How To Clean Up A Wet Basement

With Time It Gets Worse

The tendency, among many homeowners, to postpone dealing with their wet basement issues is almost as widespread as the problem of wet basements itself. Even the mildest wet basement problems (mustiness or dampness) can cause more damage than you think and are bound to result in water damage to your belongings, your property or even your health. Water damage can even affect items stored on shelves in your damp basement because they will absorb the moisture in the air. For some of these items, water damage restoration may be a long and costly process. Don’t procrastinate. Roll up your sleeves and address your wet basement issues.

Wet Basement

Wet basement problems can range from a simple feeling of dampness to standing knee-deep in water. If you have flooding in your basement, you’ll want to start water clean up right away. Be sure to do so correctly by following these instructions:

1. If the water is spraying out of a broken pipe, turn off the water shut-off valve immediately.
2. Disconnect the main electrical switch, and only enter the basement when you know it is not an electrical hazard.
3. Contain water damage by getting as many possessions out of the basement as you can.
4. Try to get all the water out using a shop-vac. You can also install a sump pump in the basement floor to act as a floor drain and speed up water cleanup.
5. Use dehumidifiers to dry the air. Dry air will suck up the moisture from walls, carpets, furniture etc., reducing the amount of
water damage restoration that you will need to do later.
6. Drilling 1’’ holes at the base of the walls allow dehumidifiers to draw out the humidity trapped behind the walls.
7. Throughout the water cleanup process, remember to keep the windows closed so that the dehumidifiers can dry out the air completely.
8. Cement is porous and it will absorb water. To dry it out using a fan or a high-speed blower.
9. Try to complete water cleanup of your basement in under two or three days. You will have minimal water damage, and mold will not have had enough time to form.
10. If you do get mold, spray a fungicide directly on the affected area. Do not use chlorine bleach. While it will kill mold on most hard surfaces, it is too diluted to kill mold in the porous material.
11. Clean off dead surface mold using special cleaning products, and let surfaces dry completely. Wear rubber gloves, and if you have services of professional cleaners.

Once the initial water cleanup is done, determine the cause of the problem, assess the water damage, and decide what kind of water damage restoration you need. If condensation is behind your wet basement problem, consider one or more of the following solutions:

  • Installing exhaust fans to draw out the damp air
  • Insulating exposed pipes, duct works, and walls
  • For relatively minor problems, proper ventilation may be enough.
  • Make sure that air can circulate freely, especially at the walls.
  • These measures will all reduce the need for water damage restoration in the future.

Some leakage problems are simple to locate and fix (broken piping, washing machine overflow …), while others are more complicated to diagnose and to repair (guttering problems, underground dry wells, substrata high water tables …). Solutions include controlling surface water, sealing the outside walls of your, and installing drain and pump systems. Ignoring daunting wet basement problems will only lead to extensive water damage restoration needs (floors, walls, carpeting, fabric, documents etc.).

It’s Not a Fire

While almost all of us are concerned about damage to the home caused by fire, the truth is, our homes are 10 times as likely to be damaged by water than by fire.  Our plumbing failures are the leading cause of water damage.  While we all probably relate plumbing failure to frozen pipes, more than 60% of damage is caused by a plumbing supply system material failure.

This Appliance Failure Is a Top Cause of Water Damage

Our washing machine is one of the top 10 causes of water damage in the home.  The water supply hose failures, machine overflows, and drain problems are the most common causes of hose failure being the primary cause.  These type of incidents can be a disaster if no one is home to stop the flow of water.

This Appliance Failure Sneaks Up On Us

Hot water heaters are another appliance that can develop leaking plumbing and cause water damage.  Pipes can corrode and become weak over time and begin to leak. Ice makers can also be a source of leaks that result in water damage.  Most of the time a hot water leak is small and slow and by the time it’s noticed its set water seeping into the walls which means there’s likely been time for mold to begin growth.

This Is The Worst Of All

Toilet failure is the second most common cause of water damage. Toilet backups and overflows will be the result of faulty fill valves and/or clogged drains. Toilet backup can be a nasty experience.  Having sewage running all over the floor in your house is no fun for anyone.  Hopefully, this never happens to you, but if it does you’ll need professional help to get things properly and completely cleaned up and back to normal.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage

These types of water damage incidents are usually covered by homeowners insurance. So the smart thing to do is have the water damage restoration done by professionals.  This should reduce the risk of needing mold remediation a little later on.