May is for celebrating mom, planting a garden and celebrating Memorial Day. But it’s also the start of National Water in the Basement month. Well, it may not be an actual holiday, but it may as well be. In the Quad Cities, spring marks the beginning of the season of sump pump failure and drain backups in the Quad Cities. This does more than cause an inconvenience – it can cause serious damage to your home and stress to your life. If you have water in your basement, here are a few things to remember and do right away.
When you see water in the basement, it’s natural to want to get to the bottom of the issue. But before you wade into water (literally), think it through. When electrical and water mix (like in basements of old homes), danger can be lurking. Even if you know what you are doing, when the floor is wet, proceed with caution. Just last year, someone right here in the Quad Cities was electrocuted in the basement when sump pump failure led to a flooded basement. These type of tragedies happen too frequently. Also take into consideration what’s in the water. “There can be some nasty stuff in the water when it comes to sewer and drain backups,” explains Brent Werner, an operations manager with a decade of experience in the restoration business. “When you walk through it, you’ll be tracking it through your house, too.”
Discover the “why.”
When you get sick, you don’t take the same medicine. You may have a cough – but the treatment will vary. In the same way, water in the basement won’t always be fixed in the same way. So it’s important to find out the “why” first. For example:
- Did the sump pump fail?
- Did the drain back up?
- Is an appliance leaking?
“You can’t do anything until you know the root of the issue,” says Brent. Before anything is cleaned and dried, these are problems that need addressing. A plumbing situation will need to get under control before your basement returns to normal.
Call your insurance agent.
Your insurance agent is your MVP when you have water in the basement. These folks deal with these situations all the time and will be able to walk you through your next steps.
Speed up the drying process.
When you have water in the basement, it’s important that the drying process begins as soon as possible. Running fans, opening windows and mopping excess water can get this process started.
Get a reputable restoration expert involved.
“There are a lot of people who will tell you they can fix the problem,” Brent warns. “But the truth is that you want someone who’s done this before and knows how to make it right.” When you have water in the basement, it’s about more than getting the water out. Companies like Werner can extract the water, dry the area and the contents, and help prevent mold from forming. Because where there’s water, there is the potential for mold growth. And the last thing you want is to deal with another major issue down the line because the basement wasn’t properly restored. If you are interviewing potential contractors, here are some questions to ask:
- What kind of certifications do you have? (Ideally, the company will be certified specifically in restoration work.)
- How often do you do this type of work? (You want to hire a company who is familiar with the process and does it regularly. And don’t be afraid to ask for references.)
- Will the person who actually does the work be certified? (Sometimes, only the owner is certified, when the person doing the work isn’t.)
- What type of equipment is being used? (The best companies use the latest tools and equipment. Some can even track moisture with special infrared cameras – ensuring the problem is taken care of.)
The bottom line
Water damage can be a fact of life for many Quad Citians. But with some consideration, it can be remedied. Read more of our tips about water damage here.