WHO TO CALL FOR A FLOODED BASEMENT
Because of the way basements are designed, they are prone to flooding. Lying below ground level, and usually home to appliances like a washer, dryer, and boiler, there’s lots of scope for things to go wrong. The good news is that basements are usually the easiest room in the house to clean in case of a flood. The bad news? There’ll still be a lot of work involved, and it may end up costing a hefty fee.
When you come home to a flooded basement, it’s hard to know where to start. As water levels rise, there’s a tendency to panic.
Should you grab a flashlight and hunt for the source?
Should you attempt to rescue your favorite area rug?
Should you go out for a coffee and hope the situation resolves itself?
A flooded basement brings with it a host of potential damage that demands a speedy response. Before worrying about damp walls and moldy floorboards, however, you need to address the imminent danger posed by electrical appliances, wires, and sockets being in contact with water.
Do not enter the basement until you’ve shut off the electricity and gas to your home.
Be sure to switch off power to all rooms in your home, as a flood in the basement can still affect appliances upstairs and throughout the house. If you are in doubt about how to do this, you should leave your house and wait for the professionals to arrive.
Once you’ve eliminated all immediate danger, you should get your homeowner’s insurance agent on the line. The sooner you call your insurance company, the better, but make sure you take care of your own safety first.
The amount of coverage you receive will depend on the nature of your insurance plan. Many homeowner’s insurance policies cover plumbing-related flooding (usually given that the homeowner isn’t at fault).
For flooding caused by mother nature, separate flood insurance is typically required. Your insurance agent can talk you through the amount of coverage you’re entitled to and how to go about filing a claim. Many insurance companies are willing to work directly with the various professionals involved in the repairs, so that you don’t have to deal with too much paperwork.
Plumber and/or Water Damage Restoration Company
A basement will typically experience flooding for one of two reasons: a plumbing issue (e.g. a broken pipe or a backed-up sump pump) or weather/natural reasons (e.g. heavy rain or the flooding of a nearby waterway).
The difference between the two is huge in terms of damage and price.
There are three types of water contamination in a flood:
This is clean (or ‘blue’ water). Of all the flooding types, this is the ‘best’ as it will require only pumping the water out, drying the space, and replacing any water damaged items.
This is ‘gray water’ – like water from a washing machine or dishwasher. The detergents in the water can be harmful, so it will need a professional to clean.
This is ‘black water’ – this is sewage or river water that may contain sewage or other toxic materials. This is by far the worst and will require extensive cleanup and disinfecting by a professional.
If your basement has flooded due to a plumbing issue, be sure to shut off the main water supply to your house in order to prevent further flooding and more damage. Whatever the type or the cause of the plumbing, call a licensed plumber that you trust as soon as possible.
A plumber will be able to fix the issue so that you can restore water to the rest of your home while the larger restoration work is taking place.
Regardless of the cause of your flooding, you’ll need to address the urgent task of extracting the water from your basement before the damage worsens. When hiring a plumber, double-check that they have the ability to remove water buildup.
For more severe flooding, there are water damage restoration companies that specialize in extracting water from flooded basements.
THEY ARE EQUIPPED WITH PUMPS AND FANS TO:
Remove the water
Dry out the floors and walls
Get rid of lingering sewage odors
In some cases, basement flooding is caused by faults in the foundation of your home. For example, if your yard has poor drainage or if your local area gets a lot of rainfall, water can leak into your basement through cracks or gaps in the foundation.
If you are unable to determine the cause of your flooding and have eliminated the possibility of a plumbing leak, you may need to hire a foundation contractor to inspect your home’s foundation and seal up any problem areas.
Gutter Repair/ Maintenance Company
In some cases, basement flooding has a simple solution. If the cause is determined to be blocked drainage gutters on the exterior of your home, then the fix is pretty easy.
There are companies that specialize in unblocking gutters or, if required, replacing your home’s entire exterior drainage system to eliminate the floor and buildup of water around the foundation.
Depending on the extent of the damage, some homeowners use a flooded basement as a catalyst for a larger remodel, perhaps one that they had been planning for some future date. For unfinished or partially unfinished basements, this can be an opportunity to turn the room into a more functional living space.
For finished basements that are flood-damaged, homeowners may see the torn-up carpeting, peeling paint, and soggy drywall as the chance to re-think the room’s design.
If flooding has led to structural damage, you will need to replace the damaged parts of your basement. These things must be replaced as quickly as possible if the damage is not to spread (and therefore lead to
more stress and a higher final bill):
- & other critical parts of the structure of your home
If this is the case for you and your home, you can contact a construction company that specializes in basement remodels.
As a general rule, the best approach when dealing with a flooded basement is to contact professionals who have the expertise and equipment needed to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. In most cases, flooding is covered by homeowner’s policies.
If you don’t have homeowner’s insurance, or if your policy doesn’t cover flooding, you still have plenty of options, so all is not lost. If you decide to hire a professional, be sure to get a few quotes before choosing which one to go with.
Although a flooded basement can be a shock to the system, you are far from alone. There are professionals who can quickly and efficiently get everything back to normal.