What To Do When Your Basement Floods
A flooded basement can be a nasty experience, even for experienced homeowners. Here are some “Do’s and Don’ts” to consider when your basement floods.
Unexpected water problems in your home are never welcomed, but they are unfortunately common in the Indianapolis area. A flooded basement may cause even an experienced home-owner feelings of helplessness and panic. If you discover a basement flood, try not to get too excited – we can help! SERVPRO of Indianapolis South provides 24/7/365 emergency service with uniformed, professional, IICRC certified technicians.
After you call us, here are some things you can do to reduce the damage if your basement floods.
- Ensure local authorities have given the “all clear” for your area.
- Safety first! Ensure your electricity is turned off before entering a flooded structure. If you aren’t sure the power is off or if you can’t safely reach the breaker panel call a qualified electrician. We can handle this for you if you call us first!
- Determine the cause or source of the water. If a pipe has burst and is leaking water, shut off the water. There should be a main shutoff valve where the water enters the house.
- It may also be possible to shutoff water closer to the leak. If the water is leaking from a supply line to a sink, toilet or similar fixture there is often a shutoff valve near the floor close to the fixture or under the sink.
- If you aren’t sure where the water is coming from or how to shut off the water a plumber can help. Again, we have relationships with licensed emergency plumbers and can call a reputable one for you.
- Unless the water is caused by rain or rising water, take action quickly to reduce the flood damage. If the flood was caused by rain or storm water wait until the flood water has receded before you start working on the problem.
- For your protection wear boots and gloves before entering a flooded area. You may also choose to wear a protective mask. Floors can be very slippery when wet so use caution when walking on wet floors and stairs.
- If there is a floor drain in your basement check to see if it has become clogged during the flood. Sometimes, removing debris from a floor drain will allow the standing water to drain.
- If you wish to get started before we arrive, begin removing water from the basement. You can use a suction pump, a pool pump, a wet/dry vacuum or even a mop and bucket depending on the amount of water involved. Don’t use a household vacuum cleaner to remove water. A flooded basement can turn into a big job so don’t hesitate to call in the professionals to help!
- Remove and prop wet upholstery and pillow cushions for drying.
- To prevent staining, don’t leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpet or floors.
- Don’t try to save wet cardboard boxes – they tend to grow mold and mildew quickly. Remove things like pictures and papers from cardboard boxes for drying. We offer document drying services if necessary.
- Don’t use the television or other household appliances while standing on wet floors or if the appliances have been exposed to water. Electrical appliances should be checked by a qualified electrician or repairman to determine if they are safe to use.
- Carpet and carpet pad can sometimes be dried and saved. However, because carpet pad acts like a sponge it requires professional equipment to extract the water from it before drying. Usually if a homeowner tries to dry carpet and pad themselves it does not dry properly and begins to suffer from microbial growth and smells musty. This part of the job is best left to a professional!
- If you have insurance for your property, call your insurance company or agent and report the problem. You’ll want to check your coverage limits, the amount of the deductible and claim procedures. Note that some types of water damage such as broken pipes and sump pumps are more likely to be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy than others. Rising water damage may require a flood insurance policy. Be sure to check with your insurance company up front to determine if you have adequate coverage.
Should you call SERVPRO to help with your flooded basement?
Even a small amount of water can turn into a big job quickly and it’s a good idea to at least call us and ask for some advice. Even if you are prepared to work hard to clean up the mess you are not likely to have the right equipment and training to dry the basement properly. This often leads to problems with mold or mildew developing later which can turn into an even more expensive problem that could have been avoided. Call us first and we can help you decide if you need professional help for your flooded basement or not.