Water damage in the basement is a fairly common problem for homeowners, and it’s crucial you know how to repair basement water damage. There are several potential ways for water to get into the home, including seepage through cracks in the foundation, broken pipes in the plumbing system, sump pump failures or malfunctions, leaks around windows, and improper grading that allows water to pool up around the foundation. It’s possible to recognize and address some of those problems before the basement is harmed, but situations such as clogs in the municipal sewer system or heavy rainstorms and flooding can’t always be avoided.
The First 48 Hours:
What steps should you take to avoid serious damages as you wait for professionals to arrive? There are several steps you should take immediately. Putting off the work for an hour or two could have long-lasting consequences. The first 48 hours are crucial. Take action within this time frame to prevent lasting damage to your basement materials and your possessions. This is also your chance to avoid a potential mold problem.
1: Turn Off Gas and Electricity
Before you get near the water, turn off the electricity and natural gas. Never enter a flooded area until the electricity and gas have been turned off and/or disconnected. The combination of electricity and water presents electrocution hazards. Floodwaters often damage appliances, increasing the risk of harm from the gas or electricity.
2: Contact Your Insurance Company and Restoration Professionals
Find out whether your insurance policy covers any of the damages. There’s a wide variety of differences in policies, but most companies require you to purchase a special insurance to cover flooding. Sometimes, however, damages from the plumbing system or a leaking water heater may be covered. Call your insurance company to get accurate information and tell them you plan on contacting United Water Restoration Group for your water remediation professionals. Sometimes your insurance company will offer you other companies but ultimately, it is up to the homeowner to decide which company they would like to use.
3: Remove Water Quickly
Begin by removing as much water as you can, as quickly as possible. You could use buckets, mops, towels, sponges, and a wet-dry vacuum. It’s a good idea to open windows and doors, so water moves through the basement, carrying out moisture-filled air.
4: Move Belongings to a Dry Space
With drying underway, your next step is to remove your belongings to a dry area. Be aware that as furnishings absorb water, they become very heavy. If you’re not prepared to safely lift and handle the additional weight, you could injure your back or legs. Slips and falls create other hazards when there’s standing water because surfaces become slick and it’s hard to see submerged items. Take precautions to safely transport couches, carpeting, appliances, and other belongings from the basement. Move them to a dry, well-ventilated area.
5: Discard Damaged Possessions
Unfortunately, some of your belongings may not be salvageable. If you’ve acted within 48 hours of the flooding, there’s a chance to save porous or organic items. However, you must have these items completely dry before the 48 hours have passed. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, be especially careful with the following materials:
- Fiberglass insulation
- Upholstered furnishings
If these items aren’t thoroughly dried, mold could develop inside the belongings and cause more trouble in the future.
Beware of the Risk of Mold
If the water in your basement has been there for more than a day, there may be mold present. Professionals can address this problem as part of their work. However, it is too easy to transfer mold from the basement to other areas of the home. Spores travel on moving air and through ventilation systems. Spores may also travel on shoes and clothing. Take steps to prevent the transfer of mold from the flooded area to the clean part of the home.
Although you may know how to repair basement water damage, it can be dangerous to address mold without the assistance of a professional. If the flooding resulted in gray or black water, don’t attempt to do any cleanup work on your own. These contaminated waters can harbor pollutants, chemicals, and waste that cause serious health problems.
Protect Your Home From Future Flooding
Focus part of your recovery efforts on flood-proofing your home against future trouble. Take this opportunity to upgrade pipes and appliances. Replace the sump pump or learn how to properly maintain your water heater. Replace basement materials with products that won’t suffer if flooding happens again. Work closely with professionals from the United Water Restoration Group to learn more about how to repair basement water damage and to discuss the best methods of replacing items and rebuilding.