Basement Is Flooded | what to do next

A flooded basement with visible water damage to furniture and items
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A flooded basement can be a major headache for any homeowner. From broken pipes to heavy rain to a backup sewer or natural disaster, dealing with the issue can be a difficult and daunting task. Most people don’t know where to begin when it comes to dealing with this problem.

In this article, you will understand why a flooded basement may occur, the steps to take to prevent it from happening again, how to go about cleaning up the mess, and much more!

flooded basement with floating boxes

Is it common for basements to flood?

It can be a common occurrence for basements to flood, depending on the region and climate. In areas that experience heavy rainfall or even snowmelt from nearby mountains, flooding in the basement can occur more often. Other causes of basement flooding include faulty sump pumps, inadequate drainage systems, or plumbing problems.

Vacuum and hard surface head

Causes Of Flood In Basements

Basement flooding can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Defective sump pumps;
  • Inadequate drainage systems;
  • Plumbing issues, such as burst or leaking pipes;
  • Intense rainfall or snowmelt from nearby hills;
  • Broken basement windows;
  • Obstinate window wells;
  • Sewer system problems;
  • Unsealed basement walls;
  • House positioned at the foot of an incline;
  • House located near a natural water source;
  • Blocked weeping tiles;
  • Overburdened rain gutters;
  • Misplaced downspouts;
  • Appliance leaks;
  • Overflowing toilet or bathtub;
  • Drainage system failure;
  • Water heater breakdown.

securing the basement

What should you do when your basement floods?

If your basement experiences flooding, there are several steps you should take to protect yourself and your property.

Assess the situation

Attempt to identify the cause of the flood the type of water, and determine if it is safe to stay in the area.

Call your insurance company and take pictures

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after a basement has flooded and take pictures of the damage for evidence before beginning repair or cleanup efforts.

Protect yourself

Wear protective clothing, such as rubber boots, hard hats, and goggles, when entering a flooded area. Also be aware of potential hazards, such as electrical wiring or hazardous materials that may be present in a basement during flooding.

Turn off the power

You must turn off the power and unplug all appliances and electronic devices if your circuit breaker is NOT located in the basement to avoid an electrical shock.

Remove all damaged materials, furniture, and excess water

After assessing the safety of the area, begin removing all items that were damaged by the flooding, including carpets and furniture items that have been soaked with water. If possible, use a sump pump to remove any standing water from the area before beginning clean-up efforts.

Increase air circulation

Make sure to open windows or bring in fans after flood waters recede to help reduce humidity levels to speed up drying times for walls and floors in addition to removing any lingering odors caused by floodwaters.

Start the drying process

Use towels, floor drain, or mops on non-porous surfaces like concrete floors or tile walls to absorb moisture quickly; also make sure vents are open for air circulation throughout a basement area so wet areas can dry more quickly.

Clean the area and disinfect

Thoroughly clean affected areas with soap or detergent solution. Then mix one cup of bleach with two gallons of water to disinfect the area; do not mix different cleaning products while cleaning surfaces after they’ve been flooded as this can create hazardous fumes.

Repair pipes, foundation, and flooring

A basement flooding repair includes checking all plumbing lines leading into a basement for cracks or breaks; repairing burst pipes and also inspecting foundation walls for signs of water damage such as efflorescence (white deposits); if needed replacing carpet pad that was exposed dampness due to its porous nature then follow up with professional repair of any structural damage if necessary before completely restoring an affected room in order ensure proper stabilization during future storms when more rainfall is expected during storms season following a flooding event.

Check for mold

Check carefully near corners of ceilings or window frames where condensation tends to accumulate over time forming bacteria known commonly as “mold”; examine closely any visible signs of blackening caused by excessive moisture left behind by recent flooding events. If necessary then hire a professional service to clean the affected areas thoroughly to prevent further health risks occupants home residents who could potentially experience allergic reactions to specific species of mold.

Keep an eye on your basement

After all the steps are completed, it’s important to keep an eye on your basement over time for any signs of water damage. Addressing minor problems quickly can help reduce the chances of larger issues such as mold or structural instability.

What should you NOT do?

When dealing with a flooded basement, there are a few steps you should avoid:

  1. Do not enter the area if it is deemed unsafe.
  2. Do not use electrical appliances near an area that has been flooded unless they have been properly inspected and certified safe.
  3. Do not mix different cleaning products while cleaning surfaces after they’ve been flooded, as this can create hazardous fumes.
  4. Do not attempt to repair pipes or foundation damage without professional help as there may be unseen issues that could cause further damage to your property.
  5. Do not skip any of the drying and disinfecting stages listed above as leaving behind moisture or uncleaned areas could lead to mold growth in the future.

How To Clean My Basement After Flooding?

The following are steps to help you in your flooded basement cleanup process:

  1. Remove any standing water: If you can do so safely, use a sump pump to remove all water from the area and dry out the space with fans or by opening windows.
  2. Clean and disinfect surfaces: Use a mixture of one cup of bleach per two gallons of water to clean surfaces in the basement and reduce bacteria and fungus growth.
  3. Remove any damaged materials: If carpets, furniture, or other items were soaked with floodwater, throw them away as they may contain mold spores or dangerous chemicals that could be hazardous to your health.
  4. Clean any remaining walls and floors: Vacuum out any dirt or debris left behind on porous surfaces like carpeting, tile walls, concrete floors, etc; also scrub down all surfaces with a cleaning agent specifically designed for basements, such as mildew-resistant paint.
  5. Deodorize the basement: After cleaning up the area, use an odor remover product to remove unpleasant odors to keep the air quality in your home safe and clean for occupants. If you’re still detecting a foul odor in your basement, it’s best to consult a professional. Chances are there’s either mold or moisture still lingering down there that needs taken care of.
  6. Inspect for mold: Inspect the edges of your ceilings and window frames for any signs of blackening, as this is usually indicative of mold buildup caused by excessive moisture. Additionally, evaluate if there are any discolorations on your walls or crevices behind the paneling due to flooding events in the area. If so, then consider using anti-mold solutions advised by local hardware stores to prevent further growth.

How long does it take for a flooded basement to dry out?

The amount of time it takes for a flooded basement to dry out depends on many factors, including the size of the basement, the amount of water that has been removed, and the air circulation and temperature levels inside the space. Generally speaking, it could take anywhere from 24 to 72 hours for your basement to dry after a flood if enough water is removed from the area.

The drying process can be done in several ways, the most common methods of water removal from a flooded basement include using a sump pump, wet/dry vacuum cleaner, dehumidifier, fans, and natural evaporation.

  1. Sump Pumps: This is one of the quickest ways to remove water from a flooded basement. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for all of the standing water to be pumped out. However, some areas may require multiple attempts before wet spots are completely removed from carpets and other areas.
  2. Air Circulation: Increasing airflow within your basement by opening windows may help to speed up the drying process. Natural evaporation ultimately will depend heavily upon weather conditions. Mild climates prove beneficial here due to naturally high temperatures that offer fast evaporation rates at times. We recommend checking local weather forecasts before commencing with this particular method. Depending on the temperature outdoors, natural evaporation could potentially take anywhere between 3-7 days depending on climate conditions during those respective periods.
  3. Heaters and Dehumidifiers: Utilizing heaters and dehumidifiers can also help with quicker drying times. This method usually takes between two to four days but requires both adequate ventilation as well as regular maintenance to ensure that moisture levels remain low while temperatures stay high enough to drive evaporation rates upward.
  4. Fans: Fans can help speed up drying processes by about 30%-50% however, it still relies heavily on natural air circulation, therefore, increasing indoor humidity levels for desired outcomes. This process does not guarantee complete drying but typically takes around 12-24 hours depending on severity.
  5. Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner: It can also be used to pump up any standing water that may be in hard-to-reach places that manual mopping cannot access. Pumping away all the excess water with this method typically takes two hours or more depending on the size of your basement area.

How can I remove excess water and humidity from my basement after flooding?

After a basement flooding, it’s important to remove excess water and humidity to prevent further damage. The most effective tools used for water removal and humidity reduction are wet vacuums, dehumidifiers, fans, and absorbent materials.

Wet vacuums can quickly suck up standing water and can be rented from a hardware store. Dehumidifiers help reduce moisture in the air while fans help circulate air and speed up evaporation. Additionally, absorbent materials like rugs and towels should be used to soak up any remaining moisture on surfaces including carpets or furniture.

How to Prevent Basement Flood?

Preventing basement flooding is a priority for any homeowner who wants to protect their home and belongings. Here are some tips to help you prevent basement flooding:

  1. Check Gutters and Downspouts: Making sure these are clear of leaves, sticks and debris will help channel water away from your home. Additionally, check the downspouts are correctly connected to the drainpipes so water isn’t flowing directly onto the foundation walls or near the basement windows.
  2. Check for Cracks in Your Foundation: It’s important to inspect your foundation regularly for any cracks that may be allowing water into your basement. If you do find any, have them sealed as soon as possible by a professional contractor to prevent further leakage.
  3. Check Your Basement Floor Drain: Make sure it’s clear of debris and has no blockages which could cause a backup of water into your basement. It’s best to carry out regular inspections on the floor drain and make sure it’s working properly.
  4. Seal Basement Windows: If you have windows in your basement, seal points where air transfers can occur such as around window frames or seals with waterproof caulking or expandable foam spray insulation to keep out moisture from outside sources.
  5. Sump Pump: Sump pumps are designed to collect any excess water that enters the basement through drainage systems or heavy rainfall and pump it back outside where it can be safely disposed of away from your home and prevent future flooding.
  6. Get Your Septic Tank Pumped Regularly: Having an overflowing tank can cause backup flooding into basements, so ensure this doesn’t happen by scheduling regular visits from professionals who can take care of this task for you!
  7. Regular Sewer Inspections: An inspection should be carried out periodically on sewers close by as roots from nearby trees can crack pipes causing further damage if left unresolved.

Damage to structure in flooded basement

Does the homeowners’ insurance cover Flooded Basements?

Homeowners’ insurance does not typically cover damage from floods, but it can be possible to include flood insurance in your existing policy for an additional cost. Flood insurance provides coverage for any property damage caused by rising waters such as those from rivers, streams, or lakes. It also covers any water damage resulting from sewer backups or heavy rains.

To determine if you are eligible for flood insurance, it’s important to speak with an experienced professional who can go through your current policy and explain the types of coverage offered and what exactly is covered in terms of flooding. They should be able to provide a quote based on the area you live in so that you have a clear understanding of what kind of protection is available and what it will cost.

If you are looking for protection against flooding due to storms and hurricanes, then you may need a separate policy called ‘flood surge insurance’. This type of insurance specifically covers damage caused by sudden rises in water levels which can occur due to severe weather events like tropical storms and hurricanes. The rate will depend on your location so again it’s best to check with an expert before making a decision.

Professional Help

If you experience an issue with a burst pipe or your basement floods, it’s best to get professional help immediately as the situation can quickly become unmanageable if left unattended. A professional contractor will be able to diagnose and fix any issues with the pipes and help with repairs to make your basement safe again.

They’ll also help assess the damage to estimate how much work is required to return your basement to its former condition; from replacing flooring, walls, and ceiling materials that have been affected by water damage to providing expert advice on how best to prevent future basement flooding.

If necessary, the contractor may need access below your house to inspect for cracks or breaks in the foundation walls which could cause further problems in the future. They will be able to fill up any gaps or cracks securely so that there is no risk of water entering your home through these points in the future.