There are not many things more frustrating than a basement flood. The water is coming in and there isn't much you can do but watch in horror. A truly helpless situation. Then, the aftermath. Yuck!
The First Thing to Consider is Safety. Electricity may be present, so please proceed with caution. If you are at all unsure of your situation it is best to call an electrician to make you are safe.
The Waters That Flooded Your Basement May Be CONTAMINATED. It is common for older homes to have a combination sewer (meaning the sanitary and storm sewer pipes are combined) and therefore a flood due to storms may still contaminate your home. Again, it is best to err on the side of caution and take the steps necessary to sanitize any areas in contact with the flood. If you are unsure how to address the clean-up, call a specialist. We have seen situations go from bad to worse because the clean up wasn't handled properly. Unfortunately, you don't have much time either as mold begins to grow within 24 hours.
Some other things to consider:
- Porous contents (boxes, books, paper, pictures, etc.) are rarely salvageable and could be contaminated. Ask a professional (especially if they are valuable). Take a video of what you are discarding, commenting on the value and origin.
- Drains may have become plugged or partially obstructed by debris. It is wise to have your drains power flushed or at a minimum inspected with a sewer camera.
- Drywall acts like a sponge and soaks up the moisture. Be sure to have your drywall moisture tested and follow the appropriate protocol if found to be wet.
- Some finished basements are framed with steel studs (rather than wood). The portion of the wall on the floor may be a "U channel" and therefore hold flood water within the walls. If you suspect this is the case, call in a remediation expert for direction.
- Air movement and dehumidification is key in aiding the evaporation or "dry out" process. Place fans around the area and point them at the effected areas.
- Sump pumps may have been exposed to debris from the flood. The pump may need to be removed to clean the pit. Call a plumber if you suspect this is the case.
- Your water heater and furnace may have been exposed to the flood. Have a professional assess these items and provide direction on the severity of the issue.