10 Feb 2016

Cleaning Up a Flooded Basement


Whether it’s from a hurricane or heavy, spring rains, or a backed-up storm sewer system, a flooded basement is a huge headache. It’s very important to act quickly to remove the water, sort belongings, and dry everything out. It’s a lot of work and many people prefer to call in the professionals for at least part of the process.

Act Quickly to Prevent Mold

The clock is ticking when it comes to water damage clean up. Mold and bacteria can grow in as little as 24 to 36 hours, so get the water out of there quickly. Mold in the house can trigger asthma attacks and cause breathing problems, while coming into contact with bacteria can bring on gastrointestinal upsets and skin infections.

Pump Out the Water

The first thing to do in terms of flooded basement clean up is to remove the standing water from the basement. Homeowners can usually do this themselves unless the water contains sewage (this is indicated by the smell). Do not try to clean up a basement that has been flooded with sewage. Call a professional restoration company, because they have the equipment, protective gear, and strong cleaners to tackle that problem.

Make Sure Power is Off

The power may be off immediately after a flood, but if it isn’t, it’s a good idea to turn it off before pumping the water. If the electrical box is in the basement, have the power company turn off the electric before attempting any flooded basement clean up Then, rent a gasoline-powered pump with a hose that extends through the basement window.

Move Everything Out

After the water is pumped out, begin to remove smaller, wet items such as pillows, upholstered furniture, and draperies to the driveway or garage to dry. Raise larger pieces up on blocks to allow air to circulate under them. Remove the remaining water from the floor with a wet-dry vacuum.

Remove Baseboards

If the basement is finished with drywall, remove the baseboards to allow air to circulate better. Cut holes in the drywall to allow the inside of the walls to dry. If mold has already started to grow, clean small areas with one-quarter cup of chlorine bleach added to one gallon of water. But if more than 100 square feet is involved, it is best to call a professional.

Sorting Through

One pressing question when dealing with water damage clean up is what to keep and what to throw away. The following things should be discarded if they have been underwater for more than 24 hours or if mold is visible on them:

  • Carpets, padding, rugs
  • Fabric-covered furniture
  • Computers, microwave ovens, air conditioners
  • Papers and books
  • Any food items that came into contact with flood water including cans

These items can often be cleaned and used again:

  • Clothing, fabric items, artwork that has not been torn or damaged
  • Jewelry, dishes, glassware, porcelain, metal items
  • Solid, wood furniture even if it’s moldy
  • Some electronics and small appliances
  • Photographs, books, important documents that are damp but not seriously moldy

When to Call in the Pros

While it is possible for homeowners to do their own flooded basement clean up, professional restoration companies have protective clothing, powerful fans and dehumidifiers, and the training to know where to look and what to look for in these situations. While it costs more than doing it yourself, the peace of mind is often worth it.

When disaster hits and you find yourself facing water in the basement, call Vital Restoration to come and take care of it for you. We are available for emergencies around the clock. Put your basement in professional hands!

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