You wake up to the sound of rain, heavy rain. The news on the bedside clock radio tells you that it’s been raining all night and should be ending shortly. It’s Saturday, so you start to roll over and go back to sleep when the thought flashes into your mind: THE BASEMENT!
You jump out of bed, step into your slippers and race down the stairs. Throwing open the basement door, you turn on the light and say “@#$%^&” (Translation: “Oh my.”)
There’s water all over the floor. Your sump pump is kicking on every two minutes. Boxes of stuff you’ve been meaning to go through are soaking up water like sponges. What do you do?
I know, you think I’m going to say, “Call the basement waterproofing company,” don’t you? Well, no. That call can wait. Right now, you need to clean up the mess and dry out your basement as soon as possible, before the damage escalates and mold starts to grow.
What to Do with an Unfinished Wet Basement
Turn Off Electricity – You don’t want hot circuits in an area where you’re standing in water. Turn off any breakers that regulate basement circuits, EXCEPT for the one that powers the sump pump. Run extension cords from upstairs and keep them dry.
Move Wet Belongings off the Floor – Start with anything of value – electronics, sports equipment, furniture – and get your stuff out of the water. Carry it out of the basement, put it up on blocks or sawhorses – just move it somewhere it can begin to dry.
Clean up the Water – If you have a floor squeegee, use it to push standing water toward your sump basin or floor drain. If you don’t, use a broom. If you have a wet/dry vac, even better – start sucking up water with a floor nozzle. Empty the container, which fills surprisingly quickly, into the sump basin.
Start Drying Things Out – If you have basement windows (and it’s not still pouring), open them. Bring in fans or a dehumidifier. If it’s cool, turn on the heat. If it’s warm and you have central air, turn it on. Do anything you can to start absorbing moisture and moving damp air out of the space.
Keep at It – Keep trying to remove as much water and dampness as possible until the basement no longer looks and feels damp or humid. If you have the wet/dry vac or can borrow or rent one, go over your floor again – it will pull moisture from the concrete.
OK, now you should call the basement waterproofing company. You don’t want to go through all of this again, do you?
One word of caution: These tips will help you when the water in your basement comes from ground water seepage, which is clean water. If you experience a sewer back-up, the stakes are much higher and significant damage much greater. We’ll address that situation in a future article.
The same goes for a finished basement. If you’re dealing with wet carpeting and furniture you’ve got a much bigger problem on your hands, regardless of the source of water. We’ll be writing about that soon.
Of course, all of these problems could have been averted if you’d called the basement waterproofing company a long time ago. At U.S. Waterproofing, we’ve helped more than 300,000 homeowners avoid having to clean up water in their basements so maybe you should ask for our free advice before this happens to you.