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Flooded Basement Cleanup

Whether your basement is fully finished or your own personal underground storage locker, the last thing you want to face is a flood. A flooded basement can be caused by oversaturated ground around your home, an overflowing river or stream, a broken sump pump, storm sewer backup, a burst pipe or washing machine hose, even a leaking ice maker in your refrigerator. No matter where the water comes from, the law of gravity dictates that water will always flow down to the lowest spot in your home: the basement.

Wondering what to do if your basement floods? Roto-Rooter's water damage experts can help you understand the first steps in fixing your basement problems.

Step 1: Stay Out!

As tempting as it might be to wade through the water to rescue personal belongings, a flooded basement can pose a hazard to you and your family members. If your circuit breaker box is not located in the basement, shut off power and gas immediately. Any electronics or electrically powered appliances in contact with the floodwater are unsafe.

If you can’t access your circuit breaker without walking through water, call an electrician. In the meantime, keep a safe distance from any standing water. If you can, take pictures for your insurance company of the flood.

Step 2: Pump Out

After you’ve eliminated any electricity hazards, begin the water removal process. Start with protective gear--waterproof rain boots and rubber gloves are mandatory. Waders are even better. If the flood was caused by a sewage backup, do not attempt cleanup without proper protective gear.

If the flood is the result of a sump pump failure, you may have to purchase a new one to begin water removal. Check any floor drains for clogs. You can also use wet-dry vacs, pool pumps, or a good old fashioned bucket. If you’re doing it the old fashioned way, it never hurts to ask the neighbors for a helping hand.

When it comes to basement water removal, time is of the essence. Damp, wet conditions can lead to mold growth in as little as 24 hours.

Step 3: Clear Out

In order for your flooded basement to fully dry out, you need to remove everything in it that has gotten wet. Leaving items like tables and upholstered furniture to dry in the already-moist basement will slow the drying process for the entire basement and encourage mold growth. Move wet items to the garage, or if weather permits, to a sunny driveway or patio. Remember to photograph everything for insurance purposes.

If your basement is finished, you may need to remove drywall and insulation up to the water line. Use a razor knife to cut drywall evenly just above the water line.

You will most likely need to rip up wet carpet and padding to allow the basement to dry thoroughly. In rare cases, wet carpet can be salvaged, but it can be costly to fully dry and disinfect. A Roto-Rooter water restoration expert can help you make this determination.

Step 4: Dry Out

Your basement will need several days to fully dry, if not more, depending on the equipment you have available to you to help the process. Open doors and windows, and run fans and dehumidifiers. Depending on the extent of the flood damage and the size of your basement, renting industrial-grade fans or dehumidifiers might be a wise investment.

When it comes to the drying process, it’s important to be patient. Items you’ve removed from the basement should be given a full 48 hours to fully dry.

Roto-Rooter professionals have seen the devastating effects water can have on your home and family. That’s why we understand the importance of prompt response times, and being available around the clock to help get your house back to normal as quickly as possible. Roto-Rooter’s water restoration professionals will provide a free on-site evaluation and work directly with your insurance company to make the repair experience as hassle-free as possible. While some disasters like can’t be predicted, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes or flooding, or have had plumbing-related basement floods in the past, there are a few things you can do to protect your home.

  • Monitor any areas that have had water damage in the past.
  • Keep the number to Roto-Rooter on hand at all times! 1-800-GET-ROTO. Save the number and post it near the areas most susceptible to water damage.
  • Inspect pipes, water shutoffs, sump pumps, appliance connections and hoses regularly for potential leaks.
  • In areas prone to flood damage, install flood alarms for help with early detection and to prevent damage.
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