected. Before you do, let an electrician or qualified repairman determine the nature and extent of any damage.
Rip up any carpeting. Occasionally it’s salvageable, but often it and the padding underneath are not.
Objects that are still damp after 48 hours of drying often need to be discarded because they’re likely to grow mold and mildew. Damp cardboard boxes should always be thrown away because they’re very likely to provide a breeding ground for bacteria. You may, however, be able to salvage what’s inside.
If you have water restoration professionals on the job, they have the resources to take your wet possessions away from the house, attempt to dry them with special equipment and techniques, and then return them.
Flooded Basement Step #4: Dry the Basement
It would be nice if, with the standing water gone, your formerly flooded basement would dry out thoroughly and quickly on its own, but that’s just not the way it works. You’ll need to undertake a process involving fans, industrial blowers, and/or dehumidifiers to prevent further basement water damage and fight the growth of mold. You can rent these, or, if you have basement flood cleanup professionals on the job like Five Star Complete Restoration, they already have this equipment.
The process is likely to take several days. Further measures that improve air circulation like opening doors and windows may speed it up to a degree.
Flooded Basement Step #5: Keep Fighting That Mold
If mold growth goes unchecked in the weeks after basement flooding, you might ultimately have to tear out whole chunks of drywall to get rid of it. Get rid of any wet or damaged drywall or insulation now.
Also, wash walls with warm water and an anti-mildew soap. Dehumidifiers and blowers will create conditions inhospitable to mold, and a HEPA air purifier will filter spores and allergens.
Even with all that equipment doing its job, be on the watch for suspicious spots. If you find any, clean them with warm water and bleach.
Flooded Basement Step #6: File Your Insurance
File a claim to cover the costs of the basement flood cleanup, basement flooding repair, and replacing unsalvageable possessions as soon as possible.
Flooded Basement Step #7: Don’t Let It Happen Again
Figuring out to prevent basement flooding in the future requires determining why it happened in the first place if that isn’t already obvious. See if heavy rain flooded your lawn and the water then drained into the basement. If so, maybe you need different landscaping. Check for cracks in your foundation, evaluate the need for a replacement or superior sump pump, and see if your gutters and downspouts are working as they should.
Prevention is another area where the water restoration experts can help you diagnose a problem and advise you on how to fix it.