If your basement is flooded, you need to work quickly to remove the water, repair the damage, and if possible, prevent flooding from happening in the future. Unfortunately, many people with flooding or water damage neglect this, attempting to tackle water cleanup as a total amateur or ignoring the potential harm of long-term issues.
Why is emergency water cleanup so important? And why don’t people treat this matter as the emergency that it is?
Why People Underestimate Flood Damage
Dennis Chinea of NJ Water and Mold says, “the biggest mistake we see our customers make is superficially drying the area and thinking that’s enough. They clean up all the water they can see and believe that’s enough to minimize issues – but it’s not. The water you don’t see, or can’t see easily, can be even more destructive.”
Why do people underestimate the potential of flood damage?
Sometimes, it’s because of pure ignorance. If you don’t know any better, and you’ve already cleaned up all the standing water that you can see, you might believe that everything is just fine. Sometimes, it’s because of reluctance to pay for a professional. They know that calling a professional to clean up the area thoroughly could cost hundreds to thousands of dollars – and they want to avoid such a significant expense. The problem with this is that ignoring the problem usually sets you up for a much bigger expense in the future.
It’s also because water damage can be invisible. If there is significant structural damage behind your walls or if there’s mold growing behind your cabinets, you may not know about it right away.
The Importance of Emergency Water Cleanup for Flooded Basements
Cleaning up the water in your basement is important for many reasons.
· Water damage mitigation. Water can damage your home in just minutes – not days or weeks. The longer the water goes unattended, the more damage there will be, ultimately multiplying the costs of cleanup and abatement.
· Mold and mildew prevention. If moisture remains in a stagnant place for too long, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can have severe health effects on some individuals. Thoroughly drying the area is the only way to prevent mold and mildew from spreading.
· Structural damage prevention. In many cases, water damage is severe enough to cause structural damage, eventually compromising the structural integrity of your home.
· Proactive flooding controls. It’s also important to have a professional inspect the flooded basement so you can figure out why it flooded and come up with a strategy for how to prevent flooding in the future.
The Water Cleanup Process
Cleaning up a flooded basement usually involves the following steps:
· Pumping and direct drying. The first step is usually pumping out the basement, removing water in mass quantities to make sure the area is superficially dry.
· Item removal. After this landmark first step, it’s important to remove any items from the flooded area, such as furniture. Each of these items is going to need to be inspected and repaired or disposed of individually, since they may have suffered varying degrees of damage.
· Dehumidification. Once the basement is clear, water damage abatement professionals can practice dehumidification, using industrial dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture from the environment.
· Hardwood drying. If you have hardwood floors, there are additional considerations to bear in mind, since water damage can cause these types of floors to warp or cup.
· Wall drying. Your walls may feel dry to the touch, but there may be moisture behind those walls. It’s important to ensure the interior space behind your walls is dry as well.
· Inspection. Using advanced technology like infrared sensors, electronic moisture detection instruments, and thermo-hygrometers, water damage abatement professionals can conduct a thorough inspection, verifying that the area is truly dry and no more damage will be sustained.
· Root cause analysis. At this point, you can conduct a root cause analysis to figure out the reason why this flooding happened. You may be able to make repairs or adjustments to prevent flooding from happening again.
What to Do If Your Basement Is Flooded
If your basement is flooded, remain calm, but do take this situation seriously. If there are any electrical hazards in the area, avoid coming into contact with water. In fact, most people are better off contacting a professional immediately so they don’t have to get directly involved.
Most instances of basement flooding are preventable, so it’s important to practice routine home maintenance and address flood risks as you notice them. If, in spite of this maintenance, your basement floods anyway, your best bet is to hire a flood damage abatement professional to get started with the cleanup process as soon as possible.