A basement can flood for many reasons. The foundation may be cracked, the windows may have been left open during heavy rain, or the sump pump might have stopped working. Whatever the reason, it is a very unpleasant experience to head to your basement only to find the floor covered in several inches of water. Do these five things to address the flooding.
If there is an electrical malfunction due to water damage or lightning, for example, you could be electrocuted by stepping into standing water. If the septic tank backed up, you might have a basement full of fecal matter and bacteria. Call a plumber to pump out the water and replace the sump pump if needed. You may need to have the furnace and hot water tank checked for water damage as well.
Soaked boxes, furniture, folders, clothing, and anything else that came in contact with the flood water might need to be thrown away. Luggage, books, and toys are common items stored in the basement that can be harmed by rising water. Things that have mild spotting instead of overall water damage may be treatable with the recommended cleaners. Move untouched belongings out of the way until all the cleaning and repair work is done.
Open the windows, turn on the dehumidifier, and plug in oscillating fans to dry out the moisture. Mildew and mold will begin to grow quickly until the flooded area is dry and remains cool rather than humid. You might want to run the whole-house fan or air conditioner to help circulate the damp basement air.
When the basement is completely dry, use the proper disinfecting products to remove water stains and bacteria from the surfaces that were under water. If the basement is partly or completely finished, check the drywall for signs of creeping moisture or mold growth and address them as needed. Keep the fans running and the basement well ventilated while cleaning. Wear scrub gloves, and if the odor is strong, put on a protective mask.
You will probably need to wait a few weeks for everything to completely dry out and be deep-cleaned with continued drying. Then contact a basement waterproofing company for information about having your basement waterproofed as protection for future flooding.
Caring for your basement after a flood and protecting against future flooding will restore your peace of mind and safeguard your family’s health.