Indianapolis Home Buyers – So the basement is flooded, NOW WHAT?!?

So the basement is flooded.. Now what?

I’m not going to go into what a homeowner should be doing(calling insurance, etc).. I am going to treat this like what it is. A home we took over, and we just need to get the problem fixed and move on. Normally I would hire this all out, but I see flooded basements quite often. I’ve never completed cleanup, so I wanted a hands on experience on this one. I learn this now, and I know what to expect in the future(price-wise).

Things to watch out for:

  • Electricity: If electricity is on, you probably need to get it turned off. I had a friend die from being electrocuted in water. He jumped in to save what he thought was a drowning person, and they were being electrocuted. He died too.
  • Chemicals/Pollutants in the water. Raw sewage and or dangerous chemicals can be a real nightmare to deal with. You don’t want to get sick.
  • Natural Gas Leaks – If you smell rotten eggs, either shut off the gas at the meter, or get the gas company to do it.
  • Structural Damage – If the walls are falling in, don’t be a fool.

What we did:

  • Made sure power was off at meter.
  • I rented: a gas generator, a pump, and 50 feet of drainage hose.
    1. 4 feet of water in a 1500 sq ft basement took about 24 hours to get the water down to 4-6 inches. Cost about $80~ a day
  • Bought myself some good rubber boots($60~), tested them for leaks, and waded in.
    1. Why rubber? Because electricity is NOT my friend in a flooded basement situation. Rubber is not conductive so electricity can’t penetrate.
  • Get the lay of the land! While walking through the basement I was looking at:
    1. The level of the water in comparison to floor.
      1. Most basement floors are not totally flat. One side of the basement could be at 4 inch depth, and another side could be 6 inches.
      2. Most floors taper to a floor drain.
    2. Where my floor drains are.
      1. If you have floor drains why aren’t they working? You’re probably going to need to get the water down to 1 inch or less, with electricity on, and then you can get a plumber out to snake the drain.
        1. We didn’t have any floor drains.
    3. Look for the sump pump pits.
      1. Why weren’t the sump pumps working?
        1. In our case the power was turned off, and the basement flooded. The pumps that were there were not submersible. Turned the power on and they fried themselves.
      2. I ordered a new industrial strength SUBMERSIBLE sump pump($225~).
        1. I also purchased new larger drain hoses.
      3. Went to circuit breaker panel and turned ALL breakers OFF.
        1. Took the cover off the breaker box and assessed the water situation.
          1. Ours had condensation inside so I left the cover off for a day.
            1. 24 hours later there wasn’t any condensation inside.
  • With the water below boot level, and my assessment that no electricity in the water.
    1. I turned on the power.
    2. I only turned the power on to the one circuit breaker that controlled the sump pumps
      1. I used a tester to tell me when outlets were live.
    3. I went and installed the new pump.
      1. I temporarily ran the new drain hose out a basement window.
        1. I will wait for the basement to be dry before I run a permanent solution.
      2. Plugged the new pump in and will check back in a day or so.
        1. This new pump is crazy powerful… It took a good solid 60 seconds for the rented pump to get to full pressure, but this 1hp pump I bought was instantly at max pressure.
  • After basement has no more standing water.
    1. We will go in and remove all porous objects(Drywall, doors, personal belongings, trash, etc).
      1. Some things we may be able to save, but most will not.
    2. We will setup temporary heaters, and dehumidifiers to remove all the moisture from the air. We will air out the house, including upstairs, as much as possible.
    3. We purchased 5 gallons of RMR-86 Mold Remover($165~), so we will spray the entire basement.
      1. This stuff is crazy good.. BUT, you need an industrial strength ventilator($150~) to work with it. No to mention probably best to have a chemical suit to protect yourself from the spray($25-50~).
    4. We will assess the HVAC system. We may need to replace. This was pretty high(elevation-wise), so I don’t believe the burners or electronics were in the water, but the humidity may have ruined everything.
    5. We will assess the water heater. We probably will need to replace. It’s gas and the mechanicals were submerged for a couple of months.
    6. General Cleanup.