How to Handle a Basement Flood

Basement floods

In terms of the most feared household disasters, flooding is a close second after fire. A flooded basement is difficult to handle and can easily leave you feeling overwhelmed. But the truth is, there is no reason why you can’t clean and repair your basement to its previous state, even after a heavy flood. In this article, we’ll run you through the 10 essential steps that you need to take in order to handle a basement flood. From assessing the issues you’re dealing with, to getting the water out, cleaning the place and preventing mold, this step by step guide will ensure you know just what to do after a basement flood and how to dispose of damaged materials.

Step 1: Ensure your own safety by cutting the power off

A flooded basement won’t kill you—but an electric shock might. As soon as you notice that your basement has become flooded, turn the power off in the area that you’ll be inspecting. Water and electricity put together are a dangerous combination, so keep yourself and your family safe when inspecting the flood by disabling all electric contact. Simply use your phone or a torchlight to light up the basement and see what you are doing. Gas can also be a hazard, so make sure no gas is on in the basement. You may need to talk to your utilities company so that they disable gas in your house—do that. When it comes to that kind of accident, safety should really come first.

Step 2: Inspect The area with the appropriate gear

Another step you must take to remain safe (and avoid another tragedy!) is to wear the appropriate equipment. If you have them, go into your basement with rain boots, waterproof trousers or dungarees, and even a mask. The more equipment you have, the better. Don’t be afraid to borrow some from your neighbors. You must also be careful to walk slowly and carefully. A flooded basement provides a very slippery surface, so don’t be tempted to rush in or you might fall! Take your time to inspect the damage and get a sense for how high the water is. This will not only let you know what the next steps are that you need to take, but it will also be useful when talking with your insurance company.

Step 3: Figure out the cause of the flood

Sometimes, the cause of a flood is obvious: heavy rain or even a hurricane are unforeseeable circumstances that can create a basement flood. At other times, you may be dealing with more technical issues. For example, a water pipe might have burst, a downspout might be taking the wrong route, or your sewer system may have become blocked. Try to figure out the cause of the flood and take immediate action. If the causes are natural, make sure to keep you and your family safe, and only inspect the basement when the rain has stopped. If a pipe has burst, shut off the water system right away. In either case, the next step will be to get in touch with your insurance provider.

Step 4: Call up your insurance

How to handle basement floods with your insurance.

 When dealing with a flood, making sure that your insurance covers as much of the damage as possible is essential. Give your homeowner’s insurance provider a call and follow their instructions. They will probably ask you to verify the level of flooding or take some pictures. They might also be able to offer exact guidance on what to do after the flood, so follow their instructions carefully.

Step 5: Remove the water

The faster you can remove the water from your basement, the less long-term damage you will suffer. For light floods, a couple of buckets and a mop might do the trick. In more extreme cases, you’ll have to find a sump pump or a pool pump that’ll be able to suck out larger amounts of water from your basement. Be careful when using a sump pump: you don’t want to connect it to electricity, as it may cause even further damage! Make sure that you connect it onto another circuit or borrow one which can be battery-operated.

Step 6: Finish drying up your basement

How to dry a flooded basement

Once you managed to get most of the water out, remove the rest with a mop, sponges or towels. This is a big job, so you may have to ask for the help of your whole family, or even get the neighbors involved! Open your doors and windows as well, as it will allow for the remaining water to evaporate. If it’s raining outside or if the weather is cold, you will have to skip this last step. You may also want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier and running it continuously, or a few depending on the size of your basement, if you do not already have one. If you don’t currently have any dehumidifiers you may want to consider purchasing one or a few. We recommend any homeowner with a basement have these on hand.

Step 7: Assess the damage

Once the water is completely out, you’ll be able to see the level of damage caused to your basement. This can be the hardest part, as you’ll no doubt find that some objects have been ruined by the flood. Sort out your valuables and get rid of those that are no longer usable. Put the other ones to dry in another part of the house, preferably somewhere warm and well-ventilated.

Step 8: Take care of floors

Basement floods and flooring

Flooring is one of the elements in your house that is the most susceptible to mold. If your basement has any carpet, you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Wet carpet is a recipe for mold, and the best thing to do is to dispose of your flooded carpet as soon as you can. You will most likely need a rolloff dumpster to dispose of the large amount of carpet or wood flooring being removed. Please visit our homepage for more information about rolloff dumpsters.

Step 9: Finish cleaning

After the basement has dried properly and everything has been evacuated, you can start cleaning. Give your walls and floors a scrub and a wash to remove any dirt or mud. This is a deep-cleaning process that will take a lot of time and energy, but this is the only way your basement can really recover from a flood, so don’t skip this part.

Step 10: Protect your basement from mold

Finally, you’ll want to protect your basement from any risk of developing mold by spraying it down with anti-mildew spray. Get it on the floors, on the walls, even on the ceiling. Mildew can be much trickier to take care off than water, so avoid it at all costs with these preventive measures. A basement flood is no fun, but if you handle the situation in a calm and methodical manner, it can all be over in a matter of days. By following our step by step guide, you’ll make sure that you deal with the flooding in the best possible way, ensuring your safety and protecting your property. Don’t panic, and try to remain positive in the face of this incident. After all, a basement flood is easily repaired, and your insurance will most likely be there with you in the process.