Basement Floods

What to Do When Your Basement Floods

A burst pipe, a malfunctioning sump pump, severe weather – these are just a few of the reasons why your basement may get flooded. 

Discovering a flooded basement is any homeowner’s worst nightmare as it creates a real mess. If your wake up one morning and go downstairs only to be greeted by items floating on water, you need to act fast. 

Cleaning up after your basement floods may seem like an impossible task, but luckily, there are some quick steps you can take in the immediate aftermath to keep yourself safe and avoid further damage.

What to do When Your Basement Floods

Call A Licensed Electrician

A basement flood does more than property damage: it can pose a danger to your and your family. 

The first thing to do is to think about your safety. As bad as the flooding may seem, it can get worse for you if you’re not careful. 

Don’t make the mistake of wading through the water in your basement until the electricity is safely shut off. Water and electricity are not the best of friends. Standing water could compromise extension cords or other electrical wiring, posing the threat of electrocution.

In most homes, the circuit breaker is located in the basement, in which case you will need to call an electrician or your power provider to disconnect the power.

If the main electrical service panel is located outdoors by your meter, in the garage, or somewhere not in the basement, shut off the power in your home yourself. 

Pump out the Standing Water

After ensuring that the basement flooding does not pose an electrical hazard, it’s now time to drain the water as quickly as possible so you can assess the damage. 

But before you do that, scan the area, find the source of the flooding and stop it (more on this later). If the cause of your flooded basement is heavy rain, wait until the storm has passed.

If the water is relatively shallow, you can use a wet vac to drain it. A vac won’t get rid of all the water, so use towels and a mop to clean up the rest.

If the water is more than 2ft, you may need to rent a gasoline-powered submersible water pump from your local home improvement store or hardware. 

Wear rubber boots and gloves if you enter a flooding basement to minimize skin contact. Also, keep children and pets far from the flooded area.

Salvage Your Belongings

To effectively dry your basement, first deal with your wet and waterlogged objects. From bookshelves to couches, remove everything salvageable and air-dry them if weather permits.

It helps to focus on things that are either expensive or hard to replace, such as:

  • Family keepsakes (photo albums, souvenirs, books, heirlooms)
  • Important documents (financial records, passports, title deeds)
  • Electronics (TV sets, laptops, cameras)

Throw away things that are damaged beyond care. Painful as this may sound, these items can include your carpet and the padding below it, electronics that were damaged by the water, and drenched upholstered furniture. 

This is a good time to call your insurance company and file a claim. Your insurance should be able to cover the water damage in your basement if the cause is sudden leaks and burst pipes caused by accidental damage.

Dry Out the Basement Thoroughly

Your basement will still be damp after the standing water is gone. This next step involves drying the area and preventing mold before it grows. 

To speed up the drying process, start by opening the basement windows to allow the moisture to escape.

Consider using a fan or dehumidifier to get rid of the remaining moisture, or if your basement is massive, you can rent industrial blowers. These will help your basement dry faster and reduce the chances of mold growth. 

Mold can develop quickly, pose a serious health threat, and cause a lot of damage. Soap or bleach and warm water on damaged surfaces can do the trick.

Find and Fix the Source of Flooding

If you don’t fix whatever caused the flooded basement, it might happen again.

Prevent future floods by addressing what caused them in the first place. 

  • If your downspouts and gutters happen to be clogged with debris, unclog them.
  • If your sump pump didn’t rise to the occasion, upgrade it with a newer model and regularly check that it’s running smoothly.
  • If a heavy storm flooded your lawn and drained water into the basement, change your landscaping.

There are a few other places that could have caused the flooding: windows, walls, foundation, hoses connected to appliances, sinks, bathtubs, toilets, floor drain and showers. Fix them!

Consider installing a water leak sensor if your basement floods when it rains. This device can detect water leaks, cut off the water main and send you an alert on your smartphone

Restore the Items You Removed

Clean the items you took out of the basement and ensure they’re in good working condition.

Consider using closed plastic containers to keep your precious belongings sealed and more protected and shelves to elevate your items off the floor. 

Keep in Touch with Your Insurance Provider

Most homeowners don’t plan for the unwelcome surprise that is basement flooding. 

Before a storm sweeps through your neighborhood and you’re dealing with a mini-lake, take a look at these handy tips on what to do when your basement floods.

Most of the work involves setting up the space to keep humidity down while things dry out.

Unexpected issues at home happen all the time, so it pays to protect the items you use every day with a Complete Care Home Warranty.

If you’re wondering who to call when your basement floods, we’ll be there to help you get back on your feet. 

We cover up to 20 systems and appliances, including your water heater, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and A/C system. If your covered system or appliance can’t be repaired, we’ll replace it.

Call us at (860) 777-0204 to learn more!