How to Respond to a Flooded Basement

16th September 2017

A basement light

It’s the moment a lot of homeowners dread; the flooded basement! It creates a sense of panic and uncertainty in the best of us. It is not always as bad as it looks and there are several steps you can take to minimise the damage. Don’t worry, just read on for some helpful tips you can use.

First Things First

Before you take any action, you must shut off all power to the area. This includes your electricity and gas. Do not walk into the flooded area if power is still on.

If the water has been caused by rainfall, wait until the storm has passed before you try and fix anything. Otherwise, you need to take action the moment you notice flooding issues.

Gear up with the proper protection. This can include the following items:

  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Protective mask
  • Hip or chest waders depending how deep the water is

Be Safe When Dealing with a Flooded Basement

While walking around in the flooded basement, you are going to be more likely to slip. Take some extra time and tread lightly with each step.

Don’t touch any electrical item even if the power is turned off. Your best bet when the electronics get wet is to wait for them to dry out completely before moving them.

Stop the Water

Leaking tap in a flooded basement

Before locating any possible leaks, ensure that you have turned off all power supplies.

Before you do anything else, determine where the water is coming from. If you notice a broken pipe, turn off water to the source immediately.

If your basement is equipped with a flood drain, ensure that it has not become clogged.


Logically, you want to recover as many items from the flooded basement as possible. Start by removing water from the basement. You can use a sump pump, wet/dry vacuum, pool pump or mop and bucket.

Once you have removed most of the water, use a cloth or sponge to soak up the remainder. Try and get some family members involved in the process and it can go much faster.

Move your damaged items out of the basement into a well-ventilated area. A sunny day might be just what you need to dry those items out. Allow everything at least 48 hours to dry completely. If they remain wet longer than that, they might need to be discarded to avoid mildew and mould.

Rip up any carpeting and get it out of the basement right away. The carpet will stop the floor below from drying. Wet carpeting can sometimes be saved, but it is difficult. Talk to a professional about restoring the carpet or getting a deep cleaning.

Allow your basement several days to dry. Open any windows and doors that are available to get as much ventilation as possible. Place fans and a dehumidifier in the room to increase drying time and air circulation.

Clean Up

Wash down the floors of your basement to get rid of any remaining dirt. You can do the same with the walls. Remove any wet insulation or drywall to stop the spread of mould.

Once the floor and walls have completely dried, you can use an anti-mildew spray to stop mould and mildew from growing.

Don’t forget to contact your home insurance company to see if you have any flood protection.

Professional Help

Sometimes the job is just too large to do it yourself. That’s when you need to call a professional. Here are some general guidelines as to when a professional should be called:

  • If the water was several feet deep
  • When you notice mould or mildew beginning to grow
  • If your basement is supposed to be waterproof but still flooded
  • When you cannot find the cause of the flooding

Most times, a flooded basement is not as bad as it appears to be. You may be able to salvage your items and repair the issue easily. The key is to remain calm and start repairing the issues as soon as possible.

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