Basement floods can occur at any time, but they are more common in the spring with melting snow and thunderstorms. Even in dry climates and weather conditions, unknown blockages within the sewer system can backflow into the foundation, flooding the basement with contaminated water. But regardless of how far the water has spread, a flood cleanup company must be called right away.
When discovering a flood in your basement, it’s highly recommended to stay away from the contaminated water. When caused by natural flooding or sewer backup, the water is filled with dangerous bacteria and pathogens that threaten illness to anyone exposed.
Here are some tips to follow immediately after a basement flood.
Call a flood cleanup company
Calling a flood cleanup company should always be the first step taken after finding a flood. When water flows into the affected areas, it will continue to spread throughout the building materials and furnishings. If not extracted and dried out right away, the building structure and furniture will become warped, stained, and buckled.
If left to sit for more than a day, mold growth will develop in the contaminated areas, feeding on porous building materials like drywall, insulation, wood flooring, etc. It will also spread by dispersing its spores into breathing air, searching for other areas with high moisture content. These spores are known to trigger a number of health issues, like allergies and asthma.
As it’s crucial to call a water damage restoration professional right away, many are available 24/7 to respond to first calls. As soon as they arrive, they use professional equipment to extract all standing water, dry out the affected areas, and apply anti-microbials as part of the mold remediation process. They will also replace permanently damaged materials with materials of the same quality.
Notify your insurance
Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t usually cover flooding; however, many include mild forms of water damage. It’s always a good idea to notify your insurance to see if your plan covers any amount of the damage.
Depending on the cause of water damage and amount of flooding, they may or may not cover the restoration costs.
Whether or not the damage is covered, take pictures and document all damaged items. Make an inventory of belongings to throw out and restore. This will help with the insurance claim.
Basement Flooding: What to Do After Calling the Professionals
While you’re waiting for the professionals to arrive, there are steps you can take to minimize the water damage within your basement.
Here’s what you can do to reduce basement flood damage.
- Prioritize your safety. Always check for structural or electrical damage before entering the home, like damaged or exposed wiring, holes, warping or cracks.
- Immediately shut off the electricity using the main circuit breaker. Beware of any wiring under the water.
- If the flood was caused by a plumbing issue, turn off the main water valve right away.
- Stay out of the water as it may contain dangerous bacteria and/or pathogens. If you must walk through it, wear personal protective equipment (PPE), like disposable overalls, eyewear, waterproof boots, face mask and gloves.
- Wait for your sump pump to drain the flood battery. If it has a backup battery, it should still drain while the power is off.
Flood Cleanup Tips: What You Can Do
Here are some DIY flood cleanup tips while waiting for the professionals to arrive and during the drying process:
- Quickly remove as many contents as you can from the floodwater. Lay them out to dry to prevent mold and mildew.
- If you have a wet vacuum, extract as much water from the floor as possible.
- Use area room fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the wet area as much as possible. If the humidity is not high, open the windows.
- If present, remove the baseboards and drill 1-inch holes halfway between the wall studs and the base of the walls to allow moist air to flow out.
- While everything is drying, disinfect all basement contents and building materials. This includes the walls, floor, drywall, etc. Any walls with a lot of mold may need to be removed.
- Use household detergent to clean mold and mold spores. Never use bleach as it only kills live mold, not the spores.
- If large amounts mold has already developed, many flood cleanup professionals also offer mold removal, a service that is also recommended.
- Fill any foundation cracks, replace damaged drywall, and seal windows and vents.
- Check out these flood prevention tips.
Who to Call for Basement Flood Cleanup
When searching for qualified flood cleanup companies, it’s important to choose professionals who are not only trained and experienced but insured and bonded to protect your property and assets. Be sure to check their online reviews, certifications, and pictures of previous jobs, if available. Customer service is a perk, but professionalism and efficiency will mean the difference in a clean, dry basement vs. one that smells musty and has mold after a few weeks.
If you live in the Fort Wayne or Warsaw, IN area, ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors is available 24/7 to respond to basement floods. Using professional equipment to extract the standing water and dehumidifiers to air out the affected building materials and air spaces, they will efficiently restore a clean and dry environment within your basement.
Any permanently damaged materials will be removed, replacements will be installed, and personal contents will be dried and disinfected. During the drying process, we will apply anti-microbials to prevent any mold growth. It’s normal for musty odors to occur during this process and dissipate at the end of the service; however, we will use hydroxyl and ozone technology to remove them if necessary.
After restoring all contents and building materials within your basement, ServiceMaster by Restoration Contractors will work with your insurance company during the claims process for additional peace of mind.