Basement Flooding and how to handle it

If your basement floods, there are some key factors you need to consider before entering and beginning the process of correcting the problem. If you are unsure of any of the factors it is often best to call in a professional so that you and your family stay safe.

Make sure power and gas to the area are shut off. If it is safe to get to the main breaker switch, switch the power off at the source. Do not go into the basement if you suspect the water might have risen to the level of your heaters, power outlets, furnace or electrical panels. Water can conduct electricity well enough to give you a nasty shock. If you suspect any gas leak, it is safest to evacuate the premises. If you are able to locate and turn off the leak, open all doors and windows to release the gas. Do not smoke or use anything that can cause a spark. Don’t use any electrical outlets.

Make sure you wear safety equipment such as boots, gloves and a face mask when entering the basement. If you have access to hip or chest waders and the water is fairly deep, these might also be useful to keep you dry and uncontaminated by possible bacteria in the water. There is a possibility of sewerage in the water in areas where the two systems are linked or run side by side. It is better to protect yourself for any eventuality. Be careful of tripping hazards and substances you may have in your basement that could react in water.

If a burst pipe is the cause of the flooding, switch off the flow to the basement, or at the mains until the pipe is repaired. Check that your floor drains are not blocked and water is able to flow out through the drain. Determine the depth of the water to decide which is the best method of water removal. For smaller floods, you could consider a wet/dry vacuum cleaner or even a mop and buckets to remove the excess water. For larger floods, you would need to use a pool pump or sump pump to get the water out.

Remove furniture, accessories, carpeting and anything else that was affected by the flood, out of the basement. An aerated, sunny area is recommended to allow items to dry thoroughly before taking them back into the basement. Throw away paper, cardboard and items of that sort if they did get wet as they can harbor bacteria even after drying out. Remove carpeting completely to allow the floors to dry thoroughly. Open windows and doors where possible to assist with the drying out process.

Consult an electrician before switching on the mains or using any electrical appliances, to ensure it is safe to do so. You might also want to look at consulting a restoration specialist if you want to reuse your carpeting and to check that the floor is completely dry, to prevent mildew and mold growing after you have resolved the flooding.

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