Whether you’re dealing with excess water from burst pipes, sewage backups, a flash flood, or a major storm, some of the most common causes of water damage occur in the basement. It’s important to act quickly when you’re dealing with a flooded basement to prevent mold growth and water damage. Here’s what to do when your basement floods!
What to do When Your Basement Floods
It is important to start the cleanup process quickly to help prevent water damage as much as possible, especially to your basement floor. Make sure you and your family stay safe when you experience a basement flood and the cleaning begins!
Here are some simple steps so you know what to do when your experiencing a flooded basement.
Step 1: Call Your Insurance Company
In many cases, your homeowners insurance will cover this kind of extensive damage. Take pictures as soon as you see the damage so that they -and you- have a record of the damages.
Does insurance cover a flooded basement?
If the floodwater came from a natural disaster or groundwater, your insurance company may not cover the damages. Most homeowners insurance only covers issues within the home such as burst pipes or sewage backups. You’ll need specific flood insurance to cover flood damage cleanup from a natural disaster like heavy rain or a hurricane.
How much does it cost to fix a flooded basement?
It depends on your insurance deductible. Most homeowner’s insurance deductibles are between $500-$2000. If you have flood insurance, the deductibles range between $1000-$10,000. Without those two, you’ll pay completely out of pocket for damages.
Step 2: Cut Off Power to Your Basement
Cut off the power to the basement before checking anything. Otherwise, you may end up getting electrocuted when you go into your basement.
Step 3: Stop The Source of the Water (If Possible)
To prevent the basement from filling further and possibly causing damage to upper floors, make sure you stop the water at the source. If a pipe has burst or cracked, make sure the water main is turned off. This is preferred during a sewage back up as well, but not flushing toilets will work.
However, if you’re dealing with a natural disaster such as a hurricane, this may not be possible. If you know where the water would come in, you may be able to block it with sandbags.
Step 4: Pump the Standing Water Out of the Basement
The next step is to remove the standing water in your basement. First off, don’t enter the basement without personal protective equipment, especially if your flood is due to a sewage backup.
Sewage cleanup in your basement, or anywhere else, exposes you to biohazards that can cause severe illness. If you have a sewage backup, consider calling Jenkins Environmental Services to help clean up.
Secondly, don’t use a standard vacuum or even a shop vac to remove the water. You’ll need a specific wet/dry vacuum or sump pump that can remove the water without causing electrocution or worse.
Step 5: Drying Out Your Flooded Basement
Once you’ve removed all the standing water, you still need to make sure the floor, walls, and any large items have been dried completely. If you leave any water, you will end up with mold growing in your home.
Dehumidifiers and industrial drying fans are great ways to remove the water if you can get them. However, if the damage is extremely extensive you may want to consider calling a professional water damage restoration company like Jenkins Restorations. Professional companies can make sure your home is mold free.
How do you get rid of mold in a flooded basement?
Water cleanup and removal is only the beginning of the process. If your basement is not completely dry within 24-48 hours, you will most likely get mold.
If the mold has only grown on possessions or the surfaces of walls, you can clean it with a bleach and water solution. However, once mold gets into the drywall and foundation walls, or into the flooring, you will need to completely rebuild those areas. Restoration services will make this significantly easier.
Step 6: Clean Salvageable Items and Remove Damaged Ones
If the damage is severe, you’ll need to go through your things and get rid of the mold or water damaged items. Some things you should be wary of keeping include paper, cardboard, and anything that can’t be cleaned with a liquid based disinfectant.
Dry and clean up any salvageable items. Be careful with any appliances stored in your basement (such as a washing machine and dryer) and make sure they’re dried completely before using again. Dry out wet carpet as well to prevent damage to your subfloor or foundation. Any wet material that sits in your walls and floor can cause serious mold growth later on.
Step 7: Sanitize Everything
This step is important for standard floods, but absolutely vital for sewage backups. Make sure everything is cleaned with a bleach based cleaner to remove mold, bacteria, and other biohazards.
Hiring a Professional
Call a professional restoration company for flooded basement cleanup and water damage restoration. Companies like Jenkins Restorations are a great way to ensure that everything in your basement gets dry and won’t grow mold. You will not have to worry about your possessions, your home, or your family’s safety.
As mentioned above, these services are often covered under your homeowners insurance. Jenkins will work directly with your insurance company, making it easier than ever to get your home back to normal after your basement is flooded.
How to Prevent a Flooded Basement
While it’s impossible to completely remove all risk of a flooded basement, you can definitely prevent most basement floods ahead of time with just a little bit of preventative work.
Check Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts should be funneling water at least 6 feet away from your foundation. If your gutters are clogged or broken, water may be seeping into your foundation and your basement.
Clogged gutters should be cleaned out regularly, particularly at the end of fall after the leaves have all fallen off of the trees. If you have a hard time keeping your gutters clear, it might be worth investing in gutter guards.
Gutters that have fallen off of the house should be repaired or replaced immediately to prevent water getting into attics or seeping into the foundation.
Check for Cracks in Your Foundation
Cracks in your foundation can cause groundwater to seep into your basement, especially after lots of rain. Check your foundation for cracks and get a professional foundation inspection every 5-7 years to catch problems early and fix them.
Check your Basement Floor Drain
Check to see if your basement has a floor drain. If it does, make sure there isn’t an obstruction blocking your basement floor drain. This could lead to floodwater backing up into your basement.
Seal Basement Windows
Make sure your basement windows are properly installed and sealed so that water doesn’t leak inside when it rains. It’s also recommended that you keep window screens in place during heavy storms.
Invest in a Sump Pump
A sump pump in your basement (or crawl space) is the absolute best way to prevent basement flooding. This pump is installed in the lowest part of your basement and immediately pumps out any water that goes into the basement.
Consider also getting a generator for your sump pump in case of a power outage.
Get Your Septic Tank Pumped Regularly
Sewer backup is one of the most unpleasant types of basement flooding and water damage. Your septic tank (if you have one) should be inspected and pumped every 3-5 years to prevent flooding and backups.
Regular Sewer Inspections
Whether you have a septic tank or a city linked system, you should get these inspected every 3-5 years as well. Just because your sewer is linked to a larger system doesn’t mean that the pipes and other pieces in your home will not break or fail.
Whatever you choose, make sure you follow these steps after your basement floods to ensure that you can get your home back as soon as possible.