While I realized it had been really rainy, as in torrential downpour on a regular basis, nothing could have prepared me for walking into a flooded basement…Thankfully, I had just picked my parents up from the airport and they entered the house with me, or I probably would have just sat in the water adding bucket loads of my tears to the already huge amount of water in our basement. A basement flood is no joke, but after having been through one (at 6+ months pregnant), I feel qualified to give you a few pointers should you ever find yourself in that situation. So, should you ever come home to a flooded basement, here are a few of my best tips.
A Basement Flood Is No Joke
First things first, it’s really no joke to walk to the bottom of your basement steps only to realize what typically is a sizeable space of dry carpet/tile is now a lake is no joke. If you’re anything like me (please say I’m not the only one), you’ll need a few minutes to regain your composure. Thankfully, my mom carefully guided this pregnant lady upstairs and told me not to worry, we’d take care of everything. But, even still, I might have had a few minor minutes (or several, but who is counting) of mild hysteria. Once I calmed down a bit, I was able to focus on the task at hand and help (as much as they’d let me) take care of business.
Rescuing Your Basement from a Flood
I was fortunate enough to have my parents’ help through the whole ordeal, and I’m now convinced they need to give up their day jobs to start a SERVPRO business. Either way, I’m thankful for their immediate action and helping me figure out exactly what needed done to rescue our basement from the summer flood.
1. Safety First
This was a true learning experience for my husband and I, and might I add a bit of a blessing in disguise. Our basement is now safer, cleaner, and drier than ever. That being said, the first thing to remember is to secure the area first. We had a couple of cords at water level, so we had to cut the power to the area first to make sure the water wasn’t carrying a current. Thankfully our power box is at the basement of the steps and was reachable without having to touch the water first.
2. Identify the Source of the Water Issue
I was in utter disbelief that we could have so much water in our basement, particularly because we have a sump pump that normally takes care of everything. The fact that we do have a pump made it easy to identify the issue with the water in the basement. Apparently some moisture had caused the system to trip, so all that needed done was securing the power supply to the pump in a dry area. It immediately began working again. Whatever the issue, attempt to locate the source of the water problem first. Remedying this will prevent adding any more water to the equation.
3. Move Whatever You Can to Higher Ground
Once we figured out what had caused the water and had that issue fixed, we moved on to basement rescue and damage control. To minimize damage, we moved anything we could to higher ground so that it wasn’t sitting in water any longer than it already had been. Thankfully this wasn’t too difficult for us as we didn’t have a great deal in the basement.
4. Remove As Much Water As Possible As Quickly As Possible
We were fortunate that the sump pump did most of the hard work for us. Once we got it back up and running, it sucked out the majority of the water relatively quickly. If you’re not so fortunate, look for alternative routes for water removal – clearing a blocked drain, using a Shop-Vac, etc. Before the sump pump started drawing water out, I literally thought we might be bucketing all the water out of the basement…
Again, our issue was just rain water, but even so, we disinfected the area and anything in the water to prevent any mold issues or other ickies. Some good old Clorox water did the trick.
6. Dry It Out
Now, we did have some carpet in the basement, so it was important to remedy that issue as quickly as possible as well. To do so, we sucked as much water out as we could with our Shop-Vac, and immediately put fans on the carpet. Then, we rented a carpet scrubber, used it to suck additional water out, and then cleansed the carpet with a disinfectant scrub. The carpet cleaner and the fans were paramount in getting the carpet dried quickly and effectively.
7. Ward Off Odor
Shortly after the flood, we did notice a bit of a musty odor coming from the basement. To eliminate this issue as quickly as possible, we purchased some kitty litter with baking soda crystals and placed pans of it in the basement. Within a couple of days, the odor was gone, and our basement was back to normal.
A basement flood is nothing to laugh about; however, you can rescue your basement and minimize damage with these tips. Likewise, I’d suggest keeping as little as possible in the basement and making sure everything is as organized as possible. We’ve also arranged everything so that it is all sitting on blocks or raised tables, so that should an issue like this happen again, things getting wet shouldn’t be an issue.
If you’ve ever had a basement flood, I feel for you. What suggestions do you have for rescuing your basement and minimizing damage?