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. Luckily, home insurance could end up paying the bill.
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?
WHO TO CALL RIGHT NOW
Here are the people you need to call to help with your flooded basement:
Water Damage Restoration Company and/or Plumber
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.
Some of these approved professionals include:
POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL CALLS TO MAKE
Depending on your situation, you may need to call the following people. Learn more about when you may need to call these companies or individuals below.
A heavily 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.
If your circuit breaker is located in the flooded basement or if you’re at all unsure of how to switch off the electricity in your home, this is the stage at which you’ll want to call an electrician. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to hire an electrician again at a later stage in the repairs so that any wiring can be replaced, electric panel issues can be addressed, and electricity can be restored safely.
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.
A foundation inspection is particularly worthwhile if you experience routine flooding season after season. This is an indicator that the cause is linked to a fundamental issue with the design or construction of your property.
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.
When enlisting the services of a gutter repair company, see if they offer seasonal maintenance as well. Even the best drainage systems can get blocked from fallen leaves and branches. Consider installing gutter shields or screens to protect from falling debris. Routine maintenance will help ensure that the system continues to function properly.
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):
If this is the case for you and your home, you can contact a construction company that specializes in basement remodels.
MORE ABOUT BASEMENT FLOODING
Here is some additional information that may be helpful to you if your basement has flooded.
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.
WATER DAMAGE PROFESSIONAL TOOLS
Water removal and restoration professionals will come equipped with pumps and fans to:
Remove the water
Dry out the floors and walls
Get rid of lingering sewage odors
For minor flooding, some homeowners choose to extract the water themselves using wet/dry vacuums or a mop and bucket.
if water covers the entire floor of the basement, if the basement is carpeted, if there’s a risk of contamination, and/or if the water level is higher than a few inches, it’s best to enlist the services of a professional plumber or water damage restoration company.
As a general rule, the best approach when dealing with a flooded basement is to contact professionals near you 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 this is the case, then your costs will be minimal, although you may need to use their preferred providers (hence why this should be your first phone call).
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.