What to Do When Your Basement Floods: How to Dry It Out

Posted by:

Few things are worse than finding out your basement is flooded. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. 

In fact, studies show that 98% of basements will experience water damage eventually. 

So what can you do to protect your basement?

Read on to learn what to do when your basement floods to prevent unnecessary damage and expenses. 

Be Sure It’s Safe to Enter

Before you do anything about your flooded basement, you need to make sure that the area is safe to enter.

If the water is more than two inches deep, you run the risk of getting shocked by an exposed outlet or electrical appliance. If this is the case, you should call upon a professional to pump the water out for you. 

Before you or anyone else enters the area, make sure to turn off the electricity to the basement. This will help minimize the risk of shock. 

Make sure you also have all gas turned off to any gas appliances. If water has reached them or you smell gas, get out of the house. 

Stop the Source of Flooding

So what do you do when your basement floods and it is safe for you to take care of on your own? The first step is to determine the source of the flooding and stop it if you can. 

There are several reasons your basement may be flooding. 

If the water is coming from an appliance or plumbing that was left on, turn it off. If it’s leaking or you don’t know the immediate location of the leak, turn off all water to the house. 

If the flooding is a result of bad weather, you’ll have to wait for the storm to stop to begin the drying process.  

Protect Your Belongings

In the meantime, if it’s safe, you should remove your valuable items out of harm’s way.

Choose your most important items first. These include family heirlooms, important documents, and items worth money. It also includes products that are more likely to suffer from water damage. 

How to Dry out Your Basement 

Once the flooding has stopped and it’s safe to enter, it’s time to start the basement drying process.

The sooner you can start drying out your basement, the less damage you’ll have to your flooring and foundation. The average insurance claim for water damage is upwards of $10,000

Start With Standing Water

The first step in how to dry out a basement fast is to remove the standing water.

The method you use will depend on how deep and severe the flooding is. If it’s minimal, then some towels and a mop might do the trick. Otherwise, you may need to invest in a submersible pump, pool pump, or wet/dry vac. 

While you can get a pool pump from any pool store, you can also rent or buy a submersible pump from your local hardware store. 

A pump can only remove enough of the water until it’s manageable with a mop. 

Get Rid of Lasting Dampness

Once the standing surface water is gone, you’ll need to get rid of the dampness left behind. 

If you have any basement windows, open them up to help with evaporation. You’ll also want to keep all doors open. 

It’s recommended that you buy or rent plenty of fans and space heaters to set up throughout the damp area. A couple of dehumidifiers will help remove moisture in the air throughout the basement drying process. 

If you have carpet, it will need to be removed so that the floor underneath can dry out properly. More often than not, the carpet will need to be disposed of, but there’s a small chance of saving it. Some of your drywall may need replacement as well. 

Prevent Future Mold Growth

Not only is mold left to grow in your basement capable of creating more damage that you have to pay for, but it’s a health concern. Studies have shown that people living in households with mold were 50% more likely to develop respiratory and asthma-related illnesses. This is why it’s important to remove any traces of mold immediately. 

Use bleach or a mold control product to clean all areas that were impacted by the flooding, from the floors to the walls. Once it’s dry, repeat this process again. 

You’ll also want to deep clean any salvageable furniture to ensure it doesn’t become mildewy. 

Get Rid of Damaged Goods

So, what can you hold on to and what do you have to get rid of after your basement floods? 

Any warped or damaged furniture and electronics should be thrown away. A professional carpet cleaner will be able to determine whether your carpet is salvageable or if you need to buy a new one. 

Everything should be left outside to dry for a full 48 hours. If it isn’t fully dry within that time or if it smells mildewy, it should be thrown out. 

Don’t keep anything with mold because it can spread throughout your home. 

Waterproof Your Basement for the Future

It’s impossible to entirely prevent the chance of water seeking into your basement. Fortunately, it is possible to be proactive and waterproof your basement to prevent excessive damage in the future. 

A waterproofed basement is designed to direct the water out of and away from your home. One method is in the form of a subfloor that directs entering water toward a pump before it can harm your home’s foundation. 

There are also wall-liners, stairwell drains, and window drains that can be installed to remove water from these at-risk areas. 

Have a Plan for What to Do When Your Basement Floods

Water damage from flooding is more common than you would think. It’s important to have a plan for what to do when your basement floods so that you can take action and minimize damage. 

Follow the steps in this guide, and you’ll save yourself a lot of money and stress. 

If you want to go the extra mile to protect your home, consider our waterproofing services today.