The sudden shock of finding your basement flooded can leave you stunned and uncertain about how to proceed. If this is the first time you've ever encountered water in your basement, you may not be entirely sure what you should do or where to start. The good news is that there are only a few basic things you really need to know about dealing with flooded basements. Here's a look at the three "R's" of facing flooded basements.
The very first step in the process is identifying what has caused the problem. There are many different reasons why a basement might flood, and the response to the situation will vary based on that reason.
Whether you're dealing with storm water, a broken drain pipe or other problem, it's essential that you recognize the source of the problem. Otherwise, you could continue to pump water out of the space while the water continues to flow in. Trace the water back to its source as the first step in the process. Look at how the water is flowing in the basement, then track that flow backward to find the point of origin.
Once you've identified the source of the problem, it's time to regulate the water flow. That means sealing the leak, stemming the water flow or turning off the main water supply. Either way, preventing more water from getting into the basement is the next best step. That way, when you start pumping the water out, you won't be fighting a losing battle. With the water flow stemmed, you can pump all of the standing water out.
At the same time, you'll want to consider steps that will help you prevent the problem again in the future. If you're struggling with water flow in from a heavy storm, for example, waterproofing your basement with sealant and creating a slope away from the house will both help you to keep the water from reaching the inside of the basement.
Once you've pumped all of the water out, it's time to work on resolution. This part of the process involves drying everything out. Anything that's saturated with water needs to be removed from the area. Carpet, clothing and other items should be placed in a well-ventilated area or outside to dry out. This is important, because you could inadvertently cause mold growth by leaving wet items in place. Once you've removed those items, you can increase ventilation in the basement with open windows, heat, and large fans.