DIY Flooded Basement
Flooded basements can occur for many reasons. Although it is never an ideal time to have a flooded basement, following the proper steps can help. A DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Flood Basement dry out approach can work, but there are many factors to consider. Quickly responding to the event and properly drying it out are important to avoid further damage and future damage. Below is a high-level step-by-step guide to cleaning up a flooded basement on your own. However, we do recommend contacting a professional and we will explain why.
Assess the Damage
Check for potential hazards such as electrical wires or gas leaks. Once you are confident that are no gas or electrical hazards, then you will need to determine the cause of the flooding. Flooding can occur for many reasons:
- Sewage backup – can occur in sinks, toilets, showers, tubs, floor drains
- Hydrostatic pressure – if there is enough water sitting around the foundation of the home, it can create significant water pressure and push downwards. The water then proceeds to follow the easiest path which can be up through the concrete floor.
- Cracked foundation – similar to hydrostatic pressure, if you have a crack in your foundation walls, the water follows the easiest path, which is through the crack.
- Improper landscape sloping – If the goal is to get water away from the home, landscaping should not be sloped toward the home.
- Overflowing plumbing – Bathtubs, toilets, sinks, washing machines, and refrigerators can all lead to water damage. If the issue is on the top floor and goes unnoticed, it can damage lower levels.
- Frozen Pipes – in colder climates, if furnaces or boilers fail, pipes inside the property can freeze. When water freezes, it expands and can bust open water pipes.
- Ice Dams – in colder climates, when freezing and thawing occurs in a rapid cycle, ice can build up on gutters and valleys on your roof. When ice dams occur, the next time melting occurs, water can back up into your property.
Decide whether the damage is manageable enough to clean up on your own or if you need to call in a professional.
Remove the Water
To remove all of the water, we must figure out where it is at. Water restoration professionals carry tools to locate the spread of the water. Moisture meters, thermal imaging cameras, and industry knowledge helps locate the water. Water may travel behind studs and drywall down a concrete wall and continue to a lower lying area while the wall appears dry. If you’re confident you can locate and stop the issue from continuing
- Use a pump or wet/dry vacuum to remove as much water as possible. Professionals use commercial grade equipment which has the ability to extract at a faster rate and with more suction. This allows extraction to occur at deeper levels and help eliminate the continued spread of water.
- Dispose of the water properly to prevent contamination and health hazards. Professional equipment can drain into the correct drains while performing extraction, meaning less down time emptying the shop-vac bucket.
Clean and Disinfect
Water damage can have many contaminants and there are different categories of losses. Even if the source of water is clean water (refrigerator hose or sink supply line), the water can be contaminated as it runs over different materials in the property. Carpets may be urine soaked or stained. Floors can have feces from rodents. You get the gist.
- Wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Your personal safety is more important than your property.
- Remove any damaged items. Carpet, drywall, and other building materials can become wet or contaminated and need to be removed. Service Restoration has years of experience working with water damage and the staff is able to quickly assess what can be saved or needs to be thrown away.
- Scrub and disinfect all surfaces that came into contact with the flood water to prevent mold growth and the spread of bacteria. Most home remedies don’t work when trying to eliminate mold. Scientists have created special formulas with enough strength to help prevent future mold growth while being safe for humans and pets to be around once dried. Another reason home remedies can fail, is because the materials may still be wet. Above we discussed how dry to the touch may not mean something is truly dry.
Set Drying Equipment
Fans or dehumidifiers purchased for personal use often can’t circulate enough air or remove enough moisture to appropriately dry the affected property. Additionally, property owners don’t typically have enough equipment to follow IICRC guidelines when drying.
- Set air movers in the correct locations
- Set the correct amount of air movers
- Set dehumidifiers in the correct locations
- Set the appropriate amount of dehumanizers
- You may need to remove contaminants from the air – do you have the proper equipment and knowledge how to remove aerosolized contaminates?
Restore and Prevent Future Floods
As discussed in our Commercial Water Damage post, the best offense is a good defense. To minimize the amount of time and headaches with your property, be proactive.
- Repair any damage that may have caused the flooding. Many property owners have coverage for the reconstruction process, too.
- Replace any items that were damaged beyond repair. Many insurance policies have replacement coverage for items listed when signing up
- Take steps to prevent future floods, such as installing a sump pump or improving your drainage system. Are you able to install drain tile? Can you water proof areas outside if your basement is already finished? Have you checked which direction your landscape slopes?
You're on Your Way to A Dry Basement
In summary, we now know that flooded basements can occur for many reasons and often at in opportune times, such as returning home from vacation. Although it is never an ideal time to have a flooded basement, following the proper steps can help eliminate expense and time wasted. As we discussed, a DIY (Do-it-yourself) Flood Basement dry out approach can work, but there are many factors to consider and often speed is the name of the game. You should make a quick decision if you want to do it yourself or if you want professional help. In conclusion, due to the complexities and knowledge required, we do recommend contacting a professional.
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