What Steps Should You Take if Your Basement Floods?
1. Assess the Situation
Before heading into your basement, you need to ensure that it’s safe. No matter how deep the water is, you want to make sure that it hasn’t impacted the electrical system. Thus, if possible, turn off the electricity to the basement or wear rubber boots when walking through the water to reduce the risks of electrocution.
If the water is coming from the plumbing in the ceiling, it’s a good idea to make sure that this isn’t going to collapse and fall onto your head. You’ll also need to find the main water valve and turn the water off so that it’s no longer leaking into the area. Should it seem like the structural damage is unstable, then it’s in your best interest to call in a professional and have them help with this situation.
Not only should you be checking the integrity of your home and making sure that you won’t get shocked, but you also need to determine what type of water has flooded your basement. In general, there are three types: white, gray and black.
White water is clear, clean water that comes out of your tap. If this has flooded your basement, then you don’t need to take any precautions and can clean it up without issue. Gray water is water that is found in your dishwasher or washing machine. It often contains soap and other debris, and while it’s not fit for consumption, it probably won’t make you sick if you walk around in it.
When it comes to black water, this is water that has been contaminated by harmful pathogens and is often found in sewers. If this has flooded your basement, then you’ll need to call in professionals who have the right protective gear and equipment to take care of this mess. If you try to clean it up on your own, you risk making yourself sick.
2. Remove the Water
If your entire basement is flooded or there is water coming from the ceiling or soaking the walls, it’s probably a good idea to call in a professional. You might also need to call in a professional depending on the type of flooring you have in your basement. Water can cause a lot of damage to drywall, ceiling tiles, carpeting, and laminate flooring, so you might need a professional to tear these out.
This is also a good time to get any belongings out of the area that you can. Removing furniture and other items from the water gives you a chance to dry them and hopefully salvage them for future use.
3. Dry the Area
Once the water has been removed and you have determined the source of the water (whether natural flooding or a broken pipe and fixed where this water was leaking in), you can then begin to dry the area. This is often accomplished using fans and dehumidifiers.
4. Clean the Area
Once everything has been dried and any damaged items (including the wall and ceiling or furniture) have been removed, you can now clean the area. Depending on the extent of the damage and the type of water that flooded your basement, getting this done correctly to prevent mold growth and future health problems might require calling in a professional.