The tendency, among many homeowners, to postpone dealing with their wet basement issues is almost as widespread as the problem of wet basements itself. Even the mildest wet basement problems (mustiness or dampness) can cause more damage than you think and are bound to result in water damage to your belongings, your property or even your health. Water damage can even affect items stored on shelves in your damp basement, because they will absorb the moisture in the air. For some of these items water damage restoration may be a long and costly process. Don’t procrastinate. Roll up your sleeves and address your wet basement issues.
Wet basement problems can range from a simple feeling of dampness to standing knee-deep in water. If you have flooding in your basement, you’ll want to start water clean up right away. Be sure to do so correctly by following these instructions:
1. If the water is spraying out of a broken pipe, turn off the water shut-off valve immediately.
2. Disconnect the main electrical switch, and only enter the basement when you know it is not an electric hazard.
3. Contain water damage by getting as many possessions out of the basement as you can.
4. Try to get all the water out using a shop – Vac. You can also install a sump pump in the basement floor to act as a floor drain and speed up water clean up.
5. Use dehumidifiers to dry the air. Dry air will suck up the moisture from walls, carpets, furniture etc., reducing the amount of water damage restoration that you will need to do later.
6. Drilling 1’’ holes at the base of the walls allows dehumidifiers to draw out the humidity trapped behind the walls.
7. Throughout the water clean up process, remember to keep the windows closed so that the dehumidifiers can dry out the air completely.
8. Cement is porous and it will absorb water. To dry it out use a fan or a high-speed blower.
9. Try to complete water clean up of your basement in under two or three days. You will have minimal water damage, and mold will not have had enough time to form.
10. If you do get mold, spray a fungicide directly on the affected area. Do not use chlorine bleach. While it will kill mold on most hard surfaces, it is too diluted to kill mold in porous material.
11. Clean off dead surface mold using special cleaning products, and let surfaces dry completely. Wear rubber gloves, and if you have a health problem, use the services of professional cleaners.
Once the initial water clean up is done, determine the cause of the problem, assess the water damage, and decide what kind of water damage restoration you need. If condensation is behind your wet basement problem, consider one or more of the following solutions:
• Installing exhaust fans to draw out the damp air
• Insulating exposed pipes, duct works and walls
• For relatively minor problems, proper ventilation may be enough. Make sure that air can circulate freely, especially at the walls. These measures will all reduce the need for water damage restoration in the future.
Some leakage problems are simple to locate and fix (broken piping, washing machine overflow …), while others are more complicated to diagnose and to repair (guttering problems, underground dry wells, substrata high water tables …). Solutions include controlling surface water, sealing the outside walls of your, and installing drain and pump systems. Ignoring daunting wet basement problems will only lead to extensive water damage restoration needs (floors, walls, carpeting, fabric, documents etc.).