Basement Flooding in Lake County, IL: A Complete Guide [2024]

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 18, 2024

If you’re like most home and business owners in Lake County, IL, basement flooding isn’t something you’re prepared for. It doesn’t happen often, but the effects are serious and long-lasting.

When residents in Lake County need help with flooding in the basement, they call us here at ServiceMaster by Zaba.

Based on our combined 90 years of industry experience, we’ve organized this guide covering how it happens, why it’s dangerous and what you need to do when your basement floods.

We want you to be prepared, so please read on.

What Causes Basements to Flood in Lake County?

Knowing how a basement can flood makes it easier to prevent future problems. These are the most common causes of basement flooding in Lake County.

  • Severe Weather Events – Torrential rains or heavy snow melts fill the basement with water.
  • Plumbing Failures – Frozen burst pipes or broken plumbing lines flood the area.
  • Clogged Gutters – Water from overflowing gutters seeps behind exterior walls and into the basement.
  • Broken Sump Pump – A clogged drain line or faulty components prevent proper pump operation.
  • Appliance Problems – A broken washing machine or water heater floods the basement.
  • Foundation Ponding – Bad drainage results in standing water around the foundation that seeps into the basement.
  • Cracked Basement Walls Cracks in basement walls widen and rupture, filling the downstairs with groundwater.

It’s important to understand that homeowners insurance covers most basement flooding, but it doesn’t cover the damage caused by a natural event. 

If you don’t already have flood insurance, talk to your agent about purchasing coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Why Is Basement Flooding Serious?

basement flooding lake county

A basement full of water is more than a huge cleanup project. Pumping out the water only addresses the immediate situation. 

Porous basement walls, poor ventilation and high humidity levels create invisible problems.

For example, residual moisture quickly spreads through porous materials. The dampness ruins drywall and rots wood. 

Mold growing in water-damaged materials migrates into walls and floors upstairs and contaminates HVAC vents and ductwork.

Without proper mitigation, water damage from a flooded basement can weaken your home’s foundation, compromise its structural integrity and impact indoor air quality.

What To Do If Your Basement Floods: 7 Important Steps

sewage backup

Before you try to take care of flooding in the basement, think about the hazards of working in standing water. 

Turn off the basement’s electricity at the breaker box. If you can’t do so safely, call a licensed electrician.

Identify the water source, address the problem, and put on non-slip work boots before heading downstairs.

1. Assess the Situation

Take a look at how deep the water is in your basement. The cleanup work may require renting water extraction equipment, heavy-duty fans and a large dehumidifier.

Power Tip: If the weather cooperates, open basement windows so that fresh air can circulate through the area.

2. Call Your Insurance Company

Most homeowners insurance policies cover basement flooding caused by bad plumbing and appliance breakdowns. Talk to your agent, and schedule an adjuster’s visit as soon as possible. 

Power Tip: If cleanup appears to be more than you can handle, ask your insurance agent to recommend a restoration company that specializes in water-damage emergencies.

3. Clean Up and Dry Out

Remove standing water from the basement with a wet vac or your rental equipment. 

Set up fans in opposite corners to circulate a steady flow of cross-ventilating air. Plan on continually running the fans and dehumidifier for several days.

4. Document the Damage

Take pictures of the basement so that you can document the damages caused by the flooding. Include photos of stored belongings, appliances and any other water-damaged items. Your digital records will help support your insurance claim.

Power Tip: Don’t throw away things ruined by the basement flooding. You want the adjuster to see the full extent of your losses.

5. Tear Out and Prep

Once the adjuster has made his or her inspection, tear out ruined materials, such as drywall, vinyl flooring or carpeting. Prep these areas for reconstruction or replacement.

6. Scrub and Disinfect

Next, scrub and disinfect all basement surfaces affected by the flooding, including floors and walls. As you work, be on the lookout for signs of mold that may need extra attention.

7. Rebuild, Repair and Replace

Finish by rebuilding torn-out areas in the basement and replacing water-damaged flooring. Wooden basement stairs may need repair. Continue to run the fans while you complete the work. The entire area must dry completely, so be patient.

How to Know When to Call Water Damage Professionals

flood damage restoration lake county

Cleaning up a flooded basement by yourself can turn into a big project. It’s hard work and usually requires renting heavy equipment. A wet basement can take weeks to completely dry.

Often, basement flooding creates serious problems that need to be solved by water damage professionals. 

If your situation involves any of the following factors, play it safe, and call us here at ServiceMaster by Zaba. 

  • Water in the basement has been standing for more than 24 hours.
  • Depth of basement water is more than a few inches.
  • You’re concerned about damage that needs deep structural drying.
  • Mold has already taken hold and spread through porous materials.
  • Flooding in the basement resulted from contaminated Category 3 black water.

How to Prevent Your Basement From Flooding

structural drying equipment
  • Exterior Drainage – Make sure the yard is graded so that water naturally drains away from your home’s foundation.
  • Weather Proofing – Insulate pipes to prevent them from freezing, bursting and flooding the basement.
  • Sump Pump Maintenance – Keep the sump pump in good shape with a routine maintenance schedule.
  • Basement Windows and Doors – Check seals and drains around basement window wells and door stairwells.
  • Regular Inspections – Routinely check the basement for wall cracks, leaking appliances and plumbing problems.

Dealing With a Flooded Basement in Lake County? We Can Help!

You want to be prepared for the worst, but when it happens, you need to know you have help. ServiceMaster by Zaba provides expert flooded basement cleanup, and we’re on call 24/7.

We proudly serve residents in Lake County, IL, including Highland Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Round Lake and North Chicago.

You don’t have to deal with basement flooding by yourself. Our teams are just a phone call away: 847-459-3900

Helpful Resources for Lake County Residents

Emergency Utility Management – Chicago.gov

Floodwater Safety – CDC

Flood Insurance Information – FEMA

Lake County Weather