How to Tackle a Flooded Basement

Regardless of where you live, a flood in the basement is not something any homeowner wants to wake up to. Unfortunately, a flooded basement can happen at any time, and homeowners should be prepared with the best ways to respond.

The first thing to do in the event of a flood in your basement is to shut off power, if it is safe to do so. Never enter standing water without shutting off your electricity first or you could be electrocuted. If your circuit breaker is located in your basement, do not enter your basement!  Call for help from a professional.

If you are able to safely get the power turned off, you should try to identify and stop the source of the water.

Common Causes of Basement Floods:

  • Broken Sump Pump: When working properly, a sump pump will remove water from your basement by pumping it away from your home. If the water table rises above the foundation of the home during a big rainstorm and your sump pump fails, you could find yourself with a flooded basement overnight.
  • Frozen Pipes: Winter brings cold temperatures and there is always the possibility of a frozen pipe bursting. Burst pipes can cause a substantial amount of damage in a very short amount of time. The best way to prevent this from happening is to insulate the pipes under your home and to run the water regularly during extremely cold periods. It is advisable to turn off any control valves for the outside faucets.  You will find the control valves inside your home, under a sink, or possibly in the basement.
  • Appliance Failure: As your appliances age, the risk of a failure increases. This is especially true with today’s appliances which contain more complicated electronics and water connections.  And in addition, today’s modern homes have more appliances with water connections than ever before. Unfortunately, if a water heater goes bad, it can release a deluge of water that can soak through floors and walls in a hurry. Routine maintenance can help prevent appliance failure, but there’s no guarantee you won’t face a flood at some point in time.
  • Poor Drainage: Clogged gutters or drain pipes that do not funnel water away from your foundation can also lead to a flooded basement. This type of flooding is easily avoided by making sure you keep your gutters clean and that your downspouts are routing the water away from your home’s foundation.

Check Your Insurance coverage. 

While your homeowners insurance policy may seem like it covers a lot, it usually does not include water damage from floods or negligence. Most policies include wording that requires the flood to be “sudden and accidental.” This includes things like burst pipes and appliance failures, but your insurance company may try to avoid paying for an appliance failure if they believe it was due to neglect.

Your homeowners insurance may not cover basement flooding from heavy rainfall, regional flooding, storm surge,  or water seeping in from the ground. It also may not cover a broken sump pump, unless you paid for an extra “endorsement” on your policy to cover this.

Call a Water Restoration Professional. 

If you find yourself with a flooded basement, it’s best to call in professional help. Water restoration professionals utilize heavy duty drying equipment and have years of experience dealing with water damage repair. In order to prevent mold and structural damage, time is of the essence when it comes to water mitigation. 

Water restoration companies also have experience dealing with insurance companies, and this experience can come in handy when you are dealing with an insurance company that doesn’t want to pay for a full and complete repair.

Most homeowners simply do not have the training, experience, or equipment to properly dry out and repair a flooded basement. It’s best to trust the professionals who have the high-tech equipment, such as infrared cameras, to measure moisture levels behind walls or under carpet. Many homeowners who perform do-it-yourself repairs miss these hidden areas, which can lead to more damage down the road.

Hiring a reputable restoration company will provide peace of mind knowing you won’t have a nasty mold issue down the road. Sign up for my HomeKeepr community to find a recommended professional if and when you ever find yourself with a flooded basement.  Or Contact me and I will help you find a great contractor to help!