If you have ever had a flooded basement, you surely know how hard it is to get rid of all that water. Even when you manage to successfully complete that task, you are left with damp walls and floors, ruined personal items, and a potential mold problem. After all, mold thrives in moist and dark places, and after a basement flooding, it can quickly spread through the entire area. Even worse, mold releases airborne spores that can contaminate the air in your whole house and lead to various health issues. So what is next?
Put Your Safety First
It is true you should dry it out as quickly as possible, but not at the cost of your safety. If the level of water has risen above your outlets, the electrical current is running through the water. If you touch it, you could be electrocuted. Therefore, turn the power off in this area of your home before you go down to the basement. If you cannot reach the main switch without touching the water, call the disaster mitigation specialist to pump the water out.
Drying Out the Basement
There are several ways you can dry out your basement. If there is only a small amount of water, you can collect the water using a wet-dry vacuum. If you don’t have this appliance, a regular mop and a bucket will do. This is the slowest way to complete this task. Floodwater may contain hazardous materials such as raw sewage and chemicals, so always wear protective gear. Another way you could drain the basement is with a pool pump. The fastest way to drain the basement is with a sump pump.
Getting Rid of Damaged Things
After you have drained the basement, it is time to check which things have survived the flooding and which should be thrown out. Things that can be salvaged should be moved out of the basement and into a well-ventilated area. Throw out wet drywall and insulation as soon as possible because these materials are ideal for mold growth. In addition, if you have carpeting in your basement, take it out, since it can prevent the floor underneath from drying. Things you can save but have gained that mildewy smell should be professionally cleaned. When you have cleared the basement, placing a dehumidifier down there is a good idea since it will lower the humidity levels.
Causes of Flooding
So why did your basement flood? There are several potential reasons why this happened. Here are the most common causes of flooding:
Rainfall or snowmelt – When the soil around your home gets oversaturated due to heavy rainfall or snowmelt, the hydrostatic pressure increases and water finds the paths of least resistance to infiltrate your basement.
Problems with the sewer system – When the sewer pipes around your home get damaged by tree roots or simply decay due to old age, the water from the system can easily flood your basement. If you live in a newer home, there is a slim chance that this will happen since newer sewage lines are made of plastic and not cast iron. Another way the water from the sewage could flood your basement is if the sewer pipes get clogged. In this case, the water will back up and end up in your basement. This is why you should never throw things like diapers and wipes, paper products other than toilet paper, feminine hygiene products, and cooking oils in the toilet.
Negative grade – If every time the rain falls the water rushes toward your house and pools around its perimeter, you have a grading problem. Your yard should be graded in a way that allows the water to flow away from your home. Otherwise, the rainwater will oversaturate the soil around the basement walls and it will eventually find a way in.
Foundation cracks – The groundwater can easily end up in your basement if your foundation is full of cracks. Not only that, but termites and other pests can also invade your home this way. Therefore, keep your eyes open for foundation cracks and call the experts at JES that serve Manassas in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Keep in mind that these cracks more often occur in newer homes than in old ones due to house settling.
Basement leaks – Water can leak into your basement from broken or cracked pipes, concrete walls, broken heaters, or basement windows.
Preventing Future Basement Flooding
To ensure that this problem will not happen in the future, you should invest in waterproofing measures that will keep your house safe from water damage. Here are some waterproofing methods you should consider:
Install an interior drainage system – Interior drain pipes will collect excess water and direct it to the sump pump before it manages to damage your basement.
Install a sump pump system – As mentioned, the fastest way to drain your basement is with a sump pump. This pump has the ability to quickly discharge large volumes of water, and you can even get a battery backup to make sure your pump will work during a blackout.
Repair the cracks – Sometimes a crack in the basement wall will leak when exposed to groundwater. Since water looks for the path of least resistance, a crack provides a way for water to enter the basement. Before you start patching the cracks, contact a contractor in your area. Foundation cracks are often a sign of much bigger problems, so it is recommended to have your foundation checked.
Install downspout extensions – The water from your gutters should be discharged as far away from your home as possible.
If you want to waterproof your basement and prevent basement flooding, contact your professionals at JES Foundation Repair and schedule a free inspection.