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What to Do After My New Jersey Basement Floods

With 46.01 inches of annual precipitation, New Jersey is no stranger to property floods. At some point of home ownership, residences in the Garden State are likely to undergo flooding. Rainfall in New Jersey, especially, is a flood source, given the 117 days of precipitation every year.

When the sump pump fails during a rainstorm or plumbing fixtures rupture, New Jerseyans will be faced with several inches of water in the basement. Appliances in the basement, like washing machines, could be faulty, too, leading to unintended water on the basement floor.

Beyond the unwelcome surprise of discovering a flooded basement, property owners should be prepared to take actionable steps to promptly address the dire situation. A homeowner’s first priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the household.

Step 1: Turn off the Power

Electric shock is a possibility, especially if the standing water in the basement reaches high enough to come into contact with electrical wiring or outlets. As a precaution, do not enter the flooded basement. This safety measure is especially critical if the homeowner considers wading into the floodwater.

Stepping into even two inches of floodwater can result in a life-threatening electrical shock. Rather than risk personal safety, call an electrician to shut off the power. Alternately, if the circuit breaker is in the garage or the fuse box is outdoors, turn off the power to the basement.

A gas furnace or water heater can release gas into the home, especially if either unit is submerged in floodwater. Submerged appliances are a major danger. Take precaution and have the gas company shut off the gas. Upon smelling gas, immediately vacate the premises.

Step 2: Consult a Water Damage Pro

Standing water in the basement should be pumped out as soon as possible. Water damage restoration professionals and licensed plumbers are available to offer expertise and eliminate the excess water fast. Prior to the arrival of a specialist, homeowners should locate the source of the water.

Step 3: Pinpoint the Flood Source

Stopping the water from entering the basement requires knowledge of where the water originates. Knowing how the water is seeping in can lead to solutions to halt its intrusion. Plus, informing the plumber or contractor about the water source as soon as they arrive speeds up the cleanup.

Malfunctioning appliances or ruptured plumbing can cause basement flooding. Shut off the water to the washing machine, if, for instance, the hoses are leaking water. Or, broken pipes may be responsible. If unable to determine which pipes are the culprit, turn off the water to the entire home.

Issues with city sewer lines may be visible along the floor drain. Problems with the sump pump or home drainage systems can also manifest at the level of the floor drain. If a plumber concludes the issue is with the municipal sewer system, notify the town’s water and sewer department.

If the floodwaters enter through the foundation, basement windows, floors or walls, homeowners will have to wait until the rise of water subsides—which is typically once the weather changes. Shut off the power to the basement, if it is safe to do so, then move possessions to higher levels.

Step 4: Relocate Belongings

Important documents, like titles and financial information, should be moved out of the basement first. Also remove irreplaceable heirlooms and family keepsakes out of the damp environment. Expensive goods, like laptops and other electronics, also must be whisked out of the water-logged basement.

Step 5: Dry the Basement

A damp basement allows mold to latch on and rapidly progress into widespread colonies. Less water damage and mold infestations will result if the homeowner can dry the basement quickly. Removing standing water with mops and buckets should be a first line of action.

A submersible pump is effective in eliminating moisture that is several inches deep. Hardware stores rent these pumps readily. Alternately, a wet/dry vac is useful if a small portion of the basement is submerged in standing water. Like the pump, the wet/dry vac can be locally rented.

Accelerate the drying process by running several large fans, positioned so that they blow out of the basement windows. If weather conditions permit, open the basement windows and circulate fresh air within the vicinity. Space heaters help evaporate moisture, but simultaneously run dehumidifiers.

Step 6: Prevent Mold

A moist basement will attract mold spores within 24 to 48 hours. Prevent mold by cleaning the walls and floors with a mix of warm water and bleach. Repeat the process after allowing the walls and floors to dry. Disinfecting cleaners are also effective in ridding the area of mold.

Along with the dehumidifiers set up to dry the basement, run air purifiers to filter out mold spores. Keep mold growth at bay with daily visual inspections of the basement. Upon noticing unsightly mold splotches, immediately wipe the spores away with bleach and warm water.

Before a New Jersey storm hits or an appliance malfunction catches you off guard, keep the contact information of ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete handy. As the most widely-recognized, reputable water damage restoration company in the Garden State, we’ll restore your water-logged home or business quickly.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete offers a wide range of comprehensive water damage cleanup services. Our flood damage restoration services include the complete extraction of excess water, a thorough drying process and the cleaning and sanitization of household possessions, including carpeting.

Storm damage restoration is also an integral part of the invaluable services we offer. Our emergency board up and tarping services prevent further damage to the property after a hurricane or tornado. Skilled technicians repair damaged siding and clean up the debris in the aftermath of a storm.

ServiceMaster Restoration by Complete is proud to serve the greater communities of Newark, New Jersey and Essex County. Home and business owners continue to depend on our rapid response to emergency situations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.