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How to Clean a Flooded Basement with a Sump Pump

Little Giant Sump PumpIf you have ever had to clean a flooded basement than you know how difficult a task it can be. Whether it is because of a simple pipe breaking or your area is experiencing a flood, it is vital to know what to do right when it happens! Flood damage is one of the most destructive events that your house can ever experience and it is important that you have the right pump in order to get the water out in the most efficient way possible. Not only is a flooded basement a very scary experience, it can also be a big hassle that can cause serious damage if not handled quickly and properly. It can look overwhelming at first glance, but after these simple steps there shouldn’t be a drop of water left on the floor!

Close Inspection

Although this might seem like an obvious step, many people forget to examine the exterior of the house in order to make sure there are no major problems with the structure of the house. It is vital that one closely inspect the perimeter to see if there are any gas leaks or power lines down. Before stepping foot into the house you need to make sure that the structural supports are intact and make sure the foundation is firm enough to be walking around in. If there is not any water flooding the front door, then it is safe to enter and begin the cleaning process.

Before entering your home or touching anything it is essential that you make sure to check that the power and gas lines are turned off. Even if your local utility company has turned off the electricity in your area, it is important that you are certain that the power is turned off in your home to avoid the risk of being electrocuted. When doing this, it is important to use a wooden broom stick so that you do not have to touch the plugs or cords. Now, in order to aid in the ventilation process of releasing moisture from the room, open any doors or windows. If available, use large fans to help with this process because any additional help with getting rid of the massive amount of moisture will be beneficial. This is important, because if the water is stored inside then it will create more mold and bacteria, not having anywhere for the damp air to escape.

Safety First

When dealing with a task such as this, floodwaters can contain very hazardous waste, keep this in mind so you can do your best to avoid coming into contact with bacteria. It is important that any one going near the flooded area is equipped with proper safety attire such as gloves, a mask, boots, water-resistant clothing and goggles. When moving objects that have been touched by the flood, bacteria can easily store up and if you try to touch these without wearing gloves it can spread very easily.

After assessing the flood, it is time to begin moving as many of the items in the basement as possible. If there is a dry area, then proceed to moving as many objects there as the space will sustain. However, if that is not an option then do your best to move what you can either upstairs or outside and leave the rest in one particular corner. Also, if this option is available you may stack items when necessary to try and make more floor space. This step is to try and salvage as many items as feasible by getting them up and out of the water as soon as possible. The more time that the objects sit in the water, the more they will absorb the moisture and are in turn more likely to be permanently damaged. Next, you want to try and free up as much space as possible so after examining the damage that has been done to the room throw away any objects that cannot be saved. Items such as cardboard that has been soaked, objects already visibly showing mold or items that have been identified as trash should be removed first. As a rule of thumb, if you are unsure whether or not an item can be saved err on the side of caution and throw it out.

Water Removal: Sump Pumps

Now, this is where the removal of the water begins to take place! And the best thing for this job is a sump pump. A sump pump is what keeps the space beneath the basement and the basement itself from flooding. The sump acts as a tank that goes underneath the basement that will fill up when groundwater levels get higher rather than letting it leek out and cause damage. By having a sump pump in your basement it forces the water up to ground level far away from the house so that it can be correctly drained. By installing the pump it guarantees that the basement will remain safe and sound whether or not the water comes from below or above. There are two major kinds of sump pumps, automatic and manual. An automatic sump pump has a switch attached that activates the pump when the water reaches a certain height and turns the pump off when the sump pump has drained the water. A manual sump pump must be turned on and off manually. Having a sump pump installed year round will insure that flooding doesn't occur under normal circumstances, but for major floods it can also be used to remove the water that a single pump could not handle.

Innovations: Little Giant TSW Sump Pumps

The submersible joins the pump and the waterproof motor into one unit that fits comfortable inside the sump allowing it the capability to get wet. The TSW pump provides an alternative to the traditional submersible sump pumps by offering what they call an “IntelliSwitch.” With this innovative switch it gets rid of the common hang ups or clogging because it completely gets rid of any moving parts. This advanced technology eliminates the frequent mechanical switch failure and is very precise every time when using the turn-on and turn-off switches. Adding to this special contraption is the visual and audible high water alarm and light that will notify homeowners right away when problems begin occurring and the high level of water is rising. Seeing as most problems associated with sump pumps are the jamming or replacing of the floater, with the Little Giant TSW Sump Pumps this will not be an issue and will ensure high quality performance that will last longer. Some of the features of the TSW include: quieter operation, longer service life, reduced energy utilization and great running torque.

TSW The Smart Way to protect against flooded basements

The Water Removal Process

First, it is necessary to understand that although it will be your initial impulse to want to quickly begin removing the water, you have to go slow to remove it properly. While it may seem harmless to remove the water quickly, it’s imperative that the process is done slowly. There is still a massive amount of water pressure in the soil outside the basement walls and under the foundation. In some instances, the water may be acting as a balance between the outside pressure, and without it, it could cause the walls to crack and deteriorate. When you begin, start off by removing the water at about a third at a time, you can keep track of how much water has been removed by making small marks on the wall. You may be able to complete this process in one day, but for basements that are flooded more than three feet it is safer to try and do about two to three feet per day. Keep going through this process until all the draining is finished.

Clean Up

Once you have finished this flood cleaning process, it is time for the last and final step: the dreaded cleaning up. Begin by shoveling out the mud and debris while it is still wet and washing down the walls to remove as much buildup before it becomes hard. Depending on your situation, it might be necessary to sanitize the floors and walls with a common disinfectant. A general solution that can easily be made from your home for cleaning is a strong household bleached combined with hot water. This should drastically help clean any personal items that you are trying to salvage as well as combat any mildew and mold residue. Unfortunately, most of the cleaning of the mess requires manual labor and will simply take patience in making sure each object is clean, disinfected or thrown out.

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