Owning a home is a big investment. And being a homeowner means preparing for unforeseen events that could threaten your home, including a flooded basement. A flooded basement can have various causes, such as an unexpected pipe burst, a flood event, or even heavy rain leaking through a window.

For any homeowner facing the aftermath of a basement flood, you are probably asking a lot of questions. When is it safe to enter the basement? How do you clean up a flooded basement? Who do you call when your basement floods? And does homeowners insurance cover flooding? To help create recovery process That much easier, use these seven steps to clear out your basement and better protect your home from a future flood.

1) Make sure your basement is safe to enter

The first step after your basement is flooded is to make sure it is safe to enter. You should never enter a flooded area while the power is still on. So be sure to shut off all power, including electricity and gas, before entering the flooded basement. If you are not sure how to turn off the power, contact your electrician to get it turned off properly for you. Take extra care when entering the basement after the power has been turned off.

Watch out for large amounts of standing water, exposed electrical wires, or signs that the ceiling has suffered water damage, such as sagging, cracks, or peeling paint. If the water appears to be more than an inch deep, it is best to wait until the water has been pumped out before entering the basement. Keep in mind that standing water can harbor harmful bacteria, so use caution and wear protective gear such as high-top rain boots and gloves when entering the basement.

2) Find the source of the basement flood

There can be several reasons why your basement is flooded. For example, if a natural disaster as a flood or heavy rain has flooded your basement, it’s best to wait until the storm has passed to dry out the space. On the other hand, if your basement has been flooded due to a burst pipe or a problem with the pipes, it is important to locate the source of the flood immediately. This way you can shut off the water source to prevent further flooding. If you are unsure of the cause of the flood, it is best to call a professional to locate the water source.

3) Remove the water from your basement

After determining the cause of the flood and making sure the basement is safe to enter, it’s important to start clearing the basement water. Depending on the amount of water, you may be able to pump water from the basement yourself. Consider using a submersible pump, buckets, or even a pool pump to help drain the water from your flooded basement. After most of the water has been removed, you can use mops, towels, or sponges to soak up the remaining water.

However, if the water is too deep for you or your household to safely remove, contact your local basement waterproofing or water damage repair specialist. They have the right tools and equipment to remove large amounts of water from your basement.

For insurance purposes, it is important to document the extent of damage the flood caused to your basement. Standard homeowners insurance policies can cover water damage from an unexpected event such as a burst pipe. However, a common home insurance myth is that your policy covers damage related to a flood. Typical homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by a flood.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, such as Cape Coral, Florida, or New Orleans, LA, you probably already have separate flood insurance. Some repairs may be included in your flood insurance coverage. However, it is always best to check with your insurance agent to find out which repairs are covered and which are not.

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4) Remove water damaged items

After you’ve pumped out the excess water from the flooded basement, you’ll need to remove any water-damaged items to dry them out. If possible, let these items dry outside in a sunny area or other well-ventilated area of ​​your home. If these items remain damp after 48 hours, it may be in your best interest to dispose of them. At this point, they may be more susceptible to mold and mildew if not completely dried out.

Also consider pulling out any soaked carpet to dry the floorboards underneath. If your basement is carpeted, you may be at greater risk of mold or bacterial growth if you don’t remove the carpet in time. If you have electronics in the flooded basement, such as televisions, lights, or fitness equipment, don’t touch them. Leave them to dry in the basement or contact an electrician to help you determine the extent of damage to these items.

5) Dry the flooded basement

To help dry out your flooded basement, open any windows or doors to let in as much fresh air as possible. It’s also a good idea to turn on fans or heaters to help the room dry out. Be sure to use a dehumidifier to avoid trapping moisture in the corners of your basement.

Making sure your carpets are properly cleaned or replaced can also help prevent mold growth. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may be able to salvage area rugs and some carpets. For example, if part of the carpet or rug has water damage, you can contact a professional carpet cleaning company for a thorough cleaning.

6) Prevent mold before it grows

After you’ve cleaned and dried your basement, it’s important to check for any signs of fungus. Mold, in addition to the growth of bacteria, can cause health problems in your home if not treated promptly. Fungal spores usually start growing within 24 to 48 hours of a flood, so immediacy is essential. You can help prevent mold growth by using dehumidifiers to keep the humidity in your basement low. If it’s not raining outside or it’s extremely humid, you can open any windows or doors in your basement to let in fresh air or sun to prevent mold growth.

However, contacting a professional who can assess your basement for signs of mold or bacterial growth may be the safest option for protecting your household. They can determine if mold has started growing in your basement and what the next steps are if remediation is needed. In addition, they can advise you on the proper precautions to prevent future mold growth.

7) Prevent future floods

There are several steps you can take to help protect your home from flooding. You can install a battery-operated sump pump to remove excess water from your basement if a flood begins. While most sump pumps require electricity to operate, installing a battery backup can help if the power in your home goes out. You can also seal basement walls with a waterproofing compound to prevent water from seeping through any cracks.

Installing flood sensors can help warn you of floods as soon as they start. This way you know immediately if the flood starts if a pipe bursts in your house. Automated shut-off valves and check valves are other steps you can take to help prevent future flooding. An automatic shut-off valve is located near the primary water inlet in your home and shuts off the main water supply when a flood sensor is triggered. Check valves are placed in your home’s plumbing and help prevent water from flowing back into the sewer system.

In the wake of a flooded basement, it’s important to make sure your home is in top condition and prepared for future flooding. Speaking with a basement waterproofing specialist can help you determine the best way to prevent future flooding. They will know the proper precautions to properly waterproof your basement depending on your geographic location or the features of your home.

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