Fixing a Flooded Basement: What To Do When Your Basement Floods
It’s an all too familiar scene for homeowners with basements: Following heavy rain, their sump pump fails, filling with water that leads to their basement flooding, and massive water damage to drywall of the basement walls, carpeting, and depending on the amount of water, busting through basement windows. Basement flooding and the clean up, the insurance company that you hopefully have flood insurance through, and all of the damaged items that may not be covered by homeowners insurance or a flood damage clause, are all such an ordeal for homeowners to have to work through. Often an insurance policy will not cover groundwater or natural disasters if they are the cause of the flooded basement, even with waterproofing efforts in place.
Common causes of a flooded basement will be situations such as:
- Defective sump pump or an issue with the circuit breaker the sump pump is on during heavy rains.
- Downspouts that have a clog and disrupts the drainage system’s ability to divert rain.
- Sewage backups can cause basement flooding if there is a floor drain that does not drain and allows standing water, or waste from the sewer lines, in the basement.
- Burst pipes from corrosion, excess water pressure, or other reasons can be the source of the water for a flooded basement, causing a huge mess and need for deep basement cleanup with wet vacs and bleach, to avoid mold growth and mildew that is associated with a wet basement.
What do you do when your basement aka home gym, playroom, or “man cave” turns into a swimming pool?
If you wind up with a flooded basement, it’s important to follow these important safety tips:
- Since electrocution is a number one danger with a flooded basement, wait for the water to recede before you start cleaning up. If you decide to walk in the water, make sure that you shut off the electricity from the main box first.
- Since the water could be contaminated with raw sewage, wear rubber gloves and boots to minimize skin contact.
- When you’re in a flooded area, don’t eat, smoke or touch your face. If you cut yourself or otherwise get an open wound while in a flooded area, seek medical attention right away.
- Do not allow any children or pets near a flooded area.
- While city tap water usually remains safe in the case of a flood, don’t turn any faucets on below the flood water. If you think that your well may be contaminated, call your local health department. If you think the water is unsafe for any reason, do not use it. To disinfect contaminated water, boil it in a clean container for at least two minutes.
- If there is any gas odor, don’t touch any telephones, switches, or electrical fixtures as any spark could ignite the gas. Leave the building immediately, while leaving the doors open for ventilation. Call the local Fire Department and gas company. Do not light a match and do not have any open flames while in or near the house.
- If a furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer or other appliance gets wet in the flood, have the appliances inspected by a qualified technician before using them. If you turn on wet electrical equipment, not only could it burn out the equipment, but you could sustain a life-threatening shock.
- Discard any food, personal products, or medicines that came into contact with flood water and use a dry vacuum to get all of the possible medicines that fell to avoid possible health hazards.
- If you happen to have homeowners or renters insurance coverage for sewer backups or flooding, don’t forget to inform your insurance company right away.
For information about cleanup instructions and plumbing repairs, contact a Kansas City plumber from A-1 Sewer & Septic Service, Inc.!
A flooded basement can be a huge and costly inconvenience. But more than that, it’s an electrocution hazard. If a homeowners service panel is in the basement and there is an inch of water, we have seen DIY solutions such as to use a plastic step stool or a fiberglass step ladder to get above the water and safely switch off the circuits in the basement, or wearing rubber boots and proceeding with caution.
The safest route is to always call a professional such as a plumber, electrician, or water damage restoration company, to assist when you have a flooded basement and live circuit breakers or items like sump pumps, dehumidifiers, or other items that are always plugged in to help with excess water or the like during a flood.
If you have a deeply flooded basement, you have a problem that can turn deadly. Once the water reaches the outlets, you have a profound risk of electrocution, especially if the service panel is located in the basement. You CAN NOT go into your basement safely until it is drained.
If for some reason you must go into the basement while it’s flooded, the only way you can do this safely is to wait until the house has completely disconnected from the electrical grid. To do this, the electrical meter face must be removed from the meter pan – you’ll need a utility employee or a firefighter who is trained in pulling the meter face. This is not a “do it yourself” task.
Additionally, if your home has gas service and flooded gas appliances located in the basement, the gas will have to be shut off from the gas meter outside the home. You’ll need a wrench to turn the metal stub on the gas meter so it’s perpendicular to the pipe.
Keep the following in mind:
- The deeper the water, the more dangerous it is.
- Never go alone into a deeply flooded basement.
- Always bring a bright light with you, it’s dark down there.
- Remember, flooded basements are littered with debris.
- Make sure someone is always standing by you to ensure that you come out safely.
Don’t Attempt to Salvage Gas or Electric Appliances
If you have flooded gas or electrical equipment, don’t salvage them. In fact, the National Electric Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) both say that most flooded electrical equipment should be replaced.
This means to discard all flooded:
- Gas-fired appliances
- Electrical motors
On the other hand, drywall that is above the floodwater can be salvaged, but drywall below the floodwater is no longer good and should be replaced. Occasionally, carpet can be dried, but usually, it will have to be replaced along with the flooring.
Need Your Flooded Basement Drained? Call The Professional Plumbers at A-1 Today!
If you have a flooded basement, you can call on our Kansas City plumbing contractors to get the job done promptly and correctly. Contact A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. today for a quote!