8 Steps to Take When Your Basement Floods

Basement flooding can occur for a number of reasons: a heavy storm or rapid snow melt; storm or sanitary sewer backup, an elevated water table, burst pipes, or even from disaster or fire cleanup. Regardless of how the flooding occurred, by following the below steps on water damage removal, you will be on your way to safely and effectively cleaning up the mess.

  1. First and foremost, take health and safety precautions. Because you don’t know what’s floating around in the water, protect your health and safety by putting on protective clothing and gear that includes gloves, boots, and a mask or goggles.
  2. Water conducts electricity, so before going down into the basement, make sure all sources of electricity to the basement are disconnected.
  3. If you don’t already know the cause of the flooding, locate the source and do what you can to stop any more water from entering: unblock drains, shut off water valves.
  4. Open doors and windows to get air circulation and ventilation going.
  5. Extract the water. Take whatever steps you can (see #3) to get water moving out of the basement and away from your house. You can do this yourself with a water pump and wet vac. If the water is deep or potentially contains toxic substances, contact a professional to come and safely remove it.
  6. Once the water is extracted, run fans and a dehumidifier to start the drying-out process.
  7. Remove wet or damaged items, including carpeting, rugs, and furniture. Toss whatever cannot be salvaged and set aside belongings that can be saved with cleaning and disinfecting. Wet drywall that has soaked up water needs to come down.
  8. Continue the drying out process. Floors, walls, ceilings, cracks, crevices are all subject to mold growth. Minimize the chance of that by thoroughly drying out the entire space, cleaning, and disinfecting.

A flooded basement should be treated like the emergency that it is. As long as there is standing water in your basement or the flooded area has not been thoroughly and properly dried, cleaned, and treated, your health and safety and the structural integrity of your home are at risk.

How to Get Mold under Control

Molds play a useful and important role in the outdoor environment, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided at all cost. Mold spores, invisible to the naked eye, float through the air. When these spores land on wet or damp surfaces, the result is a potential growth of mold that can be hazardous to your health. Mold produces allergens, irritants, and potentially toxic substances that, when inhaled or touched, may cause an allergic reaction or provoke an asthma attack or other symptoms.

Even though mold spores are present just about everywhere, as long as there is no moisture present, they will not grow. The only real way to control the growth of mold in your home is to control the amount of moisture in your home. If you find mold in one area of your home, that could be a warning sign of a larger moisture problem elsewhere. Flooding, plumbing leaks, and other water damage can cause mold growth in the immediate area that is visible to the eye, but mold also grows in hidden spaces such as behind walls, in insulation and ductwork, and in ceilings. Outside your home, mold grows in vents, on decks, under roof flashing, and in window wells.

Simply wiping the mold away is not enough to stop the problem. Left untreated or incorrectly treated, you will soon find yourself with a larger mold infestation. The following tips from our mold removal experts will help you get mold under control:

  • Identify if what you see on the wall is mold or dirt by dabbing a cotton swab dipped in diluted bleach on the spot. If the spot lightens quickly, it is probably mold. Take further action to track down the source, clean it, and remove it.
  • To prevent mold from recurring, spray an antimicrobial treatment on the area that was previously infested, but is now clean and dry. Note, this step works well in small areas; larger areas require further treatment.
  • When building or renovating an area where dampness or water has been a problem, use mold-resistant building materials to minimize the chance of mold returning.
  • When painting an area where mold might grow (or from which mold has been cleaned), use an antimicrobial treatment on surfaces to prevent the mold from growing or coming back. Use mildew-resistant primer and paint or add a mildewcide to existing paint.
  • In bathtubs and showers, clean out caulk and stained grout, spray surfaces with an antimicrobial treatment, regrout and caulk. Finish by coating the entire surface with a grout sealant.
  • To avoid water entering your basement or crawlspace, ensure the yard surrounding the house is graded so that it slopes away from the house.
  • Perform a yearly roof inspection to check for moisture in attics, insulation, and eaves. If water is getting in, fix leaky flashings and shingles.