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5 Things To Do When Your Basement Floods

flooded basement with water on the floor

Two little words can strike fear into homeowners’ hearts – flooded basement.

Water is a powerful force that can wreak havoc on your basement and home, whether it’s from a summertime storm, a burst pipe, or another source. The most important things to do are remain calm, remove the water, and protect your home.

Drying a flooded basement can be exhausting. Although collecting water is a vital step, it’s not the only one.

In this article, we’ll cover common causes of basement flooding, how to dry out your flooded basement, how to prevent future problems, and how basement waterproofing experts can help.

Take Immediate Action

Immediately following a flood event, it’s crucial to act fast and begin drying out your flooded basement.

We compiled a post-flood checklist detailing the necessary recovery steps. Here, we’ve highlighted five important tasks:

1. Put Your Safety First

After noticing that your entire basement is flooded, you probably want to get down there as soon as possible and start cleaning before all your things get ruined. However, if the level of water has risen above your electrical outlets in the basement, there is a risk that an electrical current is running through the water. Stepping into that water could seriously hurt you, or even kill you, so it is not something you want to do.

2. Carefully Shut Off the Power

Instead of entering possibly dangerous water, go to the main switch and cut the power off in that part of your home. If you cannot get to the switch without stepping into the water, call basement flooding professionals for help.

dehumidifier and sump pump in basement

3. Remove Flooding Water 

When you can finally go down to the basement, you need to start removing the water ASAP. You can use a dry/wet vacuum to suck in the water, as well as a sump pump. Collecting water with a bucket and a mop is also a valid option.

4. Dry Out and Dehumidify the Area

Keep in mind that flooding can boost humidity levels in your basement, so you’ll need to use a dehumidifier to dry out this area. This way, you will be able to prevent mold growth that is usually triggered by increased humidity levels.

5. Throw Out Moldy and Damaged Items

While your dehumidifier is running, take time to remove your things from the basement and place them somewhere where they can dry up. Be sure to inspect them thoroughly for mold and rot. Determine which things are salvageable and which you need to throw out. If some items have started to smell earthy but are in good shape, get them professionally cleaned.

What Causes a Flood?

After getting everything dried out but before investing in flooded basement solutions, it’s important to consider why your basement flooded in the first place.

In some cases, you will be able to easily determine the cause of a flood, while other times it will seem like the water came out of nowhere. Here are potential reasons why your basement got flooded.

exterior flooding
  • Rainfall or Snowmelt: During a rainy season in Central Indiana, the soil around your home can get oversaturated. When this happens, hydrostatic pressure increases and pushes water into your basement through the porous concrete walls. The same thing can happen when there is a blizzard or large amounts of snow begin to melt.
  • Issues with the Sewer System: There are many reasons why sewer pipes can malfunction. If they are old and made of cast iron, they might be corroded and cracked. Things like tree roots can damage them or they can simply get clogged. This is why you should never flush things such as diapers and wipes, hair, feminine hygiene products, or cooking oils.
  • Negative Grade: The next time it rains, check where all that water ends up. If it pools around your home’s perimeter, you will need to regrade your yard. If you leave it like this, collecting water from your basement will be the least of your worries. Your foundation will become seriously damaged and you may need to invest in expensive repairs.
  • Foundation Cracks: If there are cracks in your foundation, water from the soil will easily enter your basement through them and cause a flood. To avoid this problem, you need to inspect your foundation for cracks now and then and call a repair professional as soon as you notice them.
  • Leaky Pipes and Appliances: Damaged pipes and leaky water heaters can quickly fill up your basement with water. Also, water can leak through the basement windows.

Preventing Future Basement Flooding

If you have never experienced a flooded basement, you are fortunate. However, this doesn’t mean that situation won’t change and that one day you won’t find your basement covered in water. To prevent such a situation from occurring, there are several steps you should take.

Maintain Gutters and Downspouts

By regularly maintaining exterior water management systems like your gutters and downspouts, you can prevent clogs from forming and causing roof water to spill over and oversaturate the soil around your home. Additionally, properly installed downspout extensions will direct the water from your gutters as far from your home as possible.

interior drainage, sump pump, and vapor barrier installed in basement

Install Waterproofing Solutions

Unlike an exterior drainage system, an interior drain doesn’t require any landscaping excavation and is much more affordable because of it. Also, it features an anti-clog design and is almost invisible once installed. This system will catch the water that seeps in through the walls and direct it to a sump pump.

Installed in the lowest point of the basement, the sump pump basin collects water from the drainage channels. Once the water inside reaches a certain level, it activates the pumping system, which moves the water up, out of, and away from your home through discharge lines. This way all that water from the soil won’t flood your basement.

Invest in Other Moisture Management

Intercepting and removing water is crucial, and so is addressing any lingering moisture or vapors. This can be accomplished with a couple of reliable solutions: a wall vapor barrier and a dehumidifier.

A vapor barrier placed on your basement walls does exactly what it sounds like – it prevents moisture intrusion through the walls. However, if water still leaks inside through cracks or porous concrete, it automatically runs behind the liner and down to the interior drainage system.

Dehumidifying your basement is also important. Make sure you have an energy-efficient unit that not only controls moisture and humidity but also cleans the air and minimizes odors.

vapor barrier and braces installed on basement wall

Repair Cracks and Stabilize the Foundation

When you notice cracks in your walls, contact your local foundation repair specialist and have them take a look at your foundation. Sometimes, cracks can be a sign of foundation settlement. Even if they are not, you need to seal them so that water cannot enter your home.

Your foundation and home can also benefit from permanent foundation repair solutions such as carbon fiber reinforcements, wall repair methods like wall anchors or wall braces, and helical piers or push piers to address foundation settlement.

Trust the IFS Pros to Protect Your Home from Flooding

Walking into a flooded basement can be terrifying and frustrating. Your mind races and you wonder how you’ll ever recover from the mess. But don’t worry, it can be fixed.

The best way to dry out your home, prevent future basement flooding, and protect your house is with professionally installed basement waterproofing solutions. For 30 years, our team at Indiana Foundation Service has been helping homeowners in Central Indiana repair and protect their homes. We’re eager to assist you too! Simply contact us to book your free basement inspection and repair quote.

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