What to Do After My Minnesota Basement Floods
Water damage can occur in your home in various ways. Whether it is due to a storm or other weather-related event, a leaky pipe, or another internal issue, water damage in your residential property is an emergency that requires immediate action. However, some cases of water damage are more severe than others, including floods.
When it comes to home flooding, basements are one of the most common areas that are affected. When basement floods occur, they will easily damage your belongings and home’s building materials. The water becomes absorbed within these materials and makes its way to new areas which spreads the damage. If you don’t act promptly, then the damage will worsen.
Knowing this, homeowners should take the time to learn how to respond to flooded basements. Keep reading for tips on what to do after your basement floods.
Prioritize Your Safety
Before you do anything, make sure you are safe. Ideally, you want to go into the floodwater, turn off the electricity and address any electronics, salvage items, and remove the water. However, it isn’t always safe for you to simply go into the water.
Floodwater can often be harmful to your health, so you shouldn’t be exposed to it. The water could also cause electric shocks if it has come into contact with any electrical wiring or outlets.
To determine whether the flood water is safe to enter, you need to consider its source and depth. If you know the source of the flood, then you might be able to determine whether the floodwater is clean or if it’s gray or black water — both of which are unclean and can be harmful.
If the water is less than 2 inches deep, then it should be fine to enter. If it’s higher than 2 inches, stay away. The water could cause an electric shock, so immediately call a professional for help. In the event that the water has reached or is approaching gas-powered appliances, call your gas company to have the gas shut off. If you can, turn the electricity off yourself. Otherwise, call your electric company to do it for you.
When you go into the water, make sure you wear the proper gear to protect yourself, including rubber boots and gloves.
Locate the Flood’s Source
If is safe to enter your flooded basement, the next step is to find out where the water is coming from. It is important to locate the source of the flood so you can stop it from getting worse. If you find the source, do what you can to stop it. For example, if a pipe burst and is spilling water out into your basement, turn the main water line off. If you cannot stop it, it’s still good to know the source so you can inform professionals when they arrive to help.
Salvage What You Can
After stopping the water, grab whatever you can from your flooded basement and move it elsewhere. Ideally, you should bring these items upstairs and out of the flooded basement so that they are not affected or damaged further by the water.
Begin by unplugging appliances and other electronics and place priority on valuable and expensive belongings. Some examples of items you should prioritize include televisions, important documents, and old family photos.
Extract the Water
Removing the excess water promptly is an important step in not only preventing serious water damage but mold growth as well. If the volume of water is minimal enough, then you can rid of the water using buckets and mops. Otherwise, use a wet/dry vacuum or submersible pump. If you do not already own either of these items, you can rent them from your local hardware store.
Dry the Basement
Although eliminating the excess water is important to prevent mold growth, the affected areas must be dried thoroughly to give you the best chance at avoiding mold.
If your basement has windows, open them up to quicken the drying. Set up electric fans throughout your basement to help, and turn the fans on to their highest setting.
If you have a space heater, you can also use that to speed up the water evaporation process. However, space heaters can cause high humidity levels, so they should be used in conjunction with a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier, on its own, is helpful as well, so set it up even if you aren’t using a space heater.
Clean the Damage
The standing water likely left behind various bacteria throughout your basement, so you need to clean up the affected areas and materials to ensure your basement is a safe environment.
Clean affected walls using warm soapy water. Wash and dry fabric items within 48 hours of the damage; otherwise, they may become permanently damaged. If any carpeting, rugs, and furniture have been drenched or submerged in the floodwater, then do not waste your time trying to clean them. The furniture could be saved by a professional, but it is otherwise best to replace these items.
Get Professional Water Damage Restoration Help
Whether it’s unsafe to enter your flooded basement or you need cleaning and restoration help, you should seek assistance from professionals.
At ServiceMaster Professional Services, we can help with your flooded basement through the water damage restoration services we provide in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul and throughout East Central, South Central, and Southwest Minnesota.
Our trained professionals will quickly respond to your call for help. Upon arrival to your home, we inspect the affected areas and assess the damage to develop a restoration plan. Then we proceed with water removal, drying, and repairs. To finish off the service, our technicians will conduct anti-microbial applications to protect your basement from bacteria and mold.
With help from our water damage restoration services, your flooded basement will be clean and safe to enter once again.