If you have recently undergone the misfortune of finding your basement flooded, then you know just how devastating it can be to find your personal items, flooring, and other home items under water. This situation should always be taken on with caution and can be dangerous. No matter how much water is present in your basement, there is still danger lurking. If the water is not removed quickly and effectively it will bring about mold issues, as the ongoing moisture and porous surfaces in a basement are perfect hosts for mold spores to latch on to. The first thing to do after finding your basement has flooded is making sure that you call your insurance company to figure out your coverage. Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover flooded basements, and that is why it is important to look into flood insurance if you live in a flood prone area.
A flooded basement can be caused by plenty of different instances such as flash flooding, broken pipes, or even a sewer backup. In this case, it is best to leave the job to trained professionals. There are three categories of flood damage, and a professional can spot these damages easily, and then set up a specialized plan for your basement that follows safety protocol and guidelines. An important thing to remember is that you should NEVER walk through a flooded basement while the electricity is still connected. Even if the amount of water is miniscule, it may still be electrically charged and that causes a risk for electrocution. Even though electrical pumps and wet-vacuums seem like the “go-to” equipment, it causes a large risk of electrical shock. Leaving the job to the professionals in this type of situation is in your best interest unless you have the proper tools and experience with water mitigation.
From there, you should call your electric company to have the service disconnected. Once the electricity is off, then it is safe to begin cleaning your basement of water and any debris. When the water mitigation and dry-out service is finished by a licensed professional you can call your electric company to have the power re-connected. It is important to have a licensed electrician assess your basement and electrical lines before you call the utilities to reconnect the power, as they can spot any damages that you may not have been able to.
It is also a smart idea to have your natural gas turned off if your basement has flooded. Water heaters, furnaces, and heaters may have pilot lights that can be exposed to the water and put out in the midst of the flood. If the pilot lights are put out then this may cause natural gas to escape into your home, generating the risk of an explosion. Once the water has been mitigated and your property has been thoroughly dried out you should call a professional to inspect your water heater and furnace to make sure it didn’t sustain any damages during the flood. If all is good after the inspection, then you can call your local public works to turn your supply back on.
A flooded basement is a serious matter and should be taken as such. If you have black water (Category III) present on your property then it is vital to call in professionals, as this water contains contaminants that can be hazardous to your health if inhaled. Each flood comes with its own set of mitigation challenges, and it is best left to the professionals who have experience removing the water and drying out the basement effectively.