Contending With A Flooded Basement
Posted Jan 15th 2014 | By:
A flooded basement is a harrowing and expensive ordeal, but there are few simple things you can do to manage the situation. If you're not dealing with flooded basement from a burst pipe, then the next best culprit is storm water that finds its way into cracks in the basement foundation. Regardless of the cause, you may have to toss out everything that has been tainted by the water to not only minimize the spread of bacteria, but to also deal with the aftereffects of mold contamination. The following measures may sound expensive and inconvenient, but you'll thank yourself later in the event of a water-filled basement.
Rolling Up Your Sleeves
If you are dealing with a flooded basement, the first step to do is remove the water.
For major flooding, rent a wet or shop vac.
You can also get a sump pump with a long hose for major floods. Having a long hose will allow you to keep the equipment away from the basement. A wet vac is more practical for holding water, but it can be heavy if you plan to dump any excess water outside of the basement.
If the flooding is minor, using a mop or old towels will do.
Work your way from the lowest water levels, slowly making your way to higher levels.
Drying Your Basement
Once the water is removed, you can begin the drying process in several ways. Open any windows in your basement to hasten drying throughout the basement. If you plan to use a dehumidifier, keep the windows closed. You can begin by extracting as much moisture out of a room from the dehumidifier and placing the equipment in another section of the basement. If your heating system hasn't been damaged, turning on your unit will not only dry out your basement, but it will air out any water particles in the air that could contribute to mold contamination.
You can also use fans, but point them towards an exit to filter out spores and damp air.
If you have any carpeting, wood or vinyl flooring, all of this will need to be removed and cleaned with bleach. And be especially aware of walls that may spawn mold in the future.
The best way to avoid such a disaster is to think ahead of the game, if you're basement is prone to flooding. Consider elevating any furniture you may have in your basement with blocks or small platforms. It may look odd, but it will save you the trouble of having any furniture ruined in the long-run. For any heating or cooling units, you can move them to floor level to prevent damaged equipment. Having flood insurance is also the best way to guard against potential losses, and be aware that flood insurance is entirely separate from homeowners insurance.
If you notice any foundational cracks in the basement, have sealed to prevent future flooding, and be sure to winterize your pipes to prevent pipe bursts. Doing these things now will save you the aches and pains of cleanup, along with potentially thousands of dollars in cost repairs.
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