My Basement Has Flooded! Now What?
When you discover that your Colorado Springs, CO, basement has flooded, panic tends to ensue, especially if water is still flowing in. How do you stop and extract the water? Is anything going to be salvageable? How do you even restore the area after flooding? These are some of the main questions people ask during a basement flood. Fortunately, all hope is not lost; there are ways to restore much of a water-damaged area and its contents. When it comes to water damage, every second counts, so act quickly.
What Are the Steps for Remediation?
- Prioritize Safety
Most importantly, you and others in the area must remain safe. Before you even step into the basement, turn off the electricity to the basement or the entire house. Electricity can flow through standing water if it's in contact with electronics, appliances, or electrical outlets. If you can't safely navigate to the circuit breaker, call a professional electrician or your power company to turn your electricity off.
- Stop the Water
If the water is still flowing into the basement and it's from a burst pipe or another plumbing issue, shut off the main water supply to stop the water. You can call for pipe repair after you've started the restoration process.
- Wear PPE
If the flood originated outdoors or contains sewage or another toxic substance, it's vital to wear personal protective equipment. This PPE not only keeps you and others in the area safe but also prevents cross-contamination to other parts of the house.
- Eliminate Standing Water
You must extract standing water as quickly as possible. Every minute counts when it comes to water damage, as the damage progresses rapidly. The time it takes to eliminate the water could mean the difference between something being salvageable or not.
- Remove Contents
Remove all affected items from the area. This not only includes basement contents but could also include carpeting and carpet padding, hardwood flooring, and drywall. Flooding will soak carpet and padding; it probably won't be dried quickly enough to save. Wet wood tends to warp and buckle and probably won't be salvageable. Drywall will soak up water like a sponge. You will likely have to cut out the wet parts of your drywall and replace them. Contents such as upholstered and wooden furniture will have to be assessed for salvageability.
- Begin Drying
Mold can start growing within 24 hours of moisture exposure, so everything needs to be completely dried as quickly as possible. If you can't dry it within 48 hours, it probably won't be salvageable. The basement itself will also have to be dried thoroughly as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. It's best to hire water damage restoration professionals to do this job, as they have the expertise and industrial equipment to handle the job safely and efficiently. In the meantime, you can run fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area faster. Heat will also help the drying process.
- Clean Everything
You'll need to clean and disinfect everything to ensure no lingering bacteria, mold spores or other harmful substances remain. Everything that the water touched must be cleaned, including walls and furniture.
When you discover flooding in your basement, time is precious. The sooner you can begin drying, the more of the affected items you can save.