A flood in the basement can present a major clean-up operation for any homeowner. You not only need to try and salvage what you can from the flooded area, but you also make sure you don’t introduce any health risks to your family through bacteria in the flood water or through mold growth due to the basement remaining damp for too long after the flood.
A lot of things can cause a basement flood, from a heavy rainstorm or snowmelt, through to a basement drain backing up. Once youknow the cause and can prevent further flooding, experts say you have 24 or at most 36 hours to dry it out and disinfect everything before mold and other complications become a significant problem, so you need to work fast.
If your flood is severe enough that you won’t be able to complete all of this in that time window, it is best to get professionals in to dry out the basement, though you will still need to clean everything and do some salvaging!
Make sure you turn off electricity to the flooded area before starting work down there. Unplug any electrical appliances in the basement and remove them straight away. If they have been in contact with the water, it is pretty unlikely they can be saved. However, you may be lucky. If you can’t salvage them, you can consider recycling them, as many places take non-functioning phones, computers, TVs and other electronics to use for parts or to recycle, and this is certainly the best way to dispose of them.
In most cases, a carpet that has been in a flood will no longer be serviceable. Even if you can dry it out fully and clean it thoroughly, it is likely to smell musty and may also shrink. You might be able to save some parts of the carpet to turn into rugs, but the underlay will almost certainly have absorbed too much water to be fixed. It is usually best to write off thecarpet, so it makes sense not to use expensive carpet in your basement, or carpet you are very fond of!
Once you have pumped out the water, you will need to disinfect everything that was in the basement. This is because even seemingly clean rainwater brings with it bacteria, and it will also help prevent mold. Floors, walls and any items you are salvaging will need to be treated with a disinfectant as soon as possible.
If the water that invaded your home was sewage water (and you’ll be able to tell by the smell if it was), normal domestic cleaning won’t cut it, so in this case, always call a professional.
Recovering from a basement flood can be pretty hard work, especially if you decide to do everything yourself. However, you may be surprised at how many of the items in your basement can be saved if dried and cleaned quickly enough.