Basement Flooding Clean-Up
Homeowners typically understand that water infiltration and leaks can be expensive, but many may not be aware of how expensive it can be. Even with just an inch of standing water, carpets, flooring, hard wood, drywall, baseboards, electronics, and furniture can be destroyed. Mold grows rapidly in moist environments, and can produce health concerns such as asthma and other severe illness. Last week’s article covered a few steps for preventing basement flooding. But what if a home floods even with these precautions?
Assess whether turning off the power is necessary
If the power has not been turned off and there’s still standing water, don’t enter the basement. Live electrical outlets and wiring below the water are an electrocution hazard. Cut the power to the house or ensure the energy company has turned off the power before entering a flooded basement.
Evaluate the need for a professional restoration company
Several feet of standing feet usually require the help of a professional company to clean up properly. However, in the event that the water is draining well or there’s no longer any standing water, a professional restoration company may not need to be called.
Remove all belongings
Unplug all electronics immediately and remove electronics, furniture, and any other belongings that can be carried out. After the furniture and electronics have been removed, pull up all carpets and underpadding, including area rugs. Many homeowners are not aware that carpets may be salvageable if removed promptly, and properly dried, cleaned, and disinfected. Even if the carpet shrinks, the homeowner may not be forced to buy new carpet immediately. On the other hand, the chances of saving underpadding are slim, as underpadding is sponge-like and absorbs too much water.
Drain excess water
Sump pumps will begin to run as soon as power is restored. Use caution when using wall outlets to run the sump pump, as wet sockets could still produce an electrical shock. In older homes, water can also be drained by removing the sewer clean-out plug. Sewer clean-out plugs will allow the excess water to drain out of the basement and into the sewage system. If homeowners have a sewer clean-out plug and opt to use it, they should replace the plug as soon as the water is gone, or they will run the risk of having sewage back up into the basement.
In the absence of sump pumps, homeowners can use towels, buckets and mops to bail out as much water as possible. Buckets can be dumped into the yard far away from the basement, or if sewers are in good working order, buckets full of water can poured down the drain.
Disinfect and prevent mold growth
Mold spores can begin to grow within 24-48 hours of a basement flood, so it is crucial to dry out a basement quickly. Homeowners should open all windows and run as many fans as possible to increase air circulation. In addition to opening windows and running fans, homeowners should cut away or remove drywall, baseboards, and plywood that have been damaged by flood waters. Drywall will crumble if exposed to water, and the paper casing is susceptible to mold. Likewise, water ruins pressboard baseboards, though solid wood baseboards can be cleaned and disinfected.
Finally, after the area has fully dried and mold-prone areas removed, disinfect all surfaces that have been touched by water, as bacteria could have been in the water. This includes any insulation, drywall, plywood, concrete, wood beams, and baseboards. Gloves Off Disinfectant is a highly-rated non-toxic disinfectant.