A flooded basement is one of the most frustrating problems a homeowner can discover.
Luckily most flooded basements aren’t incredibly dangerous or irreversibly destructive. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be expensive and heartbreaking. They’re also very common.
Young children turn on the hose for a water fight and leave it draining into a window well. A pipe bursts or is damaged by construction or other factors. Heavy rains, flash floods, burst dams, and other outside water can find itself pouring into your basement.
It can happen almost anywhere, to anyone.
The steps you take to clean up a flooded basement are particularly important because they can minimize the damage, preserve your possessions, and help you to stay safe throughout the process. Take a minute to read up on the steps of flooded basement cleanup so you’ll be ready in case it ever happens to you.
How to Start Cleanup on a Flooded Basement
- Safety Check. First and foremost you need to be sure that there isn’t a risk of electric shock, gas leak, structural damages, or raw sewage in your home. If it appears to be a burst pipe or outside water then you’re probably safe to enter. In the event of an earthquake or something that would threaten structural damage, you may need clearance to enter. Wear thick boots, gloves, eyewear, and breathing masks.
- Pump Out. For small floods, you can use a wet/dry vacuum, but for more than a couple inches of water, you’ll need a heavy duty submersible pump. You can hire a company to do this or rent one from a construction or home improvement facility. Drain the water into an outside drain, watching carefully that the water level doesn’t rise and looking for any cracks.
- Trash. Some items will likely be damaged beyond repair, such as paper or small wood items, cardboard boxes, electronics, etc. These can be removed immediately. If sewage caused the backup then nearly everything will have to go due to bacterial risks.
- Remove Dirt. Using a shovel, scrape and haul out any dirt and debris by depositing into buckets and dumping outside. Rinse with water to loosen dirt, as it will be much easier to get out wet than dry. Rinse everything thoroughly.
- Sanitize. Using chlorine bleach, scrub every area of your flooded basement to prevent contamination and future mold. Bring in fans to dry once you have sanitized all surfaces and objects, and be sure that all moisture has evaporated. Follow up days and weeks later with more bleach mixture to ensure no moisture is left to create mold and decay.