Blog » The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With a Flooded Basement
Flooded basements can be a nightmare for any homeowner or business owner. Not only can a
flood cause major structural damage but it can also pose serious health risks. Floods can
destroy belongings and furniture stored in your basement, and lead to the growth of mold and
mildew, which can cause respiratory problems, allergies, and even infections. According to
FEMA, mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours after a flood. It's important to take immediate
action to prevent further damage and protect the health of your family or employees.
Causes of Basement Flooding
There are several causes of basement flooding, including heavy rain, snowmelt, and faulty
plumbing. In upstate NY, we are no strangers to extreme weather conditions. With the Finger
Lakes and Lake Ontario surrounding us, we tend to get heavy precipitation in late winter and
early spring, leading to a higher potential of heavy rains and snowmelt flooding our basements.
Old or faulty plumbing can also be a common culprit. Some of the most common causes of
basement flooding are:
- Heavy rain or snowmelt: When there is heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the ground can become
saturated, and water seeps into basements through foundation cracks, gaps, or misplaced
- Malfunctioning sump pump: A sump pump is designed to remove water from the basement, but if it's not working correctly, it can cause water to back up and lead to flooding.
- Burst or leaking pipes: Pipes that burst or leak can cause water damage and flooding in the basement.
- Sewage backup: A sewage backup is a severe problem that can lead to contaminated water in the basement. If this occurs, you should start with a phone call to your local water authority or town governance.
The Dangers of a Flooded Basement
A flooded basement can cause several hazards to homeowners and business owners. Some of
the most common dangers include:
- Structural damage: Water can weaken the foundation and walls, leading to structural damage and costly repairs.
- Electrical hazards: If water comes into contact with electrical outlets or appliances, it can lead to electrocution and other electrical hazards.
- Mold growth: Mold can start to grow within 24-48 hours of exposure to moisture, and a flooded basement can quickly become a breeding ground for mold.
- Health hazards: Floodwaters can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that can pose health risks to humans and pets.
Steps to Take After a Basement Flood
If you discover that your basement is flooded, it's important to take action immediately. The
longer you wait, the more damage can occur. Here are some steps to take after a basement
- Turn off the power: Before entering the flooded area, make sure to turn off the power to avoid electrocution. If you're unsure how to do this, contact a professional electrician.
- Pump out the water: If there is a lot of standing water, you will need to use a sump pump or a wet vacuum to remove it. Make sure to wear protective gear, such as rubber boots and gloves.
- Remove damaged items: Any salvageable items that can be moved to an area to dry out should be moved as soon as possible. Items that have been damaged beyond repair should be removed from the area and disposed of properly.
- Dry out the area: Use fans, dehumidifiers, and open windows to dry out the area as much as possible. This will help prevent mold growth.
- Disinfect the area: Use a solution of bleach and water to disinfect the area and kill any bacteria or mold.
When to Call a Professional
While it's possible to clean up a flooded basement yourself, it's important to know when to call in the professionals. If the area is large or the damage is extensive, it's best to leave it to the
experts. Professional cleaners have the equipment and expertise to remove all traces of water
and prevent mold growth. Additionally, they can identify any hidden damage that may not be
visible to the naked eye. While some homeowners and business owners may attempt to clean
up a flooded basement on their own, hiring a professional cleaning company comes with several benefits:
- Professional equipment: Professional cleaning companies have specialized equipment, such as pumps, vacuums, and dehumidifiers, to help remove water and dry out the area quickly.
- Experience and expertise: Professional cleaning companies have experience dealing with flooded basements and can provide the necessary expertise to assess the damage and develop a plan for cleanup and restoration.
- Prevention of mold growth: Professionals can help prevent mold growth by thoroughly drying out the area and using antimicrobial treatments.
- Focus on health and safety: Professionals have the necessary safety gear to protect themselves and others from the hazards associated with flooded basements.
The Importance of Carpet Cleaning and Mold Remediation
One of the biggest concerns after a basement flood is the growth of mold and mildew. Mold can grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours after a flood and can cause serious health problems if left
untreated. Professional carpet cleaning and mold remediation services can remove any existing
mold from your home or business and help prevent the growth of mold from occurring.
How to Prevent Basement Flooding
You can’t predict weather events from causing flood-inducing conditions, but there are some
steps you can take to minimize the impact of high precipitation on your basement. Here are
some tips to prevent basement flooding:
- Maintain your plumbing: Make sure your plumbing is in good working order and replace any old or faulty pipes. Take precautionary steps to avoid freezing pipes in winter.
- Clean your gutters: Make sure your gutters are free of debris to prevent water from backing up and overflowing.
- Proper gutter placement: Gutter downspouts should be diverted 4-6 feet away from the foundation.
- Install a sump pump: A sump pump can help remove any water that enters your basement before it has a chance to cause damage.
- Seal any cracks: Seal any cracks in your foundation to prevent water from seeping in.
If you're facing a flooded basement situation, it's essential to take immediate action to minimize
damage and protect your family's health. A flooded basement can be a nightmare for
homeowners and business owners, but taking the proper steps can help minimize damage and
protect your health. By understanding the causes of basement flooding and the dangers
associated with it, you can take preventative measures to avoid flooding in the first place. If you
notice water in your basement, contact a professional cleaning company for immediate
assistance. On The Spot Cleaners, owned by Randy Spurling, offers professional cleaning
services for flooded basements, carpet cleaning, mold remediation, and duct cleaning in the
Greater Rochester, Finger Lakes, and Syracuse region of upstate New York.