The northern Virginia region faced a dramatic summer and it’s not getting better. Rain storms are much more frequent and much, much stronger than we’ve seen in recent history. Even this week, we are facing intense rain storms. Flooded basements have gone from a rarity to a real concern for homeowners. We will write a blog post soon about how to prevent a flood, but this week’s post focuses on what to do after you discover your basement has flooded.

It should be stated that while environmental disasters had a dramatic effect on the area, broken pipes and appliances are still the main reason homes flood, so don’t think making your home environment-proof will cure the problem.

Shut off All Electricity – Don’t Step on the Water!!

Flood water is not like rain water or tap water. It carries a host of germs, bacteria, and more often than not, feces. And if that is not enough to deter you, water carries electricity. That means that you can be at serious risk of electrocution if the water has touched any electrical outlets or plugged in appliances.

The first thing you want to do is turn off electricity all electricity in your basement. Do not go in unless you are certain that there is no chance of electricity flowing in the water.

Get the Water out ASAP

Any homeowner in the Northern Virginia area needs a sump pump. With such unpredictable weather, the risk is too high to not invest in a small piece of machinery that could save your household thousands of dollars. If you have a sump pump and your basement still flooded, then it’s time to upgrade to a newer model. Check to make sure your sump pumps are working and properly installed.

If your basement is flooded by a fewer than 12 inches, then you want to get a working sump pump to get that water out of there. Otherwise, call a professional service.

As water is sitting in your basement, the general humidity rises and creates the perfect ecosystem for mold and mildew to thrive. If you end up with a mold outbreak, your situation becomes much, much worse (and more expensive).

After you clear out the water, be sure to sweep, bleach clean, and sweep again. Then insert a dehumidifier (or two, depending on the size of your basement) to decrease the moisture.

Clean Out Wet Furniture

File an insurance claim if you believe they might cover any of it. Flood is not included in most home insurance, even though it’s a top concern for most homeowners. Even if you don’t have flood insurance, you may be able to file a claim for the damaged furniture.

To lower the humidity as much as possible, look at anything you can dry and clean and put it in a separate room to dry. You will have to accept that you can’t salvage everything. You will have to throw away some of your belongings.

Replace Your Carpet

If you have a carpet, you will have to remove it entirely. Sometimes they can be salvaged, but it’s rare for a carpet to survive a flood. We know, it sucks to have such an important investment in your home, that is what makes flooding so dangerous.

The good news is you have good friends who understand your situation and are willing to work with you to not only replace your floors but create an environment in your basement so that you will minimize damage in case your basement floods again in the future.