What To Do When Your Basement Floods?
As most homeowners know, unexpected problems are a reality of owning a house. Walking downstairs to find water in the basement after it rains can be a particularly unsettling sight that leaves many individuals unsure of what to do next. But, why is my basement flooding? Should you be asking yourself what to do when the basement floods, there are specific steps to take to get it back to normal and how to stop basement flooding.
Why is My Basement Flooding?
Unfortunately, there are a number of different reasons why your basement might flood. Learning the most commons reasons can help you determine how to stop basement flooding:
Rain-associated problems: while basement flooding can occur with dry weather, water in the basement after it rains is most likely. Cellar flooding after heavy rain can happen for a number of different reasons. For example, if your home is not properly graded, water will not be directed away from your house. This means water can find its way through cracks and holes into the basement, resulting in basement floods during heavy rain. In addition to improper grading, cracks in your home's foundation can result in cellar flooding after heavy rain.
It is important to regularly scan the walls of your basement for cracks, as they are one of the most common culprits of water in the basement after it rains. Sealing cracks is key for how to stop basement flooding. Another rain-associated challenge is clogged gutters and downspouts. When this happens, water will not be properly diverted far enough away from a house’s foundation, resulting in water in the basement after it rains.
Sump pump failure: A sump pump can be installed in a basement to collect water in a designated pit, then pump the water out and away from the basement to ensure it stays dry. When a sump pump isn’t working properly, whether due to a power outage or heavy rain, you are at risk for basement floods during heavy rain.
Sewer backup: A particularly unpleasant answer to “why is my basement flooding?” are basement floods during heavy rain caused by a sewer backup. When city sewers overflow, you might experience a flow of sewage back into your home through drains or toilets. This can then lead to flooding in the basement.
Signs of Water Damage in Basement
Even before flooding in your basement occurs, there are signs to keep an eye out for that can indicate water damage, and help you figure out how to stop basement flooding. For example, you might notice changes in the color or texture of surfaces in your basement. Paint can begin to peel, wallpaper might pucker, or yellow or brown stains might appear on the walls. You might also notice that carpeting begins to take on a spongy feel, indicating trapped moisture below.
Another sign of water in the basement after it rains is an unpleasant odor. As moisture collects in the basement, you might experience a strong, musty odor that doesn’t go away. This odor is likely coming from mold or mildew growing in your basement, indicating water damage. In addition to the smell of mold, you might also visibly spot mold growing in your basement.
A final indicator of water damage in your basement are cracks in the foundation. A buildup of moisture over time can cause the foundation inside and outside of your home to crack due to inadequate draining. Without proper sealing, cracks can lead to flooding.
Catching these signs early and making the appropriate repairs are helpful for how to stop basement flooding, protecting your basement and saving you money.
What to Do When Basement Floods
If you don’t know what to do when basement floods, don’t panic. Take the following steps and precautions to handle the situation safely and effectively.
- Address the flooding immediately. When there is water in the basement after it rains, you may think putting off the issue for a day or two won’t cause additional harm. However, sitting water in the basement after it rains can lead to structural damage as well as the growth of harmful mold. Taking care of the problem as soon as possible can better protect the health of your family and prevent further damage.
- Shut off any power and gas in the basement. One of the most important reminders for what to do when the basement floods is to never enter a flooded basement when the power is on, as this poses a great risk to your safety. If you are not sure if the power is properly turned off, contact an electrician immediately and do not enter the space.
- Wear protective gear. When wading in water in the basement after it rains, it’s important to protect yourself by wearing gloves, boots, and mask. Walking around a flooded basement poses a slipping risk, therefore wearing boots with adequate grip will help keep a sturdy stance in an unstable environment. Having gloves and a face mask on hand will prevent you from coming into contact with harmful substances or spores that may have been unearthed during the flooding.
- Determine the source of the water. This step is essential for determining how to address the flooding. Whether from a burst pipe, rainfall, or sewer backup, you’ll need to know where the water is coming from to make the necessary repairs.
- Begin the water removal process. The amount of water that has collected in the basement will inform which method to use to remove the water. There are a few options available, such as wet/dry vacuums, sump pumps, or pool pumps. Once most of the water has been removed, grab towels or sponges to soak up any remaining moisture.
- Dry off damaged items and discard what can’t be salvaged. If your basement floods during heavy rain, you will likely need to rip up and discard carpeting. This is because it is particularly challenging to fully dry carpeting that has been wet without running the risk of mold or mildew growth. Furniture or other belongings that have been drenched in the flooding should be removed from the basement and moved to a well-ventilated space to dry off.
- Ventilate and clean the area. Finally, you’ll want to open any doors or windows in the basement to promote faster drying. Then, wash off any visible dirt that may have accumulated on the floors or walls as a result of the flooding.
- Contact a professional. If you don’t know how to stop basement flooding or are still asking yourself why is my basement flooding, contact a specialist to assist you with the process.