If you have a finished basement in your home, your basement will likely be flooded one day in the near future. There are many reasons for this to happen: a faulty or burst sump pump, a storm that causes rainwater infiltration around the windows and doors of the basement, clogged gutters overflowing from heavy rainfall, or simply too much rain. It boils down to this: water finds its way into your basement, and you need to get rid of it fast.
When a flood happens, there are many steps you should take immediately to minimize damage and prevent further damage. If you discover a flood in your home at night or on the weekend when you are home alone, you should turn off the power to the basement at the main breaker. This will minimize any chance of electrocution or shock if water has made its way into electrical outlets, connections, etc.
- The first thing you need to do is get buckets and start removing standing water from your flooded basement. Flooding can be a very stressful experience, and having buckets containing water of varying levels can be extremely frustrating. Obtain or purchase one to three 5-gallon buckets, and fill them with the standing water from your flooded basement. Go slowly at first, but try to pick up the pace as you become more comfortable with the process.
If you can, get some of your helpers to go around the basement with rubber boots on so they do not get their feet wet.
- When all standing water has been removed, it is time to start assessing the situation. Flooding is caused by an excess amount of water in a given area; therefore, you need to remove all excess water. This means that carpets, padding, and porous materials will need to be removed from the flooded basement.
- Screwdrivers and hammers can help you remove staples or nails which might puncture your wet/dry vacuum’s hose while it is in use. Please don’t put these on a bare floor; they could puncture the flooring.
- If you have carpeting in your basement soaked, it needs to be ripped up and thrown into the garbage. You should remove all padding underneath this carpeting, as well. Flooded carpets can cause mold spores to spread around your home if dried quickly enough; they also pose a risk of slipping if they are not removed quickly. See Flooded Basement Cleanup.
- Use your wet/dry vacuum or shop vac to remove all water from the flooring in your basement, as well as any porous materials which have been removed from your flooded basement. You can also use a paint roller on a stick to hook up to the wet/dry vacuum cleaner to reach higher into crevices. Use your shop vac’s extension tube if needed.
- If necessary, use a mop or towel/sheets of paper to remove any standing water pooled on top of smaller objects in your basement. Do not let this water pool for more than 24 hours or increase the risk of developing mold problems.
Once all water has been removed from your flooded basement, it is time to start drying out the materials in your basement. Flooding can cause the soaking of porous materials such as drywall and insulation; if these materials are not dried quickly enough, they will begin to rot. You also need to remove all wet materials from your basement, or mold will start growing on these surfaces.
To start the drying process, you should open up windows and doors in your home during the day for at least a couple of days until any odors have dissipated. Be sure to use fans next to these openings so that air can move in and out of your home; this will help with the drying process.
The next step is to place fans throughout your home, but be sure to point them towards an open window. These create a wind-chamber effect which will speed up the drying process of porous materials such as drywall and insulation.