Heavy rains and bad sump pumps aren’t the only reasons basements flood. Burst pipes fill the downstairs with water. A broken washing machine turns the basement into a wading pool.
Whatever the cause, you’re facing a mess.
Who do you call when you realize the basement in your home is flooded?
Knowing who to call first and how to secure the situation makes a big difference in how this home disaster turns out.
We want you to be ready, so let’s cover the first things you need to do when the basement floods.
Let’s get started.
Who to Call When You Have Water in the Basement
Whether it’s your home or your business, you want to start cleaning up flooding in the basement right away. However, it’s not usually a DIY job. You’re going to need help.
The most important steps to take when your basement floods begin with these five phone calls.
1. Call Your Insurance Company
Most homeowners insurance policies cover water damage in basements as long as it’s not the result of natural flooding. Contact your agent, and explain what happened. Be ready with details about when the basement flooded, the probable cause and the extent of damages.
Your insurer will arrange for an adjuster to make an inspection. If you don’t have a water damage restoration company on your contact list, ask your agent for a recommendation. We work closely with insurance companies in Chicago every day.
2. Call a Certified Water Damage Restoration Company
In most cases, it’s best to let water damage professionals take care of basement flooding. By calling a certified restoration company, like ServiceMaster by Zaba if you’re in the Chicago area, you’re assured of all the services necessary to tackle the job.
- Fast basement floodwater extraction, cleanup and dry-out
- Basement sanitizing and deodorizing after sewage backup or storm flooding
- Removal, salvage and disposal of water-damaged items
- Tear-out and reconstruction services for finished basements
- Industry-certified basement mold removal and remediation
Our water damage restoration technicians give you a complete assessment of everything that needs to be done. Our staff can also work with your insurance agency. We handle the paperwork and navigate the claims process. You enjoy a fully restored basement.
3. Call a Licensed Electrician
Don’t go down into a flooded basement while the power is still on. Electricity and standing water create a serious electrocution hazard. If circuit breakers are downstairs, don’t try to reach them yourself. Call a licensed electrician.
Even if you can shut off power at another location, it’s a good idea to have an electrician check the flooded basement. His or her inspection can identify and address these potentially dangerous problems.
- Damaged electric lines coming into the basement
- Water levels within 2 inches of electrical outlets
- Basement flood damage affecting electrical panels
- Water damaged wiring behind walls in finished basements
- Appliances or HVAC equipment compromised by basement flooding
4. Call a Foundation Contractor
If you can’t determine the source of basement flooding, it may be your home’s foundation. Our water damage teams locate and address plumbing failures, but foundation cracks and faults need to be taken care of by a contractor who specializes in these types of repairs.
It’s still a good idea to call a foundation contractor after cleanup and restoration. He or she can confirm the integrity of the basement floor slab, walls and footing.
One inspection can identify multiple problems that cause water in the basement, including:
- Shifting foundation walls
- Hydrostatic pressure seepage
- Faulty design or aging construction
- Bad drainage around the home
5. Call a Gutter Repair Company
When gutters send rain or snowmelt into the basement, the problem may be damaged gutter components. A gutter repair company replaces critical parts, such as end caps, drop outlets and downspout elbows.
If your gutters are the cause basement flooding, the company might recommend replacing the entire system. Average costs range between $620 and $1660, but the investment pays off in a dryer basement and increased home value.
How to Secure the Flooded Basement
If you have any doubts about securing the area, let our certified technicians handle it. Otherwise, take these five steps to clear the way for basement water damage cleanup and restoration.
1. Shut Things Down
Turn off the water supply to the house. If possible, turn off electricity to the basement too. However, you may want to leave this to the electrician.
2. Don’t Take Chances
If you’re going to head downstairs, be very careful. Reduce slipping and electrocution hazards by wearing heavy boots. Don’t touch electrical wiring, outlets or appliances.
3. Keep Everyone Safe
Let everyone in the house know the basement is off-limits, and keep the door closed. Make sure kids and pets can’t access the area from an outside entrance.
4. Resist DIY Salvage
Don’t try to salvage water-damaged items. Let our restoration pros take care of it. Leave everything as is so that the insurance adjuster can see the full extent of your losses.
5. Document the Damage
Photograph damages, and organize the information before the adjuster’s visit. If you don’t feel safe going down into the flooded area, take pictures while standing on the basement stairs.
What to Do When Your Basement Floods
You may decide that cleaning up water in the basement is a job you can do on your own. Before you jump in, be sure the electricity, water and gas are turned off.
If water in the flooded basement is less than 2 inches deep, suit up with heavy boots and protective gear. If you’re dealing with contaminated water, lower that safety bar to 1 inch, and wear OSHA-rated personal protection.
You’ll need a submersible pump and plenty of hose to get the water out of the basement. Be ready to rent equipment. Add heavy-duty fans and dehumidifiers to your list. We always recommend disinfecting rental equipment before using it in your home. Plan on allowing three to four days to dry out the basement.
Take a look at this guide on what to do when the basement floods.
Problems Caused by Basement Flooding
The job of DIY draining, cleaning and restoring a flooded basement comes with risks. Protect yourself and your property by anticipating these problems.
- FEMA recommends against pumping out a basement too soon or too fast after heavy storm floods.
- Storms, sewage backups and toilet overflows flood the basement with highly contaminated water.
- Water standing in the basement for more than 24 hours creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
- Flooding in a finished basement spreads water damage through flooring, trim and drywall.
As long as the water in your basement isn’t the result of natural flooding, insurance should cover repairs and restoration. It’s usually safer and more cost effective to let our professionals take care of the job.
Stay Aware of Water Contamination
Never underestimate the dangers and serious health risks posed by water in a flooded basement. Stay safe by staying aware of these three water categories.
Category 1 – Typically, leaks from broken supply lines are the main source of this water type. While it’s considered clean water, it easily becomes hazardous in just a few hours.
Category 2 – Known as gray water, this type of flooding usually results from appliance breakdowns or foundation problems. The water carries unsafe levels of bacteria and mold.
Category 3 – Black water results from clogged toilet overflows, sewage backups and natural flooding. It’s highly toxic and contaminated with dangerous pathogens. Black water cleanup should always be taken care of by industry-certified restoration professionals.
Very few homeowners can be sure of water contamination levels in a flooded basement. That’s one more reason we strongly recommend leaving basement cleanup to our water damage technicians. We want you to stay safe.
Need Help With Basement Flooding in Chicago? Call Us First
It’s good to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing who to call when the basement floods. Add ServiceMaster by Zaba to your list of emergency numbers for basement flooding. We’re standing by with a 24/7 response.
When you need help with a flooded basement in Chicago or the suburbs, call us first: 773-647-1985
How much does it cost to fix a flooded basement?
It depends on the depth and type of water in the basement. Costs for cleanup and restoration average between $2,000 and $10,000.
How do you clean up mold in a flooded basement?
DIY techniques include scrubbing surfaces with a solution of 1 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water. It’s easier and safer to let a certified mold removal company handle the job.
What are common causes of basement flooding?
Basements can flood after heavy rains or snow melts. Leaking appliances, frozen burst pipes, faulty plumbing and failing sump pumps are also common sources of basement flooding.