How to deal with a flooded basement. Flooding is one of the worst things that can affect your house; whether it is caused by a natural disaster or some other circumstance it can leave behind a trail of destruction which can take a long time to recover from. One of the most commonly affected areas of the house from flooding is the basement because of its position. So what should you do? How do you deal with a flooded basement?
You’ll need to determine where the water is coming from and either plug it or shut it off, or do whatever it takes to stop it, once that’s done you will want to consider the clean-up.
First of all, check the basement and roughly assess the damage. Don’t try and immediately go wading in through the water, use your sights of the area to check the situation and whether you can gain access to your basement. The most important thing to do in this situation is to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Not only will this mean they are aware of the situation and speed up any payments made to you but they will also have at the very least a contact list for a company to help with both the flood cleanup and restoration. The company you get in touch with will have special equipment such as pumps, disinfectants and dehumidifiers.
Once you have sorted out initial contact with your insurance company you should then consider what to do in the short term with you basement and house. Always keep your safety as the top priority; with flooding there is a chance that your gas lines may have been breached in some way. If you suspect this has happened (either by smell of gas or hissing noise) then open a window and evacuate your house until it is safe to return.
Also turn off your gas supply to your house. In case of electric issues, it is recommended that you turn off your electricity supply at the main fuse box and in the case of any submerged electrical devices or power supplies you should leave them to dry completely before use and if possible get any devices checked to ensure they are safe to use.
When you are sure that the basement is safe to enter then you enter the next stage of dealing with the flooding and that is recovery. Ensure you are wearing appropriate shoes and clothing (high rubber boots, protection for your eyes and rubber gloves).
If you are properly prepared then you may enter your basement. Now is the time to take photos and get evidence of the initial damage to use with your insurance company – the more photos you take the better and especially take them over an extended time period to cover yourself in case of later structural problems. You should try and remove as many personal belongings from your basement as you safely can; this will help massively with the chances of items being repairable and still working as the more time they are submerged the higher the damage to them.
Once you have removed all the items you can you should start the next step which is removal of the water. It is recommended that you pump the water out slowly to limit the potential structural damage (if you are in contact with your insurance company they will be able to find someone to assist you with this to ensure everything happening is safe). When the standing water has been removed the next step is to start to process of drying out the basement.
Again, getting in touch with professionals is the best way as they will provide a high quality dehumidifier which will slowly and safely dry the affected area and the cost of this should be covered by your insurance policy so it is well worth getting it done properly.
Drying the area should be done slowly, if the temperature is too high it will simply turn your belongings, walls and floors into a breeding area for mold which will cause longer term damage. Once the basement is dry any badly mold-affected items should be removed (including wall plaster and carpets) and the whole area should be disinfected.
Once this has been done hopefully your basement will be fully back to use and the problem of flooding in your basement will have been dealt with correctly with no long-term negative effects.