Flooded Basement: What to do During and the Aftermath

Posted on March 31, 2019.

*header image courtesy of Jeff Covey*

For those who have had the unfortunate of experience of dealing with a flooded basement, you know it’s not fun.

It’s a stressful situation, and repairing the damage can be costly.

If you ever find yourself with a basement that is flooding, make sure you follow these tips and tricks to limit the damage.

But before we get to those, let’s first discuss some common causes of basement floodings.

Location, Location, Location

In many instances, a home constructed on property that is sloped may see some basement flooding. The sloped terrain will invite water to drain towards the bottom of the slant, so if your home is built lower down on the slope, it can flood frequently.

Over the course of time, these slopes will be smoothed out and leveled by the elements, which will effectively solve this problem.

Gutter System is Blocked

A blocked gutter system is never good, especially when it comes to basements flooding. If the manifold is connected to your home and the sewer system becomes backed up, then flooding of your property is a likely result.

If you notice that this has occurred, then call the local authorities ASAP. Otherwise, the water levels will rise fast, and the likelihood of a disaster in your basement is more likely.

Improper Wall and Floor Sealing

As with many issues that plague homes — like flooding — they can be deterred through smart and quality home construction. If the basement tiles and walls are not properly sealed, then all it might take is a heavy rain to see some flooding. If this is what is causing your basement to flood, contact a contractor to fix it.

Drainage System Installed Poorly

Another problem that is easily avoidable by constructing the home well. If the drainage system is not installed correctly, however, it can cause serious flooding. The downspouts of your drainage system should be far away from your home so that the water can’t sneak it’s way back towards your home. But, it should also be far away from your neighbors home as well.

If your drainage system wasn’t put in right the first time, you might have to pay a large amount to fix it.

What to do if Your Basement is Flooding

If you walk down your steps and find that your basement is starting to fill with water, do the following:

Shut Off the Power

Your first act should be turning off all the power in the flood-affected area, as you should never walk into a flooded basement before shutting the power off.

Identify the Cause of the Flooding

If the water is from rain or flooding, then you should wait until the storm has passed before you try and remedy the situation. If the cause is something else, then start working immediately. Wear boots and gloves for protection and a wader if possible.

Determine the Source of the Water

Start investigating the flooded area and see if you can find out where the water is entering the basement. Shut off the water in the basement if you find it is a burst pipe. Otherwise, things may get a whole lot worse…and fast. Also, if you have a floor drain in your basement, check to ensure it isn’t backed up and clogged. A functioning drain will help get rid of the water.

Start Removing the Water

When it comes to your weapon of choice for getting rid of the standing water, you can use a pool pump, wet/dry vacuum, mop, and bucket, or a sump pump. How much water you have in your basement will ultimately decide which tool you’ll use to remove it. After removing most of the water, you can get whatever is left with sponges. Take any damaged items and place them in a well-ventilated area to dry. Avoid contact with lamps, televisions, or anything else that uses electricity until you have disconnected the power.

Take Care of Any Carpet You Have

Unfortunately, you may have to rip out carpeting if the flooding is too extensive. If you leave your carpet, it can keep the floor underneath from drying. A restoration specialist can actually help with drying your carpet. Contact ServiceMaster today for all your home restoration needs. If you don’t dry out the carpet properly, you’ll risk the buildup of mold and mildew.

Let Your Basement Air Out

You’ll need to allow several days for your basement to dry. To create ventilation, open doors and windows (weather permitting), and use as many fans as possible to increase the drying time. A dehumidifier will also help here. When the floor and walls are dry, use an anti-mildew spray to avoid mold from developing.

ServiceMaster is Here to Help When You Need it Most

Here at ServiceMaster, we are committed to helping you regain your sense of normalcy after a flooded basement. When unfortunate incidents like flooding occur, the only thing you want is to get things back to normal. That’s where we come in. Our team of expert restorationists will have your home back to the way it used to be in no time. Call 612-354-5466 to reach our Emergency Service team.

Can Snow Cause A Roof Collapse (Keeping Your Roof Safe in the Winter)

Posted on March 22, 2019.

*header image courtesy of Richard Allaway*

Can you imagine coming home to a collapsed roof? Talk about a day ruiner.

What would be even worse is if you were home during the collapse.

No matter what the size of a building is, whether it’s a larger structure or a smaller home, roof collapses are possible. However, can snow cause a roof collapse on its own? Or are there other factors that can contribute to a collapse?

Today, we talk about the signs to look for in your roof to determine if it is at risk of collapsing, as we look at what exactly causes them, and finally, how to make sure you don’t become a victim of a roof collapse.

Signs to Look for

During winters of heavy snowfall, you should always be on the lookout for signs that your roof is under too much stress. For commercial buildings, check for the following:

Sprinkler heads are protruding from the ceiling — this is a telltale sign that something may be wrong with your roof. Because sprinkler heads are usually attached to the roof in a lot of commercial buildings, if they are looking a little off, then it’s likely a result of too much pressure on the roof.

For residential buildings, look for:

Look for water damage through the ceiling or cracks in the drywall. However, this sign will be most common in situations with warm weather. If you are worried about a potential roof collapse, check your attic for cracks in your roof. If you hear any cracking sounds while in your home, then get out if immediately and call a professional roofer to assess the potential for a collapse.

Common Causes of Roof Collapses

Roofs collapse for a multitude of reasons, and usually is attributed to one of the following or combination of:

Poor design – Just like a sloppily designed gingerbread house, an improperly constructed roof is at high risk of collapsing.

Poor construction – Even a good design can’t make up for construction that cuts corners.

No maintenance – Always be on the lookout for structural damage to your roof and fix it immediately.

Older homes – Construction codes are always being updated, and old homes may have roofs that were designed with seriously outdated requirements.

Is Snow a Problem?

So, what about snow? Can it directly lead to a roof collapse?

The answer: Not exactly.

In most instances, snow is involved when it comes to a roof collapse — but often one of the previous factors we just listed accompanies it. For a roof to collapse because of snow on a home that is newer and was designed and constructed properly is extremely rare. However, combine heavy snow with any of them, and you may be in trouble.

To understand just how much stress snow can put on your roof, check out the following IBHS snow roof guidelines:

Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow equates to 5 lb per square foot of roof space. So, about 4 feet of fresh snow would have to be on your roof for it to become stressed.

Packed snow: Packed snow is a little different. Only 3-5 inches of old snow is needed to reach that 5 lb of per square foot of roof space, so over 2 feet of packed snow may be too much stress for your roof.

Ice: 1 inch of ice equals 1 foot of fresh snow.

Remove Snowing – Best Way to Keep Your Home Safe

The best way to keep your home safe during the winter is to remove snow from your roof during the winter regularly. A snow rake is your best bet, but if you have a serious amount of ice on your roof (or an ice dam), then calling a professional to come in and get rid of the ice is the smartest option. Don’t try and remove snow on your own by attempting to chisel it off; this will only damage your roof. Professional ice dam removers use steam to safely remove the ice, which will keep your roof looking great while eliminating the source of the danger.

For All Your Home Disaster Needs – Call ServiceMaster

Whether at your home or your business, fire, flooding or a mold outbreak can be one of the most disruptive events imaginable. We’ll help you get everything back to normal ASAP, so you can resume living in your home worry-free. That’s the promise of the disaster restoration team at ServiceMaster.

To reach our Emergency Service team, call (612) 354-5466.


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