A flooded basement is a disaster no homeowner should have to face, but when it happens, it’s important to respond in a safe, sensible way. The best route back to a safe, clean and dry basement depends on what you do, who you call and what decisions you make. The guidelines below can help you recover from heavy rains that cause water to come into your basement.
Priority #1 – Stay safe.
A wet basement is a safety hazard. Standing in water while handling any electrical device can cause shock or electrocution. If you must go down into a flooded basement, wear rubber boots and make sure you can stay dry. Don’t touch wet electrical wires or devices. Don’t try to vacuum up standing water unless you can plug a wet-dry vacuum into a dry electrical outlet and operate the vacuum according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Determine the cause before you call a contractor.
You don’t need to know exactly what caused water to come into your basement, but it’s important to distinguish between a plumbing leak and water leaking into the basement from outside. A plumbing leak –from a water heater, a bad boiler valve or a frozen pipe— means that you need to call a plumber. If water is leaking in through your foundation, up through your sump pump or through basement windows, call a basement waterproofing contractor.
Remove materials and items that might attract mold.
If your basement has flooded, some materials and items can be dried out and saved, while others are best discarded. Organic materials like paper, fabric, wood and leather will attract mold if they remain wet for more than a day or two. Dry out and save what you can; discard the rest.
Take steps to control water outside of the house.
Are your gutters and downspouts working effectively to direct runoff away from the foundation? If not, clean and clear clogged or overflowing gutters and install downspout extensions as necessary to protect the foundation from excessive hydrostatic pressure.
Protect your basement from plumbing leaks.
Make sure to replace old tank-type water heaters before the interior rusts out and causes a major basement flood. Rubber supply hoses for your washing machine should also be replaced if they show signs of cracking. Check water supply and drain lines for leaks and protect water lines from freezing and bursting.
Replace leaky basement windows and window wells.
During wet weather, old window wells can fill with water, which then leaks into the basement through gaps and cracks. This can be eliminated by installing new basement windows along with a new window well. These upgrades will do more than prevent water leaks; they’ll also make your basement more attractive and more energy efficient.
Install a warrantied perimeter drain system and sump pump system.
The most effective way to protect your basement from water that leaks in from outside is to install an interior drain and sump pump system. Our BasementGutter drain system is a hidden interior drain that captures water and channels it to a sump pump that automatically discharges the water outside your home.