Here at Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver, we want you to know what to do next if your basement floods. A basement flood can cause terrible damage and be a highly stressful experience. It is important to understand a few very important steps to get your home and life back to normal quickly and safely.
First and foremost, if you are not sure about the safety of entering your flooded basement, wait until a qualified professional has determined that your basement is safe to enter. Many people fail to think that entering a water damaged or flooded basement can be quite hazardous. Here are a few items to consider with respect to the possible dangers of a flooded or wet basement:
Electrical shock: If your basement is flooded or wet, there is a definite possibility of electrical shock. What to do next if your basement floods is to turn off your home’s power at your main circuit breaker. Only do so if it is safe. If you know that the water level is above electrical outlets, your furnace, heaters, or is close to an electrical panel, do not enter your basement. Severe electrical shocks are quite dangerous and electricity travels well through water or wet areas.
Gas leaks: If your basement has a rotten egg smell, you may have a gas leak. If you can do so safely, open all your doors and windows. Do not use anything electrical or anything that could create a spark or static. Don’t smoke or use matches or lighters for any reason. Call your gas company immediately and evacuate your home. If your basement had any natural gas appliances that may have come in contact with water, follow the instructions above. Please note, that once a gas appliance has come in contact with water, it is not safe to use until it has been inspected and repaired by a professional.
Pollutants: When it comes to what to do next if your basement floods, be sure to find out if the flooding originated from a sewer problem. Sewage can transmit diseases and can contain dangerous bacteria. Be sure to wear protective gear such as a face mask, gloves, and safety glasses and clean, wash, and sanitize items that have come in contact with sewage.
Chemicals: Your flooded basement may have chemicals in the water, depending on where the flooding originated. Limit your exposure to the water and keep the area well ventilated.
Structural damage: In some cases, flooded basements can cause structural weakness and damage.
Ultimately, a flooded basement has so many potential problems and issues; it can be a bit overwhelming and difficult, and in many cases very dangerous to resolve and repair yourself. We recommend using professional services, such as the ones we offer at Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver for your safety.
Call a Plumber
If a broken or burst pipe is the cause of your basement troubles, your water main will need to be shut off, but only if it safe to do so. You should be able to determine whether your pipes are the source of the water. Water from your pipes will be clean. You will likely need a plumber for the repair or may need one to help you locate and shut off the main, depending on your situation. If the flooding is due to a sewage problem, do not run your dishwasher, washing machine or anything that involves drains in your home. Using your drains may cause additional flooding.
Contact Your Insurance Company
When trying to determine what to do next if your basement floods, contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They may have specific clean-up procedures for you to follow, contractors for you to contact, as well as instructions on claims. Some general tips for your insurance company include:
- Make a list of all the items that need to be replaced or have been damaged. Be sure to take photos of everything.
- Don’t make replacement purchases until you fully understand your coverage.
- Keep all receipts for the emergency work done.
- Your insurer may want to be involved in specific portions of inventory or clean-up. Be sure to understand what their requirements of preferences are.
- Work with a restoration company that offers direct insurance billing and has experience with numerous carriers.
Prepare for Clean Up
Protective outerwear is important for clean-up. Follow all the safety precautions. If you are not certain it is safe, it is best to use a professional. Open as many windows as possible and use fans to help with ventilation. The fans will also assist with drying the area. Depending on the amount of damage, you may need to rent a dumpster or prepare to make a few trips to the dump yourself.
To start your clean-up after flooding, salvage your belongings as quickly as possible. The faster that items are removed from the water and dried, the less likely the item will mold, mildew, rot, or be permanently damaged. Place salvageable items in an area so they can dry. The items that need to be discarded should be cataloged both in a list and with pictures. Be sure to check with your insurer about what is required to get reimbursement or replacement funds.
Be sure to remove any rugs to assist with the drying process and remove a level of humidity. Most flooring will need to be removed and discarded, especially if the water has seeped into the under-flooring. Everything that cannot be removed will need to be cleaned and disinfected such as the foundation floor, walls, furnace, etc. Items that can be salvaged may need to be professionally cleaned and dried.
Prepare to Better Protect Your Home
If there are any steps you can take to avoid basement flooding in your future, try to implement them. You may want to consider tearing out the drywall, as well as the exterior framing. There may be damage that is not fully recognizable without taking a look behind the walls of your finished basement. Because you may need to replace a number of items and potentially repair structural damage, this may be an opportunity to renovate your basement into a better space for you and your family, while addressing any issues that were revealed in the flood.
If cleaning and fixing your basement after a flood seems overwhelming, give us a call at Anytime Flood Restoration in Denver. We can help you with what to do next if your basement floods by restoring your home and your peace of mind.