A flooded basement might not cause a lot of damage to your furniture but it can pose a health risk to you and your family if not dealt with properly. A flooded basement is also a recipe for structural damage to your house and if the water reaches the electrical appliances it causes lots of safety concerns. When left to sit for long in the basement the conditions are perfect for growth of mold and mildew which poses health problems like allergies. It is therefore imperative that you deal with a flooded basement in the right way. Here is what you should do.
Ensure Your Safety – before you do anything else it is important that you ensure you are safe and there aren’t any imminent dangers. A flooded basement poses a risk for electric shocks. Ensure that you switch off the electricity at the circuit breaker. Check if there are any odors of gas leaks in your basement. If you smell the rotten eggs odor typical of gas do not re-enter your home until you call the authorities to come and handle the gas leak. Check the type of water that has flooded your basement and if it is raw sewage for instance stay away from the house. When you are sure you are safe and you investment is you can proceed to do the next thing.
Determine the cause of the flood – you should then determine the cause of the flooded basement. The water could be coming from inside the house or from outside. From inside it could be due to a leaking water heater, burst pipe, backed up sewage or a leaking pipe. If it is from outside it will usually be because of weather elements like rain or snow getting into the basement. If it is from inside the house ensure that you close the water supply at the mains to stop more water from getting in. If it is from the outside check where the water is coming in from most of the times it could be because of structural damage to the foundation. Identifying the cause as you can see helps you to be able to stop the basement from flooding more.
Get Professional Help or DIY – after you have seen all the extent of the flooding in your basement and the cause, then you are able to decide whether you will clean the basement yourself of call for professional help. It is recommended that you call for professional help especially when you notice that your safety is at risk, when there is black water either from sewer or floods, and when you notice lots of structural damage to the house. If the water is not very high and the damage is minimal then you can be able to carry out the cleanup yourself if you are up to the task.
Contact your insurance – if you have a home insurance policy you need to contact your agent to know if your policy will cover the cleanup if you already don’t know. The agents are also a wealth of information on such issues since they might have helped other people before and therefore will tell you a lot of what you can do and the procedures to follow. If your policy covers you for this you need to take pictures of the entire area and what has been damaged. If you call on professional restoration companies they know how to handle the situation and also most can charge your insurance directly.
Clean – if you decide to do the cleanup yourself, then it is time for the dirty work. Ensure that all the water leaves the basement in the least time possible and that you dry it out completely. Do not forget to do the necessary repairs to what has been damaged and replace what needs to be replaced.