Tuesday, January 22, 2013

flooded basements

A LITTLE WATER IS A SEA TO AN ANT
                                          -- An Afghan Proverb


Thanksgiving was approaching and with the usual baking, cooking, cleaning and decorating that comes with a holiday like this so you can imagine my words when I discovered 2 inches of ice cold water streaming through our finished basement a few days before.



The water was rushing through faster than I could vacuum it up. Even with my husband and our tile installer helping, we weren't making a dent in what appeared to be the sinking of our home.

It turns out a drain fed by one of our downspouts was clogged. What neither of us realized is that our local plumber who re did our sewer line two years ago also changed the drain for our gray water run-off (aka rain water).

Lucky for us, we were able to connect with a local plumber at once and within 30 minutes they were on-site and able to identify the cause via a drain-scope and fix the problem by using a hydro-vac to clear the drain.

As we waited for the water remediation company to arrive, we continued to vacuum up gallons and gallons of rain water. Removing the water as quickly as possible will limit your damage.

Whenever you see signs of water it is important to act quickly. Keep these tips in mind if you find water infiltrating your home:

REMOVE WATER
The first step is to get rid of the water. If it isn't too deep you can usually suck up the water with a wet-dry shop vacuum.

DRY THE SPACE
To prevent mold growth and additional damage, you must dry out your basement as quickly as possible. Dehumidifiers are your best option, because they remove moisture from the air as well as the walls, carpet and other items. Renting industrial strength dehumidifiers from a restoration company is best. Have several running at once for several days. If your basement has air conditioning, turn it on, it acts as a dehumidifier as well. Set up several fans to keep the air moving - this will help to dry the space out more quickly. Depending on the severity of the flood, it may take up to two weeks for the basement to fully dry out. Be sure to leave the dehumidifiers and fans running to move this process along.

HIRE PROFESSIONALS
Depending on the water damage, it might be best to hire a restoration company, which helps restore homes that have suffered flood, fire and other serious damage. These companies have heavy duty equipment that can remove the water and dry out your basement as quickly as possible.  If you have a finished basement, and there has been damage to the floor, walls, or other areas, a restoration company can also replace or repair these items.

DISINFECT THE AREA
While rainwater flood isn't as dangerous as one due to sewage backup, there may be dirt, debris and other contaminants in the water that pose health risks. When the basement is dry, disinfect all areas and items that were exposed to the floodwater. Dilute chlorine bleach with water to create a disinfecting wash, and use a sponge to apply it to all surfaces. Rinse the bleach mixture off, and let the basement air-dry again.

CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Depending on the type of homeowner's insurance policy you have, you may be covered for water damage in your home. In our case it did not. If you are covered, the insurance company will likely send an agent to examine your basement and determine the extent of the damage before they process the claim.

I hope you never have to use these tips but if you do be sure to act quickly and call in some qualified professionals to help you. Here are a few who have earned my trust.

Plumbers:
Action JacksonFischer Plumbing
Damage Restoration Companies:
Servpro911 Restoration Seattle

Until next time,

la chasse au bonheur