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Uncategorized – The Basement Pro’s

How To Dry Out A Damp Basement

What do you do if you have water in your basement?

There are few things worse than discovering a wet basement as a homeowner, or worse basement flooding that’s gone beyond just a little water. There are several things you can before to start drying out your basement, before you call in a basement waterproofing company to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

  • •As soon as see water, stop and make sure to shut off any power around the area, including electricity and gas. Never enter a wet or flooded area while the power is on. If you aren’t sure how to shut these areas off, call a qualified electrician before entering the basement to make an assessment and start  work.
  • As soon as you notice water, take action. If a rain or storm water is the cause of the flood, wait until it’s passed before getting to work.
  • Keep yourself protected. Regardless of the water source, wear boots and gloves and a protective mask if necessary. If you are dealing with basement flooding and not just water, hip or chest waders may also be useful if they are available. Take care when walking and moving around the flooded area, it will likely be very slippery
  • Verify the source of the water. If a burst pipe is the cause of the flood, shut off water to the basement.
  • If your basement has a floor drain, check it to ensure it has been clogged and is causing the basement flooding Keeping your drain open and clear of debris will help drain standing water from your basement.

What do you do if you have water in your basement?

Now that you’ve coved the safety basics and worked to determine no more water is getting into your basement, you can try several things to dry the area yourself. If the basement flooding is moderate to severe or you see mold or mildew starting to develop, it’s time to call professional basement waterproofing specialists.

  • Being removing water from the basement. There are several options depending on the amount of water. You can use a sump pump, a pool pump, a wet/dry vacuum or a mop and bucket. Sump pumps are located in the lowest part of a basement and work by sending water away from the home after a flooding. Without a sump pump, water can come up through the ground and enter the home causing flooding in not only the basement, but other parts of the house as well. After most of the water has been removed, soak up the remainder with towels or sponges.
  • Remove damaged items out of the basement to dry in a well-ventilated area. If weather permits, a sunny place may lend itself as the best option. It’s best not to dry out items inside the basement, which is already damp. You should give items at least 48 hours to dry. If they are set wet after that time, it is best to discard them as they may begin to develop mold and mildew. try to save wet cardboard boxes, since they can be especially susceptible to bacterial growth. Salvage the contents of the boxes if you can and discard the cardboard containers to be safe.
  • Don’t touch electrical items. Any electrical equipment like televisions, stereos or lamps, should not be touched, even with the electricity disconnected. It’s best to let electrical items dry in place and refer to an electrician or qualified repairman to determine the amount of damage.
  • Carpeting should be removed as soon as possible.  Carpeting can prevent the floor underneath from drying if it’s not removed quickly. Although it can be difficult to adequately dry out these materials, sometimes wet carpeting can be saved. Consult a restoration specialist or a carpet cleaning contractor for recommendations. If carpet isn’t dried properly, it can quickly begin growing mold and mildew. When you have your basement, waterproofing specialists evaluate the area, they can recommend the best floor covering for your basement.
  • Give it time. Your basement may take several days of drying time. Get as much ventilation into the area by opening windows and doors. Place fans around the room for air circulation and to speed drying time. You can also rent a dehumidifier if you don’t have one already.
  • Wash down floors and walls to remove any dirt left behind by the water. Remove any wet or damaged drywall and insulation to prevent the spreading of mold. After the floor and walls are dry, use an anti-mildew spray to discourage mold and mildew from developing.
  • If you have flood insurance, call your home insurance company and report the flood. Confirm your coverage limits, deductible amount, and claim procedures.

Many times, it is safer, faster and easier to call in professionals. You may want to ask for help if the water was more than several feet deep or if you see mold or mildew developing. If you’ve taken steps to dry your basement and it damp, or if it has flooded in the past and you don’t know what caused your basement flood, it’s a good idea to get a professional opinion. Depending on your specific situation, you might want to consult a plumbing contractor, a basement waterproofing company, a disaster restoration specialist or a combination of specialists. If your home insurance company is involved, may check to see if they have a specific vendor that they recommend for flood mitigation.

After your basement has been dried, it is highly recommended you waterproof it. There are ways to do this yourself, but when in doubt, call in the pros. Many things can go wrong if you attempt to waterproof your basement on your own. Especially if you don’t have the proper training and experience. You can damage your basement if you are not familiar with how to use the proper tools.

As mentioned, you may think you fixed the problem, yet you haven’t, and water could continue to slowly leak into your basement. This mistake can cause structural damage and mold growth. It can even attract pests into your home.

For the health and safety of your family, as well as, the value of your home. Waterproofing your basement is an excellent investment for your home.

Basement is Flooding, Help!

No one wants to go down to their basement and see water. Many people store their holiday décor, furniture, family mementos and more downstairs,  so finding them in standing water can be devastating. If your basement has been finished as family room, man cave or a playroom for the kids many items cannot be used after water damage. There is often a large amount of work that needs to be done for your basement to be safe and clean again. In addition, after a basement flood you should consider corrective measures, like basement waterproofing, to prevent future flooding. 

Common Causes for Basement Floods

Basements are prone to flooding, but even so there is usually a reason for the water.

  • Natural disasters, storms and torrential rainfall 
  • Plumbing Leaks – Plumbing leaks are caused by a burst or leaking pipe, waste line, washing machine supply hose or water tank or heater. You can prevent further daman by turning off your water via the water shut-off valve before calling a professional. A plumber with specific tools may be required if your water shut off valve is buried underground. Plumbers can proved a high capacity pump that will remove water from your basement before it is allowed to sit and saturate carpeting or drywall. 
  • Sewage Leaks Sewage leaks are caused by a septic tank backup or clogged sewer line.  The cleanup process can begin immediately by turning off all faucets and not flushing toilets until the leak has been repaired. The real cleanup should be left to the professionals however, sewer leaks can cause many health hazards if not handled correctly and quickly. You will need to call a specialist if your septic tank is backing up. If the outside sewer service is causing the issue you will need to call your city sewage department to check the neighborhood for clogs. 
  • Foundation Leaks – Basement foundation leaks are caused by excessive amounts of rain, poor yard drainage and sewer backups, seeping water into your basement from faults in the foundation. In this case, you’ll need to call a foundation contractor to inspect your basement, find the cause of the flood and suggest a solution to sealing your foundation from future leaks.

What to Do If Your Basement Floods

Never enter a flooded basement.  You should never go in your flooded basement if it is caused by the weather.  If heavy rainfall is the cause of flood, ensure your family is safe. Be sure to create flood safety plan before potential flooding so your family can follow the plan and remain safe in inclement weather. If the flood has been caused by a ruptured pipe you can take immediate action. 

Shut off the power to your home immediately if the circuit break is not located in your basement. Any electrical appliance that comes in contact with the water can be very dangerous, so cut the power as soon as you notice the flooding.  Many circuit breakers are located in easy to access locations like your garage, or may be outdoors by your meter if the home is older.

Remove the Water

When the area is safe from electrical devices, you can begin removing the water and survey the damage. If your basement is flooded, your sump pump has failed; you will likely need to purchase a new one and use it to drain any remaining water. The pump will not be able to remove every trace of water so a mop and towels can be used to clean up the rest.

If there is more than two feet of water in your basement, call a basement restoration specialist to help you dry out the basement instead of attempting to remove the water yourself.

It is key to remove as much water as quickly as possible. Mold can quickly grow in a damp environment and can increase the damage to your property and cleanup costs.  

Deal with Your Damp Objects

You cannot leave any damp items behind when trying to effectively dry your basement. Remove any items that got wet including furniture and place them in an area like the garage where they can dry out. Hopefully, your insurance company can compensate you for the damaged items and the cost of repairing the basement and removing mold. File an insurance claim as soon as possible after the flood; your insurance company may compensate you for the cost of your damaged items, fixing your basement, and repairing any mold. 

Any wet carpet should be removed immediately. It may be salvageable but often the carpet and the padding underneath will all need to be replaced. 

Dry the Area

Your basement will not dry on its own. Renting fans or industrial blowers and using a dehumidifier will help your basement dry faster, remove excess moisture and minimize mold growth, You’ll probably need to buy or rent fans or even industrial blowers. 

Prevent Mold Before It Grows

Damp, dark conditions allow mold to thrive. Mold can pose a serious health risk and if you find it in the weeks after a flood, you may need to remove sections of drywall.  It can be beneficial to call in basement cleaning professionals to properly clean your damaged area.

Prevent Future Floods

After the flood happens, try to figure out what caused it in the first place. Did a heavy storm flood your lawn and drain into the basement? Do you have cracks in your foundation? Do you need to replace your sump pump or upgrade it to a newer model? Talk to a professional to learn how to update your basement, fix your foundation, or change your landscaping and gutters to prevent another flood. Basement waterproofing may be a good investment to ensure you are protection from any future flood damage. 

Preventative Measures

Working to prevent floods before they happen can help with your peace of mind. Be sure gutters are clean, downspouts are positioned correctly away from the foundation, and your sump pump is working correctly. 

How Much Does It Cost to Clean Up Your Basement?

Depending on the cause of the flood, the professionals you hire will vary.  Cost is dependent on how much water entered your basement and how quickly the water was addressed and removed.

According to Angie’s List, a minor flood with several inches of water could cost $10,000 to repair, while a severe flood could cost anywhere between $25,000 – $50,000.

You may be able to cut costs but taking care of the cleanup yourself. However, there are ways you can some aspects of a basement cleanup and repair – like electrical work and toxic septic waste – should be only be handled by the pros, removing carpet and drywall can be done easily.

Basement floods are a costly headache for homeowners, but once they happen, you can take steps to safeguard your property and prevent future flooding. After following the steps mentioned above, it is advisable to reach out to a basement waterproofing specialist. They can help prevent a distressing basement flood from happening again.