Discovering a flooded basement can cause even the most strong-willed homeowner to panic because it poses serious health and safety risks. These are ways to prevent further possible damage and avoid long-term damage. It needs to be done quickly and efficiently, but if you go through things step by step, it becomes manageable.
Steps to clean up a flooded basement
Cleaning a flooded basement is probably the last thing you want to do. With a multitude of factors that may lead to basement flooding, it means you are likely to find yourself dealing with basement floods. If you are a victim of basement floods and the water is more than a couple of inches in the basement, it is best to hire a water removal service. On the other side, if the water is less than two inches, you can do the cleanup by yourself. Here are steps to clean up a basement after a flood. Be sure to also check out our appliance and junk removal services.
1. Safety first: Turn off the power
When dealing with a flooded basement, your safety should be a priority. Water might have risen above an electrical receptacle, causing current to flow through the water. In this case, touching the water risks electrocution, whose consequences can be severe. Before anything else, it is crucial to shut off any power sources associated with the flooded basement. If you cannot access the circuit breaker, call a qualified electrician to help you turn off the power.
2. Wear protective gear
A flooded basement might be a hotspot for hazardous materials, including pollutants, raw sewage, and chemicals. Regardless of the cause of the flood, make sure to put on protective gear before entering the basement. This way, you will stay away from possible health issues. At the very minimum, you need waterproof boots, a mask, thick gloves, and goggles.
3. Pump the water out
Once the basement is safe, proceed to find the source of the water. Although this is not always an easy task, it must be done so that you have an easy time when waterproofing the basement.
With one or two inches of water, you will most likely benefit from a wet/dry vacuum or sump pump. A wet/dry vacuum functions like a regular vacuum. If you elect to use it, then you will complete several trips to empty the canister.
When dealing with several inches of water, you will need a sump pump, but proceed with caution – the electrical cord can be submerged in water.
Considering that mold can form within 48 hours, it is imperative to remove the water from your basement the soonest as possible.
4. Remove the water-damaged items and debris
After removing the water from your basement, the real work begins – to clear out the flooded basement. There will be a lot of dirt and mud brought by the water. You will need to shovel mud and debris when still wet and salvage valuable and savable items (discussed in detail below). Of course, some items will be fully damaged.
5. Clean, sanitize, and disinfect every surface
Every single surface that was touched by water needs to be addressed immediately. Generally, you need to clean and dry the walls to prevent mold from growing.
You will need to expose your basement to as much air floor as possible. Besides the natural ways like opening the windows and doors, you can use fans or industrial blowers to help evaporate the water and eliminate moisture.
The final step in cleaning your basement is by sanitizing it thoroughly. This can be achieved using bleach and other disinfecting supplies.
How to clear out a flooded basement
The process of removing water-damaged items can be taxing. For this reason, it is good to seek the help of a trash removal service provider.
When your basement is safe to enter, you should start salvaging your belongings. Notably, some possessions will be completely damaged, especially if raw sewage was involved in the flood. That said, here are tips for handling and clearing out a flooded basement.
Rent a roll-off dumpster
A roll-off dumpster is an open-top container used in projects like home cleanouts. It offers a hassle-free waste removal option for what you cannot leave at the curb, meaning it will help you get rid of what you will not be able to salvage. Some of the things that you will likely throw out include:
- Flooring that has been penetrated by sewage or floodwater
- Insulation materials
- Walls and ceilings that absorbed water. Generally, walls should be removed 20″ above the water level.
- Canned goods, herbs, veggies, and other foods affected by floods
- Inexpensive belongings that were in contact with the floodwater and cannot be adequately sanitized.
Haul the Roll-Off Dumpster Away Yourself
Renting a dumpster allows more flexibility. The appeal of renting a roll-off dumpster is that you can haul it away by yourself, allowing you to select a convenient dumpster location. Hauling your trash by yourself is a cost-effective way to dispose of items that you could not save from the flooded basement.
Have a Garage Sale
Even after rescuing your possessions and sanitizing them, you may no longer want them.
Depending on your situation, if your flooded basement was covered by homeowners’ insurance, you can have a garage sale to trade whatever household items you do not want. Some of the items that you can sell include furniture that was minimally affected and shows no signs of being damaged by floodwater.
Put It On the Curb
Depending on your preference, you also keep back the belongings you saved from the basement. Even if you have a garage sale, there are some valuables that you cannot easily replace. For this reason, you should consider reserving whatever valuables that are hard to replace and have minimal contact with water.
Donate to Charitable Organization
There are some clothes you will rescue but will not wear again for personal reasons. If you are good-hearted, you can denote them among other belongings that you do not want to charitable organizations.
Sell it Online
When clearing out a flooded basement, another cool way to eliminate unwanted items is by selling them online. Although it can be a bit tricky to trade items that have been affected by floods online, you can still make it by making your prices extremely competitive.
Generally, handling a flooded basement is taxing. Regardless of how much water has entered your basement, water removal service and trash removal service providers can help you complete the dreaded task with minimal challenges.
Considering that a flooded basement poses serious health and safety risks, it is good to act immediately. Most importantly, make sure to waterproof your basement to prevent future damages.