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How to Clean Your Flooded Basement

Puddles of water on a basement floor.

Navigating the aftermath of a basement flood can be daunting. Many homeowners are uncertain if this task they can tackle independently or if hiring professional assistance is better. The reality is that your course of action often hinges on the severity of the flooding and the extent of the damage to your home.

If you’re restoring a flooded basement, it’s always best to work with a professional. They’ll have the proper tools to get the job done right. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps taken when cleaning a flooded basement, highlighting along the way why the hob requires the expertise of a professional.

How to Safely Deal with a Flooded Basement

Navigating a flooded basement requires both caution and preparation. Here are some guidelines you should adhere to when dealing with a flooded basement.

1. Exercise Caution

The importance of exercising caution cannot be overstated when dealing with a flooded basement. Here’s why:

  • Hidden Dangers: Flooded basements can harbor various hazards such as exposed electrical wires, pests, and harmful bacteria.
  • Risk Management: By being careful, you’re more likely to think before you act, reducing the chance of making potentially harmful decisions.

2. Verify Safety Before Proceeding

Before diving into the task of cleaning your flooded basement, you need to ensure your safety.

  • Don’t Assume: Even if you believe it’s safe, never make assumptions. Many people have suffered serious injuries and health complications due to overlooked risks after a flood.
  • Home Inspection: Hire someone to inspect your home. They will look for damage that occurred before, during, or after the flood. This includes foundation cracks, loose or broken gas lines, and exposed electrical wires.
JES inspector showing a homeowner exterior damage to their home.

3. Invest in Professional Help  

Having the right equipment is key for safe and efficient cleanup. Working with professionals will ensure that cleaning your basement is a safe operation.

  • They Have the Right Equipment It’s not sufficient to don a pair of jeans and expect to be safe. It’s best to call in a professional with the right gear to help you clean up the basement.
  • They Have Safety Gear: Investing in high-quality rubber gloves and goggles is essential to minimize the risk of injury.

Remember, investing in safety equipment significantly reduces your chances of encountering accidents and ensures a safer cleanup process.

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Steps for Cleaning Your Flooded or Leaking Basement

Once professionals have assessed all the damage in your basement, they can enter the area and get to work. Here’s a step-by-step guide so you know what to expect.

1. Prepare for Entry

Preparation is key before professionals step into your flooded basement.

  • Air Circulation: If your basement has windows, the team will open them. This lets fresh air in and drives out the stale, humid air—creating a healthier working environment.
  • Safety First: Professionals will ensure that all fuel sources, including electricity, gas, and propane, are turned off before entering the basement.

2. Drain the Standing Water  

Draining the accumulated water in your flooded basement is the next crucial step. However, it’s important to consider the volume of water and the implications of its removal.

  • Professional Help: Working with a team of professionals is imperative here. They have controlled ways of removing water that will keep the rest of your home safe from damage.

3. Clear Out Damaged Items and Debris

With the water gone, a mess may be left over, especially if your basement was used for storage or extra living space.

  • Start Cleaning: The team will remove any dirt and debris on the basement floor. Then, they will remove both damaged and undamaged items to facilitate thorough cleaning and drying.

4. Dry Out the Area

It’s crucial to remove any residual moisture, as it can lead to mold and mildew and worsen respiratory issues.

  • Invest in Drying Equipment: Using fans, dehumidifiers, and other drying equipment, professionals will effectively dry out your basement. They may recommend that a basement dehumidifier be installed for future use to keep humidity levels low.

5. Disinfect All Surfaces

The final step is disinfecting every surface that came in contact with water, as bacteria and other harmful organisms can thrive in these conditions.

  • Kill the Germs: Disinfecting surfaces ensures that all pre-existing and water-transported bacteria are eliminated. A diluted bleach mixture is often effective for this purpose.
JES installer wiping down a basement wall with a rag.

How to Prevent Future Basement Flooding

While cleaning up after a flood is essential, the best strategy is to prevent flooding from occurring in the first place. Here are some popular measures you can adopt to help prevent future flooding incidents in your basement.

1. Install a Sump Pump

Basement flooding can happen to anyone. Having a sump pump can ensure you’re prepared for such an eventuality. While basement sump pumps are often installed in homes with recurring basement flooding or drainage issues, they can also be a preventative measure for homes that rarely experience floods. Once water enters your basement, the pump can immediately start pumping it out, reducing the likelihood of substantial property damage.

Man installing a sump pump.

2. Install Interior Drainage

To prevent basement flooding in the future, and to remove captured water quickly, it’s recommended you install an interior drainage system. JES installs BasementGutter™, a perimeter drainage system that runs along the walls of your basement and snatches up leaking water quickly so it can’t pool or become a larger flood.

Water draining into a basement drainage system.

3. Install a Vapor Barrier

Basement floods often start because of moisture getting through the basement walls. Vapor barriers act as a shield against this intrusive water. They are installed along the interior walls of your basement, giving the area a bit of facelift with their slick, white design.

Vapor barrier completely installed along basement walls.

4. Install Wall Repair Solutions

One of the biggest causes behind a basement flood is a collapsed basement wall. When water builds and builds next to a basement, it causes structural damage like bowing walls or basement wall cracks.

To stop this type of damage, it’s a good idea to install wall repair solutions. At JES, we have a few options such as wall anchors, steel I-beams, and carbon fiber reinforcement. Installing any of these solutions will give your basement walls newfound strength, helping to prevent floods in the future!

Steel I-beams supporting a block basement wall.

The Experts at JES Can Help!

JES employee carrying materials toward a truck in the background.

Don’t leave your home’s safety to chance. Basements can be vulnerable, but with the right help, they can be safeguarded against flooding. At JES, we specialize in identifying potential risks and providing customized, effective solutions to keep your basement dry, safe, and comfortable. Contact JES Foundation Repair to schedule your free inspection, and let’s secure your basement together! Embrace the peace of mind that comes with knowing your basement is in expert hands.

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