What to Do (and What Not to Do) If Your Basement Floods

Flooded Basement


Basement floods are, unfortunately, very common and have the potential to cause extensive damage to the home as well as personal belongings. In many instances, the severity of the flood and the amount of resulting damage can be curbed by knowing exactly what to do and what not to do when you find yourself in this situation. Hays + Sons explains what to do as well as what to avoid if your home’s basement ever starts to flood.

A Basement Flood Could Happen to You

Over the lifetime of a home, 98 percent of basements will experience water damage. Unfortunately, not all water damage that results from flooding in the basement is covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies. One in 50 insured homes will experience a water damage-related property damage claim each year, with average losses over $11,000.

Looking at these statistics, one thing is for certain – basement floods are a common occurrence. If your home has a basement, it’s almost guaranteed that at some point, water damage will occur in this space. With high losses that aren’t typically covered by insurance, homeowners bear the financial burden of clean up and replacement. If you want to avoid serious flooding and expensive damage, it pays to know exactly how to handle the situation if and when it happens in your home.

What to Do If Your Basement Floods

When you first discover water infiltrating your basement, here’s what you need to do to mitigate the situation:

  1. First, shut off all power and gas sources in the basement so it is safe to enter, including electricity and gas.
  2. Before entering the water, put on protective gear. Wear rubber boots and gloves at minimum. Waders that come up to the hips or chest can be helpful for moving around in high water. It’s also wise to wear a face mask.
  3. Determine what is causing the basement to flood. If a pipe has burst, find the shutoff valve to turn off the water supply. If the sump pump isn’t eliminating water, troubleshoot the pump and make sure its inlet screen and discharge lines are not clogged.
  4. Unclog floor drains and keep them clear to help remove water from the area.
  5. Bring in equipment to assist in the removal of water. You may use a sump pump, pool pump, wet/dry vacuum, buckets, towels, and other supplies to expel as much water from the basement as possible.
  6. Once most of the water volume has been cleared, continue to soak up and remove water using sponges, towels, and other cloth materials. Enlist the help of friends, family members, and neighbors, if you can, to complete the job as fast as possible.
  7. Treat affected items accordingly. Any electrical items that are wet should be left to dry in place. Remove other water damaged items from the basement and place them in a well-ventilated space to try, either indoors or outside if the weather is appropriate.
  8. Pull out wet carpet and carpet pad as soon as possible and remove it from the basement. It may be possible to salvage some of this flooring, but it should be taken out of the basement to allow the floor underneath to dry.
  9. Open windows and use fans and dehumidifiers to continue drying the space. Contact Hays + Sons water restoration experts for tools and assistance in drying the basement fully.

What Not to Do If Your Basement Floods

  1. Do not enter the flooded basement until these sources of power are properly disconnected – if you don’t know how to do so, call a licensed electrician.
  2. Do not touch affected electrical items – have each item evaluated by a professional before further use.
  3. Don’t leave water damaged items to dry in the basement as the basement area is already damp.
  4. Don’t save cardboard containers damaged by water. Remove any items stored inside you want to salvage but toss the box as wet cardboard is prone to bacterial growth.
  5. Don’t leave wet building materials in the basement as they may allow mold to grow and spread – rip out wet drywall and insulation, which will also help dry wall cavities.

Water Damage Restoration in Indiana

If basement flooding does lead to extensive water damage in your home, get help from a restoration expert who can return your home to its original state. Hays + Sons provides mitigation and restoration services to help you limit damage and personal losses. To learn more, contact us today.

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