Basement Flooding in Your Home - What to Do
Flooded basements can be an ever-increasing headache for any homeowner, but with some preparation it can become less devastating.
Before entering, if the basement is flooded with dirty water or even sewage, wear protective rubber boots and gloves and switch off both gas and electricity sources - rising floodwaters can extinguish pilot lights on gas water heaters, potentially leading to electrical shock risk.
1. Call a Professional
Attempted DIY fixes of flooding basements should always be handled by professional service providers; they have the equipment and knowledge needed to do the job quickly, efficiently, and correctly. In particular, professionals will make sure it is safe to enter affected areas; this may include determining whether sewage contamination has affected them; in this instance, sewage cleanup services would likely need to be hired in order to treat this biohazard effectively.
Next, they'll turn off all power to the area to prevent electrical shock or fire. Next, they'll remove any items flooded by floodwater and begin the drying process, including moving any upholstered furniture that needs drying out to a safe location and discarding non-salvageable items like wet cardboard boxes which decompose quickly. In addition, they'll take pictures of the damage which will help you file an insurance claim later and can also provide an estimate for repair work.
2. Remove Wet Items
Before beginning flood cleanup, it's essential to assess what can and cannot be salvaged. Sometimes this means discarding items such as carpeting, rugs and even drywall that has become saturated beyond repair - this will prevent mold spores from developing in future.
Homeowners should consult an electrician to inspect for exposed wiring or outlets, standing water poses an electrocution risk, especially if its circuit breaker is submerged underwater, so whenever possible they should turn off power in affected areas.
Dehumidifiers and fans should be used in affected areas to reduce moisture and speed up drying times and decrease mold growth. Finally, homeowners should take photos or videos of any damage for insurance claim filing purposes later; most reputable insurers require evidence of damage before covering expenses.
3. Dry Out the Area
Once all the water has been drained off, it's important to dry out the basement as soon as possible. To expedite this process more easily, homeowners should remove their wet possessions from the home and let them air-dry in the sun. Pumping out any sewage backup may also help. Finally, be sure to disinfect any items exposed to flood water or backup that has become contaminated.
Once it is safe, the next step should be powering up the sump pump and wearing boots and gloves when doing so, keeping in mind that floodwater may contain sewage or toxic chemicals. Before entering the basement it's also crucial to switch off gas and electricity (without getting wet) since rising waters may extinguish pilot lights on appliances or cause electrical shock hazards. Finally, homeowners must evaluate the extent of damage with photos and a log so if filing an insurance claim they can do it efficiently.
4. Clean Up
Once professionals have pumped out the floodwaters, the next step should be disposing of anything ruined by it. While this may be hard for anyone with sentimental items like family photos and antiques that need to be stored elsewhere to prevent further mold or mildew damage to them.
At this stage, it's also essential that you turn off the electricity if necessary; rising floodwaters may dislodge pilot lights from appliances and cause electrical shock. Furthermore, calling the gas company immediately is also key if your basement may contain natural gas leaks.
Once all wet items have been collected and taken to be donated or recycled, a comprehensive inspection must take place of the area that has become flooded. In order to prevent future flooding in your basement, it's essential that whatever caused it be resolved - including fixing broken pipes or unclogging floor drains.
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