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8 Things to Do When a Basement Floods

basement insulation | basement flooding

8 Things to Do When a Basement Floods Blog Feature
Amanda Ringler

By: Amanda Ringler on July 15th, 2019

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Whether it’s from heavy rain or a busted pipe, several feet of water in your basement is bad news bears.

A flooded basement is a headache to deal with but you have to act immediately or you will have even more trouble on your hands.

While we here at RetroFoam of Michigan don’t specialize in flooded basement cleanup or basement flooding repair, we have helped homeowners who had to replace their traditional insulation following a flood. Also, there are a few of us here who have experienced a flooded basement firsthand. 

We’ve been there, so we know what you need to do to keep you safe and to make cleanup easier. Let’s check out these eight things you need to do when your basement floods.

What to Do When Your Basement Floods

Some of the things you need to do after your basement floods are self-explanatory, but others may not seem that important and can make a huge difference in your safety and cleanup.

  • Make sure power is shut off before doing anything. Water and electricity don’t mix. Don’t touch any electrical items until an electrician or qualified repairman can take a look at it to determine the amount of damage that was done. To get to that point, you’ll need to shut off electricity to your basement. You may not be able to get to your circuit breaker because of the water, so calling an electrician is the safest bet, according to Roto-Rooter.

  • Take action as soon as possible when you notice the flooding. Once the basement is safe to enter, you need to figure out where the water is coming from. If it’s from rain, then you’re at the will of Mother Nature and have to wait for it to stop. If a pipe has burst, then shut the water off immediately to stop the water from pouring in.

  • Wear protection. No matter where the water came from, make sure you wear boots, a protective mask, and gloves before getting in the water. If you have hip or chest waders, that’s even better. Make sure you are careful when you are walking around in the water so you don’t slip and fall.

  • Check the floor drain to make sure it isn’t clogged and get that standing water out of your basement. If your basement has a floor drain it can help you in the process of getting the water out. Make sure there isn’t anything blocking the drain and that it is open and functioning. Next up, get that water out of the basement. This can be done in several different ways depending on the amount of water. You can use a sump pump, a wet/dry vacuum, or some flooding requires just a mop and bucket.

  • Anything that is wet and damaged needs to be taken to a dry area. Anything in the basement that got wet needs to be moved to a dry, well-ventilated area. If it’s not raining or overcast, out in the sun is a great option. According to American Home Shield, a good rule of thumb is 48 hours to thoroughly dry out. After that time period, check everything out and reevaluate if it needs more time or if the items will need to be tossed.

  • The wet carpet and drywall need to go. The carpet could be salvageable, but the drywall will need to be replaced. Wet carpet can prevent the basement from drying out completely, which is why you need to pull it out. It can also be a source where mold and mildew grow. If you think it can be salvaged, contact a carpet cleaning company to do the job for you. The drywall is a lost cause as it will retain the moisture and aid in the growth of mold.

  • Replace wet insulation and protect against mold and mildew growth. If you have fiberglass insulation in your basement and it came in contact with even a little moisture it will have to be replaced. That’s because fiberglass holds that moisture, thus promoting the growth of mold and mildew. The best option for basement insulation is something that can create an air seal and will help avoid moisture issues. Spray foam insulation is one of the options available to you.

    RELATED: Basement Insulation Problems: 4 Things that Can Cause You Troubles

  • Call your insurance company. Your homeowners insurance or renters insurance may require special flood insurance when flooding is caused by nature. A standard policy should cover a broken pipe. It’s important to have your insurance company involved every step of the way so you aren’t stuck with bills piling up. 

Basement Flooding Repair

A lot of things could have caused your basement to flood, but now it’s important to make sure it never happens again.

Whether it was an oversaturation of groundwater, a broken sump pump, broken pipe, or backed up storm drain it’s important to call in the professionals to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A specialized contractor will be able to explain why the flood happened and what you can do to prevent it in the future.

Home Insulation

About Amanda Ringler

Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.