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There’s Water in My Basement. What Do I Do?

a water damaged basement

After years and years of dealing with NJ water claims, we call tell you there are a lot of reasons basements get flooded.

Heavy rains, hurricanes, burst pipes, backed-up drains and exploding water heaters. Whatever the cause, the outcome is the same: a waterlogged basement.

And dealing with those NJ water claims has shown us how much of a nightmare a flooded basement can be for homeowners.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to share some steps you should take if you discover flooding and water damage in your basement:

1. Turn off the power

Shutting off the gas and electricity in the area should be your first step. Never walk into a flooded area while the power is still going. If you aren’t sure how to shut off these utilities, contact your gas company, electric company or a qualified electrician before you get to work.

2. Determine what’s causing the flood

If there’s water in your basement because of heavy rain or storm water, you may have to wait until the storm has passed before starting clean-up work.

If the water is coming from a burst pipe, turn off the water to the basement. Make sure flood rains aren’t clogged. This will help clear the water.

3. Protect yourself

No matter what’s causing your basement to flood, wear protective gear when you work: boots, gloves, and maybe even a protective mask, along with hip or chest waders. Use caution when moving around, as the wet floor presents a slip hazard.

4. Removing water

The tools you’ll need to get water out of your basement will depend on the amount of flooding you’ve gotten. You might be able to work with a mop and a bucket or a wet/dry vac, or you may need to find a sump pump or a pool pump.

Once you’ve gotten up most of the water, use sponges or cloths to soak up what’s left. Try not to treat this as a one-person job. You’ll get done much faster with help.

5. Removed damaged items

Get damaged items out of your basement and put them in well-ventilated space to dry, ideally somewhere sunny if possible.

Don’t let things dry out in your basement, as it’s already kind of damp. After 48 hours inspect your items. You might need to discard things that are still wet to avoid mold and mildew.

Wet cardboard boxes are particularly susceptible to mold/mildew growth. Salvage the items inside but get rid of the boxes as soon as possible.

Even if you’ve shut the power off in the basement, don’t touch appliances or other electrical items. Let them dry where they are and have a repair professional or electrician examine them to see the extent of the water damage.

6. Pull up the carpeting

Get wet carpeting out of the basement as soon as you can. Leaving it in place can keep the floor from drying. This doesn’t have to spell the end for your carpet. It can sometimes be saved, although you should talk to a carpet cleaning specialist first. Carpet can play host to mold and mildew if it doesn’t get the chance to dry.

7. Give the basement time to dry

It might take several days for the basement to dry out. Help things along by opening doors and windows to improve ventilation, while also running fans and a dehumidifier.

8. Cleaning up

Wipe down the basement’s walls and floors to remove any dirt the flooding left behind. You may need to remove wet/damaged insulation and drywall to keep mold from spreading. Once the floor and walls are dry, use an anti-mildew spray to prevent mold from forming.

If you’re dealing with water in your basement, a licensed public adjuster like the ones at Interstate Public Adjuster can help you get back the full value of what you’ve lost to water damage.

No matter what kind of NJ water claims you’re dealing with, we can help you deal with your insurance company and make sure they provide you with the compensation you deserve.

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