Do these eight things before calling a plumber
Few things are worse than walking into your basement and finding standing water. Dealing with a flooded basement is time-consuming, exhausting, and—you won’t be surprised to hear this—expensive. Fortunately, you can save yourself some big bucks by following this step-by-step guide before you call in a professional Columbia plumber for backup.
Step #1: Know when you need help.
If either of these statements is true for your situation, don’t try to DIY a fix:
- You need to walk through water to turn off electricity to your basement.
- You have more than two feet of standing water.
Also consider bringing us in if you need help inspecting, repairing, or preventing future damage. It’s never a bad idea to call in a professional before you need one.
Step #2: Shut it down.
Make sure you can get through your basement without walking through any water. If you can, then slip on some non-conductive boots and gloves (better safe than sorry!) and turn off all electricity to the basement and any appliances in it.
Also, shut off the water to any broken appliances or pipes. You can make this process quick and simple by turning off the main water supply.
If walking through your basement means walking through water, call an electrician immediately to turn off your electricity safely.
Step #3: Call your insurance company.
Are you covered? Check with your insurance about your policy and how to file a claim.
Step #4: Determine the cause.
If it’s storming, you can likely blame the weather for your flooding. In that case, wait to enter your basement until the weather event has completely passed. Then, when it’s safe, scan your basement to inspect for leaks through the walls, floors, foundation, or windows. Those are all indications that the storm caused too much water to build up around the outside of your basement.
If it’s not storming, you might have a burst pipe. If your basement is finished, it might be a bit tricky to spot the leak—unless it’s a real gusher. Shining a flashlight on the walls and ceiling might help you pick up on wet spots.
Still no luck hunting down the leak? Check your appliance hoses. Sometimes it’s that’s simple.
Step #5: Remove the Water
You can remove standing water from your basement with just about anything, but we recommend a pool pump, wet vacuum, or a mop and bucket.
If you had a sump pump and your basement still flooded, the sump pump obviously failed. (So sorry.) A trustworthy Columbia plumber can help you determine what went wrong and how to fix it.
Step #6: Assess the damage and start removal.
Remove your belongings from the basement, and let them dry for at least 48 hours. Don’t leave these items in the basement to dry; take them to another room in your home or outside for some sun. After 48 hours, begin checking for mold and mildew.
Next, inspect the basement floors and walls. Remove any wet carpet and drywall, which can be breeding grounds for bacteria and mold.
Step #7: Vent and sanitize.
To dry things out, you’ll need good airflow in your basement for about three days. Get some fans, use a dehumidifier, and get as much circulation as you can. HEPA air purifiers can also be a huge help.
When everything’s completely dry, clean it all with anti-mildew spray. We’re talking floors, walls, appliances, furniture… everything. Take precautions to not track anything affected by flooding into other areas of your home. You don’t want to become a fungus farm!
Step #8: Prevent another disaster.
You just went through all of that work to clean up the damage. Let’s make sure you don’t have to do it again! Here are several ways to prevent basement flooding:
- Clean your gutters regularly.
- Move any rain downspouts away from your foundation—at least five feet.
- Install a sump pump and regularly maintain it.
- Inspect sewer lines for invading tree roots and other blockages.
- Snake your indoor pipes annually.
- Check for cracks and weak spots in your walls.
- Grade your landscaping away from your home, sloping at least one inch per foot for six-eight feet.
- Consult a professional for repairs and waterproofing.
At MasterTech Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we can help you keep your home safe and dry. Call us today!