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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Clean Up Your Basement after a Flood

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

Street Flooding Street Flooding

Things to do immediately after a basement flood

  • First, make sure that it’s safe to enter your home. Check for structural damage, such as cracks, holes or warping.
  • Immediately shut off the electrical supply to your home at the main circuit breaker. Be aware of electrical wires that are under the water level.
  • If the flooding is due to a burst water pipe in your home, shut off the main water supply.
  • Avoid direct contact with floodwater, which may contain dangerous contaminants. If you must walk through floodwater, wear protective clothing, such as disposable overalls, eyewear, gloves, and a face mask.
  • Call your insurance company, take photos, and document all damaged items. Make a list of the belongings to restore and to discard. This will help you with your insurance claim.
  • If you have a sump pump installed, wait for it to drain the floodwater. If the pump has a backup battery, it should drain the water even if the power is off.

Basement flood cleanup tips

  • Quickly remove affected items from floodwater to avoid mold growth, warping, and rot. Items that suck up a lot of water (like carpet and furniture) can usually be salvaged if they have been in floodwater for less than 24 hours. Otherwise, throw them away.
  • Completely dry the basement to avoid further damage and mold growth.
    • Suck up the water with a sump pump and a Wet-Dry vacuum.
    • Use dehumidifiers and ventilate the basement as much as possible. Use fans and open windows if the weather allows, but not when the outside humidity is high.
    • Remove the baseboards (if present) and drill 1-inch holes halfway between the wall studs at the base of the walls. This allows moist air from behind the walls to evaporate.
    • Properly drying a flooded basement may take up to two weeks.
  • After everything has been dried, clean and disinfect the basement contents and structure (walls, foundation floor, drywall, etc.). You may need to discard the drywall and wood if a lot of mold has developed.
  • Don’t use bleach to clean mold because bleach kills live mold but not mold spores. Household detergent is preferable.
  • Regardless of the size of the mold-affected area, strongly consider contacting a mold remediation company. They can identify the moisture source and restore the moldy surfaces efficiently and without risk of mold recurrence.
  • Make any necessary repairs, such as filling foundation cracks, replacing damaged drywall with a mold-resistant type, and sealing windows and vents.
  • How to prevent basement flooding
    • Clean your gutters and downspouts and divert rainwater six feet away from the house. Also, make sure the ground is slightly sloping away from your home.
    • Install an emergency generator to provide your house with electricity during blackouts.
    • Install a sump pump that automatically drains water from your basement and prevents water from rising. Choose one with a backup battery.
    • Seal openings or cracks in the walls, floors, foundations, and windows of your house.
    • Install porous pavement around your home to help absorb rainwater and thawed snow.
    • Ensure that your drainage systems and plumbing are working properly. Have them checked periodically by a professional.
  • For basement flood cleanup, call the SERVPRO North Highlands/ Rio Linda restoration professionals

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