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How to Clean a Basement After a Flood

drying-basement-carpet

Historically, Wichita has seen a handful of floods that left many residents homeless, prompting digging of the Wichita-Valley Center Floodway in the 1950s. Although the “Big Ditch” has vastly controlled flooding through the city, areas of Wichita are still at risk.

No homeowner wants to deal with a flooded basement. Restoration services can help get your home back to normal if the flooding and damage is too much. These services can get expensive very quickly. Be sure to get an estimate for services and don’t assume that you’re insured; flooding is not automatically covered. Review your policy with your agent before you’re underwater.

In the unfortunate event that flooding occurs, acting quickly is imperative to salvaging personal belongings and reducing damage. Follow these steps to get your home back to normal.

Unplug Electronics & Disconnect Power

Water and electricity can be a deadly combination. Remove the threat of electrocution by unplugging and moving all electronics to dry location and out of the way. If the water is near electrical outlets, turn off the power at the breaker box.

Move Furniture & Belongings

Clearing out the flooded area completely will help salvage any belongings and make it easier to remove the water and begin the drying process. Take all furniture and belongings to a dry location out of the way. If the water level is low, pull up carpet and area rugs that might be able to be cleaned and disinfected.

Remove Water

The amount of water in your basement will determine how to approach removal. If there’s a small amount with some pooling, a mop or some old towels should be enough.

Heavier flooding, however, requires more attention. This is where having the right tools can help remove the water as quickly as possible. If you don’t already have one, rent a wet/dry vacuum or submersible pump and start removing the water in areas that will sustain the most damage (or at the highest point of the room). Keep in mind that these tools will require a power source. No power? Manually remove the water using mops, buckets, and anything else you can quickly gather.

Dry Area

If your furnace wasn’t affected, turn it on to help evaporate the damp areas. Open your windows (as long as it’s not raining) to allow moisture to escape. A dehumidifier should be used when the home is closed. Be sure to monitor the reservoir and move the unit to various places in the basement/home. Set up fans throughout the basement to circulate the air. Floor fans are great to help dry the remaining moisture in the carpet or flooring.

Disinfect

Once the basement is completely dry, apply a good disinfectant on all surfaces to remove any bacteria, especially if the flooding was the result of a sewage backup.

Prevent Mold Growth

After the disinfectant has thoroughly dried, hard surfaces can be treated with a mold control product that contains ammonia or bleach. Use vinegar for ongoing prevention in high-risk areas.

NOTE: If drywall was affected in a finished basement, it’s best to cut out and discard the damaged areas and replace with new drywall.

Properly Dispose of Damaged Items

Please avoid tossing all damaged items into the trash. Recyclable items should be taken to the nearest recycling center. Toxic liquids (paint, etc) and electronics also required certain disposal methods.

Prevention

After the flooded basement has been taken care of, it’s important to know what the cause was in order to prevent future occurrences. Consider adding flood alarms in the basement, which can alert you of any potential flooding. Installing a sump pump (or backup sump pump) is a great way to help keep your basement dry from heavy rain and water leaks or backups. Use an auger to keep your gutters and drains clean so water can be redirected away from your home. It’s also a good idea to seal any foundation cracks, and insulate pipes before winter.

From pumps and wet vacs to dehumidifiers and floor fans, Rental Ranch has a variety of equipment ready to rent and help dry your flooded basement. Check out our selection online or give us a call at 316-838-4211.