5 First Steps to Cleaning Up a Flooded Basement

emergency callHeavy rains fall, the river rises, and your neighborhood floods. Before you know it, you’re a storm damage statistic. That’s right -- you have a flooded basement. What. Do. You. Do?

Call your insurance company

If your home lies in an area that’s been flooded by spring storms, chances are that your insurance company already is dealing with other angry, frustrated and (frankly) scared people just down the street. So stay calm and tell the claim rep on the other end of the line exactly what you’re dealing with so that you can make sure that the necessary repairs will get covered. If necessary, get an insurance adjuster over to your house as soon as possible to detail your coverage options – including area contractors who can do the repair work well and on time. In any case, getting a claim filed and a case number in hand is your first big step to sanity.

Turn off the power

Now -- if you can do it safely – turn off the power to your house. That may mean having to walk through standing water in your basement. Do not do that until you are sure that the water isn’t carrying loose electrical current. If you’re not sure, it’s time to gulp hard and call an electrician. Look, that floodwater in your basement is probably going to cost you money, at least up front.  The call to the electrician is only the first of several calls you’re going to make over the next couple of days, so get used to it. And besides, if you have homeowners or renter’s insurance, you probably won’t end up paying more than your deductible, anyway.

Do a damage inventory

After you get the power turned off and before your adjuster shows up, the first step in getting your storm damage repair job done right is to go through the damage thoroughly. This is probably going to be tough, maybe heart-breaking. But go through every item -- including fixtures such as walls and carpet – and take lots of photos of the damage. Then try to get every item that you can out of the water.

Sump pump on?

And speaking of water, and getting it the heck out of your basement, make sure your sump pump is working. If you have a sump pump installed but it’s not working, try loosening the rod (it might be stuck). If your unit is broken or inadequate to the task (you should have at least a ¾-HP motor on it), you can purchase a new one for about $150 that will do the job if your current unit has given up the ghost. If you don’t have a sump pump installed, you will need to get a professional emergency restoration company on the job immediately to start clearing the water out and begin your flood restoration process.

Beginning the cleanup process

Basement flood cleanup is nothing short of an epic pain. But that pain can be alleviated by having a professional service remove, dry and store your property while your basement is getting repaired. Talk with your insurance company about your options here right away – it’s critical that your property gets removed and dried as quickly as possible. Service providers such as LDR also can act as a liaison to your insurance company and ensure that the work done in your home and on your personal effects gets covered. They also have high-tech drying equipment that will restore your photos, memorabilia and furniture to the best extent humanly possible. Remember, flood damage restoration can be tricky. You can think you have something dried when, in reality, it is still soaking wet under the surface. If insurance will work with you, get all the help you affordably can. Having a partner in the restoration process can save you immense headaches later. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net Free eBook shows how to make a home disaster plan


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