Basement Flooded: What to Do

Basement Flooded_ What to Do
Basement Flooded_ What to Do
Are you googling for “basement flooded what to do”? If so, don’t hit that back button because this article has what you need. We’re going to go over what causes basement flooding, what to do if your basement floods, when to call a professional for help, and how to prevent basement flooding.

What Causes Basement Flooding?

Basements flood for various reasons, including:
  • A broken pipe 
  • Sewage backup 
  • An overwhelmed storm drain 
  • A flood 
Basements can also get wet because of poor drainage in the soil around the home’s foundation. This causes hydrostatic pressure to build up in the soil and push against the foundation. Hydrostatic pressure is powerful enough to push water in the soil through basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure can even cause basement walls to bow inward and crack.
basement flooded what to do

Basement Flooded? What to Do First

If your home’s basement is flooded, here’s what you need to do:
  1. Turn off the gas and electricity – If your basement has flooded, the first thing to do is turn off your gas and electricity. If you don’t know how to do this, ask someone. Do not enter the basement until you turn off the electricity. If the electrical panel is in the basement, call the electric company. Call the gas company to come and turn off the gas. If the pilot light goes out, gas could enter your home. If you smell gas, leave home immediately and contact the gas company.
  2. Find out where the water is coming from – If it’s still raining, there isn’t much you can do except wait for it to stop. After it stops raining, it’s time to find out where the water is coming from. If it’s coming from a broken pipe, you’ll need to turn off the water main. If it’s coming from a sewage backup, you’ll need to contact a professional because this is a health hazard. Contact a basement waterproofing professional or a plumber if you don’t know how the water is getting into the basement.
  3. Clean up the mess – We recommend hiring a professional to clean up after a flooded basement. However, if you’re determined to do this yourself, the following section contains some tips.
For more information see What To Do When Your Basement Floods.
basement flooding

Cleaning Up After a Flooded Basement

We believe it’s best to hire a professional disaster restoration service to clean up after basement flooding. However, if your mind is set on doing this yourself, you need to start cleaning up as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1: Make sure the gas and electricity have been turned off before you do anything else.
Step 2: Find yourself some protective gear and put it on. This is especially important if a sewage backup caused the flooding. You might want to think about wearing a respirator as well.
Step 3: Get rid of any standing water. After verifying that the basement floor drain isn’t clogged, use a wet-dry vacuum, a sump pump, a pool pump, or a bucket to get rid of the water.
Step 4: Dry everything in the basement, including the walls and the floors. If you don’t dry everything thoroughly, mold will form. If mold has already started to form, clean it with a mix of water and bleach.
Step 5: Throw away water-damaged items that can’t be sanitized. If mold has started to grow on items that can’t be cleaned – paper, for example – toss them. Remove any carpeting so mold can’t form and harm the subfloor.
Step 6: Get some fresh air in there. Open the doors and windows. Rent one or more industrial drying fans or a dehumidifier.
Don’t use any electrical appliances that were in the flooded basement until an electrician inspects them and says they’re safe to use.

When to Call a Professional to Help With a Flooded Basement

If you’re thinking about cleaning up the mess yourself, the following should make you reconsider:
  • The water in the basement is 2 feet deep or more. 
  • There’s already a lot of mold developing.
  • You don’t know why the basement flooded.
If any of the above apply, contact a disaster restoration company to help with clean up. After that, contact a plumber or a company that does basement waterproofing to find out why the basement flooded. 

Basement Flooded? What to Do to Prevent Basement Flooding

Homeowners can reduce the chance of basement floods or even moisture in the basement by doing the following:
  • If you have a septic tank, clean it periodically to eliminate sludge buildup. This will help prevent flooding caused by backups.
  • Schedule regular CCTV sewer inspections to make sure nothing inside the pipes can cause a sewage backup.
  • Clean your gutters regularly. Clogged gutters can cause water to spill over the side of the house, soak into the soil around the foundation, and find a way into your basement. You want the soil around your home’s foundation to be free from excess moisture.
  • If your downspouts are too short, install extensions. Short downspouts release water where you don’t want it. That is, next to the foundation. Extensions are inexpensive, easy to install, and will carry water away from the foundation before releasing it.
  • Install an underground downspout and a pop-up emitter. Water flows from the gutters into the underground downspout and toward a pop-up emitter situated in your yard about 10 feet from the foundation. When the pop-up emitter fills with water, it pops up and releases the water away from the foundation.
  • Regrade your yard, if necessary. The yard around your home should slope away from the foundation. If it slopes toward the foundation, water will drain toward the foundation. You don’t want that.
  • Install a drain tile system. When controlling groundwater around a foundation and keeping a basement dry, a drain tile system is a gold standard. For information about how they work, see How Does A Drain Tile System Work?
  • Repair any vertical cracks in your basement walls. Although vertical cracks don’t affect your home’s structural integrity, they can allow water to get into the basement. Contact a foundation repair professional for help sealing them.   
  • If there are any horizontal cracks in your basement wall, contact a foundation repair contractor. Water can also get into the basement via horizontal cracks in the foundation wall. However, horizontal cracks are serious and a sign of foundation trouble. Contact a pro right away for an inspection.
If your basement has flooded and you’re not sure what to do now – and you’re in our service area in Lincoln, Omaha, Grand Island, Kearney, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa and parts of Northeastern Kansas – contact us today for an inspection and repair estimate.


Dave Epp

Dave is the President at Epp Foundation Repair with over 27 years of experience in the industry. Dave has worked on thousands of foundation, basement, concrete, and crawl space repair projects since 1993. Dave is involved in several civic and church organizations and enjoys coaching youth sports, mainly football, golfing, and elk hunting.



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