Here is a practical guide on how to clean up water in a flooded basement.
One of the most horrific sights a homeowner can come across is a flooded basement. This can cause real problems, as flooding can damage the property you have down there, and even weaken the structure as a whole.
Here are the steps to take when your basement floods, including appropriate repair options.
How To Clean Up A Flooded Basement
If you’re currently experiencing basement flooding, then the next thing to do would be to clean up the mess. But how?
Not to worry, in this article I’ll be telling you all there is to know about cleaning up a flooded basement.
All you have to do is keep reading!
How Did My Basement Get Flooded?
Before we discuss how to clean up a flooded basement, it would be appropriate to first understand how the basement got flooded in the first place.
There are many reasons for basement flooding, and I’ll be briefly discussing them one by one.
Hydrostatic pressure: When groundwater builds up and is not channeled away from your building’s foundation, then it will press against the wall until it develops cracks, through which the water will penetrate and settle in your basement.
This is one of the most common causes of basement flooding.
Open or leaking windows: If your basement windows are left open during the heavy rains, then there would be an inflow of large volumes of water into your basement.
Basement leakages can also cause flooding, although not as fast as an open window, it will only be a matter of time before the water builds up.
Busted pipes: A busted or leaking sink pipe can also cause your basement to be flooded. If left unattended, the singular drops of water, dripping out over time will lead to a flood.
Absence of drain pipes: An indoor drain pipe is meant to channel basement water away into the main sewer system. If you have not installed a drainage system in your basement, then water will not be able to flow away and your basement will be flooded.
A malfunctioning sump pump: Just like drain pipes, sump pumps are also meant to take standing water away from the basement and into the main sewer system.
Most sump pumps are automatic, meaning they begin to pump water away from the basement as soon as the water in the sump pit has reached a certain level. This is done utilizing a sensor that triggers the action.
However, this action won’t take place if your sump pump isn’t working properly. If it fails to come on when the water levels are high, then your basement will be flooded.
Why A Flooded Basement Is Bad
It’s easy to lay back and wait for the flooding in your basement to dry, but waiting indefinitely can be dangerous, and this is why you need to clean up your flooded basement immediately.
Here are some of the reasons why a flooded basement is bad.
It attracts bugs: You will find bugs in any area where there is standing water, and your basement is no exception. Insects like cockroaches, mosquitoes, and carpenter ants are all attracted to water, and a flooded basement is an ideal location.
Let’s not forget that these basement bugs can damage parts of your structure and furniture, so having them around can be very catastrophic.
It promotes mold growth: If you thought insects were bad, then you have no idea how disastrous mold can be. Mold thrives in moist areas, and a flooded basement provides just what they need for growth.
In case you didn’t know, mold is classified as a health hazard. This is because they can be toxic and allergenic. Exposure to mold or its spores can cause skin, mouth, nose, throat, and lung irritations.
It is terrible for those who have already existing respiratory problems, and in rare cases, leads to death.
That aside, mold looks terrible, and it will destroy the aesthetics of your beautiful basement. It also has a terrible smell. To make matters worse, this species only needs as little as 24 hours to start growing, and this is why you should get rid of mold in your basement immediately.
It weakens your basement walls: When water rests on your basement walls over some time, they will begin to weaken. This will lead to cracks and an overall compromise of the walls.
Basement water damage: Basement flooding can damage your sofa, mattress, shoes, boxes, woodwork, and several other items in your basement.
Basement water cleanup and damage repair will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars down the line, so it’s best you avoid it.
Basement Flooding Repair Guide
Now that you understand how your basement got flooded, and the problems it can cause if not cleaned up immediately, let’s discuss how you can get it cleaned.
If you’ve been unfortunate to have experienced flooding in your basement, then I can’t imagine how upset you must be right now.
There’s water everywhere, your furniture is soaked, electronic devices are drenched, and you just don’t know where to begin.
The most annoying part is that you’re probably going to spend hundreds of dollars repairing or replacing damaged property. Not to mention cleaning the basement and fixing the leaks.
Don’t fret though, I’m here to help.
This is why I’ll be discussing all you need to know about flooded basement repair.
The information I’ll provide regarding the matter will be useful, so keep reading!
Flooded Basement Water Removal
The very first thing you need to do in the clean-up process is to assess the damage the flooding has caused, then see what can be saved and what cannot.
Be sure to move all the furniture and property away from the flooded areas so you can clean without obstructions. Taking them outside will be a good idea so that they can dry under the sun’s rays.
Once all obstructions have been moved away and the area has been prepared for cleaning, you can begin taking steps to remove the standing water.
Repairing Your Flooded Basement
Now that you have an idea why your basement got flooded, you can take the following steps to clean and repair the damage.
Step one: Assess the situation
The first step to repairing the damage is to assess it. This will mean entering the basement and taking a look around.
If the basement is still flooded at the time of your assessment, be sure to cut off the electricity to avoid electrocution. You don’t want to walk into a soaked basement with the power still turned on.
After looking around, you will have a fair idea of what you’re up against.
Step two: Take out what you can
You will have to remove your wet belongings from the basement and take them outside to dry. These include sofas, mattresses, carpets, electronics, clothing, documents, and any other item you deem to be valuable.
When your belongings are outside, go through them one by one to separate the ones that have been completely damaged from the ones that can be saved.
Step three: Basement flood cleaning
With the basement clear of your belongings, you will have enough space to clean the water.
Since you’re dealing with a flood, cleaning will primarily involve scooping the water away. You can use a small plastic container and a bucket to do this.
All you have to do is scoop up the water with the plastic container and dump it in the bucket. Take the bucket outside when it’s full and discharge the water at least 30 feet away from the foundation.
This distance will ensure that the water doesn’t creep back in through the foundational cracks.
When the water gets to a level where it can’t be scooped, you can finish up with some towels.
The towels are meant to absorb what’s left of the water. The more towels you have, the faster the leftover water can be absorbed.
Spread them over the wet areas and leave them for about 5 minutes to absorb as much as they can. Squeeze the content into a bucket when the towels are saturated then repeat the process until the water is gone.
Step four: Ventilate the basement
Open basement windows may have been the cause of the flooding, but they could equally help to dry the area. Keep them open and leave your fans on to remove the moisture that cannot be scooped or absorbed.
What To Do When Your Basement Floods
Here is how to clean a basement after a flood.
Tip 1: Check the sump pump
The fact that your basement got flooded in the first place means you don’t have a sump pump, or the one you have isn’t functioning properly.
If you have one, then take a quick look at it to understand why it didn’t pump the water away in the first place. Take a look at the connection to the power outlet to make sure it is intact.
The case may be that someone living in your house disconnected it to plug in something else, then forgot to plug back the pump afterward.
If that was all that went wrong, then you can simply plug the pump back in and pump the water away.
If that is not the case, then the machine may have developed another fault. Calling a repair person would be a good idea. Once it’s fixed, turn it on and let it pump the water away.
Tip 2: Use a bucket and mop
If your sump pump is bad and you cannot wait for a repair person to come over, then you can take other measures to clean the flooding.
If you are looking for how to clean a concrete basement floor after a flood, the faster way is mopping.
How to Soak Up Water in Basement
You will need a scoop, a bucket, and a mop to clean the water.
The process is as simple as ABC –
- Grab the scoop (it could be a small plastic container)
- Scoop up as much water as you can from your basement floor
- Dump it in the bucket
Repeat this process as many times as necessary until the water can no longer be scooped. It is here that the mop will become useful.
Go over the wet surfaces and mop them dry. Squeeze the mop into the bucket once it is saturated, then repeat the process until the floor is dry.
Tip 3: Open the basement windows and ventilate the area
After you are done mopping, make sure you open the basement windows so that some fresh air can come in. This will put the finishing touch to all your hard work.
You should also turn on the fans for faster results.
Final step: Return the furniture
Once the basement is dry, you can bring back the furniture you removed. Ensure they are 100% dry before bringing them back inside, if not they will have a damp smell and can promote mold growth.
So there you have it, that’s how to clean up a flooded basement all by yourself. But don’t get too excited yet, there is still work to be done!
Preventing Future Flood Problems
Cleaning up the flood doesn’t mean there won’t be a reoccurrence. This is why you should ensure that such never happens again.
Here’s what you can do to prevent basement flooding.
Install drainage systems: Installing exterior and interior drainage systems will ensure that both outdoor and indoor water is channeled away to the main sewer system.
Once this is done, the chances of basement flooding will be significantly reduced.
Make sure your sump pump is fully operational: Doing regular maintenance checks on your sump pump will ensure that it works at all times.
Also, make sure it is always connected to the power source.
Re-slope your yard: This can help you keep water away from your foundation, which will, in turn, keep water from seeping into your basement.
A professional landscaper can get the job done.
Keep your windows closed during rainy seasons: When the weather forecast predicts a stretch of rainfalls, then it would be in your best interest to keep your basement windows sealed during that period.
Also, make sure there are no cracks in the windows so rainwater cannot pass through.
Basement Flood Cleanup Help
Basement flooding can damage property which will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix. Follow the tips provided in this article to clean up the flooding and prevent a reoccurrence in the future.
So, guys, that’s all you need to know about flooded basement repair.
Don’t forget to first determine the cause of flooding and assess the situation before you begin.
Hire flooded basement cleanup contractors to do the repairs which you can’t do by yourself, and take steps to ensure that the incident does not repeat itself.
I hope the information provided here has been helpful.
Thanks for reading!