What to do When Your Basement Floods?!?

We hope you and your families are safe after the passing of Hurricane Sandy! 
Should you find yourself with a flooded basement, the clean-up can be a daunting task. Read on to learn how you can start the clean-up and repairs…

Things you will need:

  • Electric Pump
  • Spray Bottle
  • Bleach
  • Industrial Size Fan

1) Contact your Insurance Co. – First and foremost, contact your insurance company immediately to find out what your specific policy covers and what the requirements for filing a claim, cleaning up, etc. might be!

2) Fix the source – If POSSIBLE you need to stop the flooding as quickly as possible to reduce the amount of damage.  If the culprit is a broken pipe, shut off the main water valve immediately.  If the water source is Mother Nature, unfortunately you may need to wait for the flood waters to recede.

3) Remove the water – It is important to get the water out of the basement as quickly as possible.  Some homeowners may be aware that their basement is prone to flooding and already have a sump pump in place.  If this is a new problem for you, you will want to look into getting a sump pump asap!  Many hardware stores will rent them or perhaps you have a friend/neighbor who can lend you a pump.  Make sure it is powerful enough for the task at hand and that the hose is long enough to drain the water far away from your home.  A last resort would be a wet-dry shop vac, but be prepared for a time-consuming, back-breaking job!  Another good idea, if the weather permits, is to open windows in your basement.  This will help get some moisture out of the air in your basement.

4) Remove your belongings – Once the majority of water has been controlled and removed, get your belongings to drier ground and begin the process of drying them and salvaging what you can.  Spread everything out in a dry area.  All toys and similar objects should be dried and then washed with a bleach solution to get rid of bacteria.

5) Pull up carpets and discard – Carpets and padding unfortunately do not usually survive water damage!  They are the perfect soggy source for the growth of mold and bacteria.  It is best to destroy and replace them.

6) Disinfect – Not only will your possessions need cleaned, but any surface in the basement that can be cleaned SHOULD be cleaned!  All walls and the floor should be washed with a weak bleach solution and rinsed with warm water.  You can use the spray bottle for easy application of the cleaner.

7) Dry, dry, dry – Once all belongings, carpets, etc… have been removed, and everything has been disinfected……continue with the drying process!  You want to make sure EVERYTHING is COMPETELY dry!  Some hardware stores will have industrial-sized fans you can rent.  Place at least one in the doorway and/or window and point it out of the basement to suck the moisture out.  Another option is to turn up the heat, keeping the windows open to allow moisture to escape.  However, if the heating system has been damaged by the water…….contact a professional to look at it before you try to turn it on!  A dehumidifier can also be used, but if you choose this option you will want to close the windows.  Keep an eye on the holding container it will need to be emptied frequently until all moisture is absorbed.

Once DRY, you can begin to replace the flooring and put your possessions back where they belong.  Whew…….quite a task!!  Hopefully this is one you won’t have to perform too many times!!

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