My Basement Flooded – Who Do I Call First?

Last Updated on February 18, 2020 by Diana Rodriguez-Zaba

Heavy rains and bad sump pumps aren’t the only reasons basements flood. Burst pipes fill the downstairs with water. A broken washing machine turns the basement into a wading pool.

Whatever the cause, you’re facing a mess.

Where do you start when you realize the basement flooded? Knowing who to call first makes a big difference in how this home disaster turns out.

Who to Call When You Have Water in the Basement

Whether it’s your home or your business, you want to start cleaning up flooding in the basement right away. However, it’s not usually a DIY job. You’re going to need help.

The most important steps to take when your basement floods begin with these three phone calls.

1. Call Your Insurance Company

home insurance

Most homeowners insurance policies cover water damage in basements as long as it’s not the result of natural flooding. Contact your agent, and explain what happened. Be ready with details about when the basement flooded, the probable cause and the extent of damages.

Your insurer will arrange for an adjuster to make an inspection. If you don’t have a water damage restoration company on your contact list, ask your agent for a recommendation.

You’ll want to start the cleanup process as soon as possible after the electrician gives you the all clear.

2. Call a Certified Water Damage Restoration Company

water damage restoration company

In most cases, it’s best to let water damage professionals take care of basement flooding. By calling a certified restoration company, you’re assured of all the services necessary to tackle the job.

  • Small plumbing repairs with access to plumbing contractors for larger problems
  • Fast basement floodwater extraction, cleanup and dry-out
  • Basement sanitizing and deodorizing after sewage backup or storm flooding
  • Removal, salvage and disposal of water-damaged items
  • Tear-out and reconstruction services for finished basements
  • Industry-certified basement mold removal and remediation

A water damage restoration company gives you a complete assessment of everything that needs to be done. Their staff can also work with your insurance agency. They handle the paperwork and navigate the claims process. You enjoy a fully restored basement.

3. Call a Licensed Electrician

licenesed electrician

Don’t go down into a flooded basement while the power is still on. Electricity and standing water create a serious electrocution hazard. If circuit breakers are downstairs, don’t try to reach them yourself. Call a licensed electrician.

Even if you can shut off power at another location, it’s a good idea to have an electrician check the flooded basement. His or her inspection can identify and address these potentially dangerous problems.

  • Damaged electric lines coming into the basement
  • Water levels within 2 inches of electrical outlets
  • Basement flood damage affecting electrical panels
  • Water damaged wiring behind walls in finished basements
  • Appliances or HVAC equipment compromised by basement flooding

What to Do When Your Basement Floods

You may decide that cleaning up water in the basement is something you can do yourself. Before you jump in, be sure the electricity, water and gas are turned off.

If water in the flooded basement is less than 4 inches deep, suit up with heavy boots and protective gear. If you’re dealing with contaminated water, lower that safety bar to 1 inch, and wear OSHA-rated personal protection.

You’ll need a submersible pump and plenty of hose to get the water out of the basement. Be ready to rent equipment. Add heavy-duty fans and dehumidifiers to your list. We always recommend disinfecting rental equipment before using it in your home. Plan on allowing three to four days to dry out the basement.

Problems Caused by Basement Flooding

The job of DIY draining, cleaning and restoring a flooded basement comes with risks. Protect yourself and your property by anticipating these problems.

FEMA recommends against pumping out a basement too soon or too fast after heavy storm floods.

• Storms, sewage backups and toilet overflows flood the basement with highly contaminated water.

• Water standing in the basement for more than 24 hours creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

• Flooding in a finished basement spreads water damage through flooring, trim and drywall.

As long as the water in your basement isn’t the result of natural flooding, insurance should cover repairs and restoration. It’s usually safer and more cost effective to let professionals take care of the job.

Need Help With Basement Flooding in Chicago? Call Us First

It’s good to have the peace of mind that comes from knowing who to call when the basement floods. Add ServiceMaster by Zaba to your list of emergency numbers for basement flooding. We’re standing by with a 24/7 response.

When you need help with a flooded basement in Chicago or the suburbs, call us first: 773-647-1985.

How much does it cost to fix a flooded basement?

It depends on the depth and type of water in the basement. Costs for cleanup and restoration average between $2,000 and $10,000.

How do you clean up mold in a flooded basement?

DIY techniques include scrubbing surfaces with a solution of 1 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water. It’s easier and safer to let a certified mold removal company handle the job.

What are common causes of basement flooding?

Basements can flood after heavy rains or snow melts. Leaking appliances, frozen burst pipes, faulty plumbing and failing sump pumps are also common sources of basement flooding.