Water causes nearly 70% of property damage in the United States through sewer backups, natural flooding, broken pipes and fires. Water being the single most destructive substance in your home, if not controlled, can cause extensive damage and pose a severe threat to your interior furnishing, building structure, prized belongings, and essential documents.
Additionally, mold and mildew may start growing within 24 hours if the water is not thoroughly extracted or dried. The growth of mold, related bacteria and allergens can cause serious long-term health issues. It is, therefore, crucial that water damage is dealt with promptly and professionally.
The longer the flooded water sits in your basement, the more damage it will cause and may cost you more money. Make sure to clean up as fast as possible to reduce damage and repair costs.
Although you may decide to clean up the gooey mess on your own, hiring a pro to do it on your behalf is much nicer to your back and overall health. Make sure to check whether your insurance covers flooding before it happens.
The process of basement water damage restoration
Once you realize that your basement is flooding, there are four critical things you must do right away. Acting fast can help minimize a rising water situation and the money it will cost you to make all the repairs.
Step 1: Think Safety
It is crucial that you take complete safety precaution, which includes wearing hazard gear and shutting down the electric power. Standing water and electricity creates a fatal combination. Never step into flooded basement water as you could get electrocuted or shocked.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure the electrical source to your basement is completely shut down. Better yet, call your local electrician to be safe. Do not operate any electrical equipment in your basement before removing all the water using a submersible pump. In case your basement is dark, use LED battery lamps to illuminate the room as you work. Wear tall rubber sole boots to secure your grip on the slick, flooded floor.
Step 2: Identify the Leak
After you are sure that the electricity is turned off, stop the flow of water. While in most cases the source of your water damage is visible, there are times when the cause is uncertain. Your goal should be to identify the origin of the leak and stop it. However, how you terminate the flow depends on the source of your flooding.
- Broken pipes – If the source of the flooding is broken or malfunctioning pipes, turn off the water’s shut-off valve.
- Sewage backup – If the cause of the flooding is sewage back-up, stop running faucets and flushing toilets.
- Ground or flood waters – Unfortunately, in case Mother Nature has caused the flooding, there is no way you can turn her off. However, you should consider hiring a structural engineer or a waterproofing professional because your structure may have a foundation problem.
Step 3: Remove All the Water
If the flooded water is at least one inch deep, find a plumber with a high-capacity submersible pump that is powered by a generator. Remember, you need to get the water out as fast as possible for minimal basement water damage.
This is not the best time to do it yourself. Most wet/dry vacuum tanks hold about 4 to 5 gallons of water, so you may be required to make several trips up and down the stairs to dump the water. Hiring a professional-grade pump is highly recommended.
Step 4: Inspect the Damage
Once all the water has been removed from your basement, remove all your items to create an open space. Depending on how deep the items were flooded, you might be able to save some of them. However, be prepared to throw away a good number of your belongings.
You also need to remove the soaked carpet or tile flooring to allow your basement’s concrete floor surface to dry out. Check your door frames, sheetrock, and baseboards for signs of severe water damage. Also, do not forget to check the sump pump to make sure is it still operational.
Step 5: Set Up multiple Drying Equipment
After you have removed all the standing water and are 100% sure it is safe to restore power, set up multiple fans and Dehumidifiers to circulate your basement’s air from floor to ceiling throughout the day. Position these fans at different heights to allow cross-ventilation throughout the space.
Note that it might take several days to dry out your flooded basement thoroughly. To speed up the process, consider renting industrial-sized drying equipment. The drying process is crucial to discouraging mold and mildew growth.
Step 6: Clean and Disinfect
Typically, mold starts budding within the first 24 hours after the floods. It is, therefore, crucial that you clean and disinfect all the surfaces, and scrub and clean hard surfaces with water and bleach mixture. Also, treat all absorbent materials with high-quality fungicidal cleaners that are specially formulated to inhibit mold growth.
Soaked carpets and wet sheetrock provide the perfect cradle for mold. Be ready to dispose of all heavily drenched materials. And although you can treat small areas of mold with simple DIY techniques, it is highly recommended that you call in a qualified water damage restoration service company to take care of extensive mold and water damage.
Step 7: Renovate your property
In case the basement suffered any structural damage, make sure to renovate or even rebuild it. Ponder hiring a water damage restoration company that offers construction and renovation services to help return your property to its pre-water damaged state and make it safe for you and your possessions.
Do not hesitate to call for help
If your basement flooding goes more than a few inches deep, seek the help of a restoration contractor for your safety. A qualified team of professionals will quickly remove the water and take care of all cleanups, and can often recover most of your personal belongings and flooring.
If your basement has been flooded for over 24 hours, you might be facing the onset of a severe mold infestation and hidden structural damage. In such a case, you should reach out to a reputable restoration company with state of the art equipment to help take care of the situation.