What to do if your home is flooded

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One serious problem many homeowners face during wet weather events is the damaging and dangerous effects of flooding. Flooding generally occurs when there is standing water above the house foundation grade outside your home resulting in 6” or more of standing water within your basement. This standing water can be a result of heavy rain, a river that has overflown, or backed up sewage lines. Even seepage from small cracks in your basements foundation that result in one half inch to a full inch of water can cause serious damage that costs thousands of dollars to fix.

Upon learning that their basement is flooded, many homeowners may be tempted to quickly rush into their basement to attempt to get rid of the water as quickly as possible. This can be very dangerous because there could be exposed electric wires and chords under the water that has flooded your house. Safety comes first! Therefore, it is very important that the first thing you do when your basement is flooded is to disconnect your home’s main electrical switch or have a professional do it for you.

Once it is safe to enter your basement, your next priority should be getting your basement dry as soon as possible. Begin by removing most of the water in your basement using a wet-dry vacuum and then set up multiple dehumidifiers and fans to quickly dry out your basement. Drying your basement as quickly as possible is critical because mold can begin to grow the longer water and moisture is in your basement. Completely drying your entire basement can take up to one to two weeks; be patient, proactive, and thorough to lower the likelihood of mold formation.

If mold does begin to form in your basement, the EPA recommends using effective fungicides that can be purchased at major home improvement stores. If, however, the mold growth is extensive and highly visible it is highly suggested that you immediately hire a certified professional to remove all the mold from your basement.

Knowing what to do if your basement is flooded is very important. However, it is equally, if not more essential, to know how to prevent ever having to experience a flooded basement.

  1. Purchase a home that sets on a downgrade
  2. Inspect roof gutters and downspouts
  3. Run a 65 to 70 pints per day capacity dehumidifier 24/7 from April through October
  4. Install 10 milliliter plastic vapor barriers between finished carpeting and the basement floor
  5. Properly install drywall
  6. Install a sump pump equipped with a battery backup
  7. Repair all vertical cracks in basement foundation

These tips will save you money, increase the safety of your family or employees, and will help you prepare your home or business for the effects of flooding and back drafting when wet weather events occur.