From burst pipes to sewage backups to leaking water heaters, some of the most common causes of water damage occur in the basement. It’s important to act quickly when your basement floods to prevent mold and water damage. Below are steps to take when you are experiencing a flooded basement.
Start Cleaning Your Flooded Basement:
It is important to start the flooded basement cleanup process quickly to help prevent water damage as much as possible. Make sure you and your family stay safe when you experience a basement flood and the cleaning begins!
Here are some simple steps to help you with what to do when your basement floods.
Call Your Insurance Company
In many cases, your homeowners insurance will cover extensive damage like this. 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 your floodwater came from a natural disaster or groundwater, your insurance company may not cover the damages! Most homeowners insurance only covers issues 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.
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.
Stop The Source of the Water
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.
Pump the Standing Water Out of the Basement
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 shop vac to remove the water. You’ll need a specific wet/dry vacuum or sump pump that can handle water without causing electrocution or worse.
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 within those areas, you will get mold.
Dehumidifiers and industrial drying fans are great ways to do this.
How do you get rid of mold in a flooded basement?
Water cleanup 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 outside of walls, you can clean it with a bleach and water solution. However, once mold gets into the drywall and foundation walls, you will need to completely rebuild those areas. Restoration services will make this significantly easier.
Clean Salvageable Items and Remove Damaged Ones
Most likely, you’ll need to go through your things and clean out 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.
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.
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. Get a professional foundation inspection every 5-7 years to avoid serious issues.
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.