Basement Flooding – The Clean Up!
If you have experienced a basement flood then you know the major impact it can have on your life.
Even if you believe you have nothing of real value in your basement, you soon find this is not the case.
Most homes keep their “utilities” in basement or crawlspace areas and when they flood, the damage can be a real problem.
Water entrance into your furnace could at the least cause it to fail, and at the worst start a fire. If you have a major floor then water may even get to your circuit breaker box and again, you could lose power to the whole house, or you could have a catastrophic failure.
Then there are those of you that keep your possessions in the basement for storage purposes, or that have a remodeled area that could be completely destroyed. As you can see a flood in almost anyone’s basement is something to avoid.
In this article we will focus on the removal of the water and clean up of any flood damage in your basement. For information on basement waterproofing refer to our series, this is recommended for anyone that has had flooding problems that are not from extenuating circumstances such as a river flood or hurricane.
Lets get started, but before you begin ANY type of removal or repair operation, please make sure that there is absolutely no danger of electrocution from water in contact with your electrical system, or a fire caused from damaged pipes. You can find more info at Home Addons.
If you can not be sure call in the fire department for their assistance, this is your and your families life, do not skip this step!
For large amounts of water a normal sump pump is not going to cut it. While they will eventually remove the water from your basement, it just will not be able to do so in a efficient amount of time. With water it is always best to get it out as soon as possible, the longer it sits the more damage it will create.
You will need to borrow, buy, or rent a water pump that is gasoline powered. These pumps are capable of on average 15000 gallons of water removal per hour. You can get these at most home improvement rental stores or homestyle living outdoors places for a few dollars a day if you don’t have one.
While this sounds like a great deal of overkill you will be surprised with how long it takes to remove even a foot of water from a thousand square feet of flooring. If you find that you can not locate a pump, contact your local fire department to get your basement pumped out.
Check with them to make sure that your insurance will cover there costs though, otherwise this could be a very expensive option.
Now that you have the vast majority of water removed from your basement you can move on to clean up. You will need to get a hold of as many box fans or blower fans as you can find, along with mops, squeegees, and friends.
First put on your hip waders and remove as many items that you can from the area. You will probably need to rent a small hopper for disposal of many of these things. Then start pushing the water that still remains, towards the water pump, until you can no longer use it.
Then, if possible, use a small sump pump (easily rented at most tool rental stores) to remove the remaining water. Now you can use the blowers and box fans to dry the remaining area, this will most likely take a day or two.
Once you have finished with all of the water removal you can begin mopping and scrubbing the floor and walls. You need to do the best job that you can to help stop any mold or mildew growth.
Once you have done an initial scrubbing of the area, it would be advised to go back over the area with a mold and mildew cleaner.
And after that, if you really want to be sure things are clean, do a solid wipe down with some bleach to kill anything that could possibly remain.
This will kill spores and even mosquito eggs. Pretty much anything, that’s why they use it in hospitals.
You may need to take out some of the drywall if it wont dry. One reason it may not is the insulation behind the walls is also soaked with water. And since it is behind a wall, there is no way for air to get to it to dry it.
Now that you have the water cleanup done you can get your contractors in to check over your furnace and hot water systems. Do not be surprised if furnace parts need replaced and ducts need disassembled for cleaning, your insurance may cover these costs so be sure to check.
Also have the water heater and furnace looked over for any signs of damage from the flood. It may be in your best interest to have a flood cleanup specialist come in as well to assess the entire basement and give any of their expertise in certain areas.
A basement flood is at the least a annoyance in your every day lives and at the worst a devastating event.
Hopefully these steps will help you through this time in the easiest and most efficient way possible.