Flooded basements cause homeowners a lot of headaches and unnecessary expense. Water may leak in by seeping through the floor or walls, and also from ducts or vents that have not been sealed properly. The water has no reasonable way out if the home hasn’t been properly constructed. Flooding can also result in major mold problems, bad odors and slime! A little effort in maintaining a dry basement can prevent basements from getting flooded in case of heavy rainfall or excessive snow melting. Of course your local water table can have a great impact on flooding.
Flooded Basements 101
There are several things you should be aware of if your basement is flooded. First, before entering a flooded basement, ensure that the electricity and gas has been turned off. Doors and windows should be opened where possible to allow fresh air to circulate through the basement. Structural damage to walls need to be checked both from the inside and outside. Preventive measures such as sealing joints between walls and floor and moving drainage pipes away from low lying areas around the house can prevent flooded basements before they occur.
Steps to Handle a Flooded Basement
The first and foremost step in restoring a flooded basement to normalcy would be to pump out the water. This can be done using a gas pump or one that has been connected to an electric line outside the house. Connecting a pump to the electric system in the house may prove to be hazardous. As a structural precaution, care should be taken so that the water is not pumped out too quickly from the basement; this may result in the walls being pushed up leading to structural damage. Pumping out the water might even be expanded over a span of three to four days, depending on how much there is.
Once the water has been pumped out, the actual cleaning process begins. If you will be cleaning the basement, you will need to wear protective gear such as gloves and boots. Start by picking out contaminated and wet garbage from the floor; using a shovel is recommended. Check for any debris or mud on the floor. Floors and walls can also be hosed to clean them up. The basement needs to be dried out using a heating system or a dehumidifier before moving items into the space. Check the yellow pages for basement recovery or flood recovery companies that specialize in this type of cleaning, and have all the right equipment. Don’t forget local rental agencies also, for industrial-sized pumps and vacuum systems.
Flooded Basement Repair
A lot of structural damage can occur in a basement after a flood. Buckled walls, settled or heaved floors, cracked walls will need immediate repair. If there is any question as to the extent of the damage, a structural engineer, experienced contractor, or even your local building inspector can be consulted. Cracks on walls require special equipment, especially since they may lead into more serious structural damage for the walls at a later stage. A cracked or heaved floor may need to be completely replaced if it cannot be repaired. Contacting a professional may be required for major structural repair.