Many Denver residents have had to deal with flooded basements in the past three months. This has been one of the wettest springs on record. Here are a few pointers on what to do when your basement floods.
Find the source
Is it rainwater seeping in through windows, walls or the floor? If so, check your downspouts to make sure they are diverting water away from your foundation. Can you find water pooling around the exterior of your house? If it has no where to go it is going to seep down against your foundation and basement. Unfortunately, if it is rainwater, the rain just has to stop so the below ground water table drops. On top of that insurance does not cover rain or flooding. unless you have flood insurance, which is expensive.
Do you suspect a plumbing leak? If so, find the water main shutoff in your house. That will stop all water within your home. Sometimes there is a break between the shutoff in the street and the shut off in your house. If the inside shutoff valve does not stop the flooding you need to get hold of your water company on the emergency line so they can quickly shut it off.
Dry your stuff as quickly as you can
Carpet backing will suffer if wet for any period of time and it is weakened if you walk on it. It is very likely that your carpet needs to be removed quickly. Wood furniture and flooring will also absorb water. If you can get your furniture out of the standing water, that will reduce the amount of water it absorbs. Assuming you do not have a functioning floor drain or sump pump, you need to get the water out of your basement. Depending on how much water you have in your basement, a wet / dry shop vac is good for collecting the water. Hopefully you have a basement sink so you can at least get it out without taking it upstairs. Water gets heavy after a while.
Once you have the standing water out, it is time to get a dehumidifier in your basement to pull the moisture out of the furniture and flooring. This is a crucial step to reduce your risk of molds growing. Mold requires water and food. Food is anything from drywall to carpet to wood. You need a commercial dehumidifier and some fans to move the air and pull the water out quickly.
There are flood and fire restoration companies that jump all over these issues. The price was a little shocking last time I needed to research it. So, decide for yourself if you are up to the task or if you need a professional. The best advice I heard in the process, was make sure the water source has stopped before you invest anything in water removal. In Denver, these past few months, it has meant wait for the rain to stop or at least slow.
The big issue for your health and home is mold. Mold can grow quickly and cause a few health and safety issues if it is not dealt with quickly. If you suspect you have mold growing in your house, spend the money on a professional opinion quickly.
Get a sump pump to fight this battle for you in the future. Sump pumps sit below your foundation and pump water out of and away from your house as either the water table rises under your home or water from a leak flows into your basement. Either way, it will automatically kick on as it senses water.
Make sure your floor drain is working and clear. A slow floor drain is not obvious until it is too late. A sewer scope or line cleaning are both affordable vs the damage standing water can create.