Flooded Basement: What Do You Need to Do?

October 29, 2022

What should you do if your basement floods?

In this post, we explore how to make your basement safe, usable, and protected against further floods.

Stay Out Until You Know It’s Safe

This is the most important step on the list: do not go down into your basement until you know it’s safe to do so.

When your basement is flooded, electrical devices and appliances that have been exposed to water could create a serious safety risk. You may be electrocuted if you come into contact with any of these dangerous electronics.

Switch off the electricity in the basement before you venture down to assess the damage. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact your power company or a local electrician who may be able to help.

Once the electricity has been shut off, and you can’t see any other immediate risks to your safety, you may be able to go down into your basement.

Speak to Your Insurance Provider

In Canada, repairing a flooded basement costs more than $40,000 on average, so contact your insurance provider immediately after a basement flood to confirm what your policy does and does not cover. You may be able to claim compensation to cover the cost of any repairs, removing the water, and replacing ruined items.

Make sure to submit any evidence and details your insurance company requests in good time. The sooner you clarify what your provider will cover, the sooner you can start getting your basement back into good shape.

Get the Water Out

Once you have cleared out any electrical appliances or devices that may pose a safety risk when switched on, you can start to remove the water. Your local fire department may be willing to do this for you, using special pumping gear, though it’s not guaranteed.

If you plan to remove the water yourself, it’s likely that you will have to invest in a new sump pump — the previous one will have failed for your basement to flood in the first place.

However, a sump pump will be unable to remove the water completely. You’ll need to take care of the rest using towels, a mop, and a bucket. It may be a time-consuming process in some cases, but once the water is cleaned up, you can focus on addressing any damage.

Check and Remove Ruined Items

Basements are convenient spaces to store everything from old clothes and electrical equipment to spare furniture. But a basement flood could cause serious damage to any items in storage, and that can be upsetting when certain ones have sentimental value.

A basement flood can also ruin rugs, carpets, and furniture, and turn them into breeding grounds for bacteria and mould. Anything that has been soaked and left immersed in water may need to be disposed of to avoid potential issues. This is particularly important if the water involved was filthy (i.e. backed up from a sewer).

If the flood water was clean, such as rainwater, it’s possible that rugs and upholstery could be cleaned thoroughly enough to be saved. You may want to have them professionally cleaned, though, to achieve the best results.

You should wear safety goggles and rubber gloves when handling any rugs, boxes, or any other items that have been affected by flood water.

Dry the Basement Out

Your basement will need a little help drying out after a flood: if you leave it alone, unseen areas of dampness could lead to mould formation and possible structural damage (e.g. by rotting wood).

One or more dehumidifiers will help the space dry sooner rather than later, but you can use heaters and fans to speed the process up too.

Undertake a Deep Clean to Reduce the Risk of Mould

\Mould is one of the biggest risks to a household’s health and safety in the wake of a basement flood. Mould spreads via airborne spores, and inhaling these can cause problems for people with allergies, weakened immune systems, young children, and seniors.

Symptoms associated with mould growth include:

  • Irritated nose, eyes, and throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Exacerbated asthma
  • Other signs of an allergic reaction

Mould flourishes in damp, dark environments — and flooded basements are ideal. That’s why you should remove all water and clean your basement thoroughly. However, if you already see signs of mould, remove it as soon as possible.

The Government of Canada website advises wearing safety goggles or glasses, disposable rubber gloves, and a disposable N95 mask to protect yourself while removing mould. It also recommends that you:

  • Use a HEPA vacuum cleaner to clear the area affected before and after cleaning it.
  • Clean areas affected by mould with a dish detergent and water (rather than bleach) using a damp cloth.
  • Tape plastic sheets to walls and ceiling in the affected area to prevent mould particles from spreading.

However, you may prefer to hire a professional mould-cleaning team instead of taking the task on yourself. Leaving it to the experts should be faster, safer, and more convenient.

Have Your Basement Waterproofed to Prevent Further Floods

If you’ve experienced the stress and frustration of dealing with a flooded basement, you’ll understand how important it is to stop it from happening again.

Interior and exterior basement waterproofing services can do that. A professional waterproofing team will be able to identify potential entry points for flood water, whether it’s a crack in the foundation, a broken pipe, blocked weeping tile, or anything else. They will assess your basement’s interior and exterior space carefully to ensure effective waterproofing.

Aluneed is a family-owned and -operated waterproofing company with more than 25 years of experience. Our exterior waterproofing service involves fixing and sealing all foundation cracks and holes, before installing new weeping tiles.

For interior waterproofing, Aluneed will install a weeping tile system, a trench along the foundation wall, and a Delta MS drainage membrane, then connect the weeping tile to your sump pump or drain.

To find out more about waterproofing your basement and protecting your home from a flood, contact Aluneed today.

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