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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Clean a Flooded Basement

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

How to Clean Up a Flooded Basement

Step 1: Be Sure Your Basement Is Safe to Enter

The first thing you need to do when your basement floods is assess how dangerous the situation is. When there is standing water in your basement, there is a risk of electric shock if the water has rose enough to come in contact with an electrical outlet or wiring. If the water in your basement is more than a puddle and it continues to flow in, the first thing you need to do is think about your own safety. If you believe electrical appliances or outlets are already underwater and you cannot walk through the basement without coming in contact with water, do not enter the basement. The most important thing to know is that as bad as the problem seems, it can get worse for you if you’re not careful.

To see if your flooded basement is safe to enter, check:

  • Water Depth: If the water is more than 2 inches deep throughout your entire basement, do not step into the water; you could be electrocuted. Call in a professional plumber or water restoration company to pump the water out as soon as possible. Whenever flooding occurs, regardless of the water level, if you can access your main electrical service panel without entering the basement, turn off power to the basement. If your panel is not accessible, contact an electrician to shut off the power.
  • Submerged Appliances: If the water level in your flooded basement is approaching any gas-fired appliances, like your furnace or water heater, call the gas company and have them shut off the gas. Your pilot light could be out, and gas could be entering your basement. If you smell gas, exit the building.

If your flooded basement does not pose an electrical or gas-related hazard, you can move on to the following steps.

Step 2: Find the Source of Your Basement Flood

Your next step is to determine why your basement is flooding and is to see if you can stop it quickly. Even if you cannot stop the flooding, if you’re able to figure out where the water is coming from, you can inform your plumber or contractor as soon as they arrive and save time.

How to Find the Source of a Water Leak in Your Basement

How do you find the source of your basement flood? Scan your basement and try to pinpoint how the water is getting in. If water is coming into your basement through:

  • Walls, Floor, Foundation or Windows: This is likely the result of heavy rains and/or a too-high water table. You may have to wait for the weather to change before the water stops rising. If water depth allows for safety, shut off power to the basement in case the water continues to rise, and then start moving your belongings to higher ground.
  • Floor Drain: This usually indicates that there’s an issue with your sump pump or home drainage system, or that there’s a backup in the city sewer lines. Your next step should be to find a plumber and get them on-site. If the plumber determines that the issue was caused by the municipal sewer system, call your city’s water and sewage department and notify them.
  • Plumbing or Appliances: Are your pipes or the hoses connected to your washer or water heater spewing water? You’ve found your culprit. Immediately shut off water to the broken fixture. If you think broken plumbing is the source of the problem, but can’t determine which fixture is broken, shut off water to the entire house.

Once you’ve determined the source of the flooding, and have possibly stopped the leak, you can move on to saving items from the flooded basement.  

Water Damage in your basement? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861

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