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Tips for Tackling a Flooded Basement

The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for portions of Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia beginning Tuesday evening and continuing through late Wednesday night. Unfortunately, flooded rivers and streams, road closures, and downed trees because of waterlogged soil and flooding are not the only issues. The combination of heavy rains and soaked soil will leave many basements flooded. Combine that with the warming weather, and suddenly mold rears its ugly head.
 
When the rain falls at such a rate, the ground cannot handle the volume and rather than being absorbed, water pools near our homes. This causes many of our basements to flood, which can lead to problems very quickly. Damp and wet areas are prime locations for mold growth, which can blossom within 24-48 hours. Drying out the affected areas as soon as possible is very important.

Here’s what you can do right away to prevent mold:

  • Mop, vacuum, or pump the water from the area. But be careful if the outside soil is saturated – If you pump out the area too fast, the pressure from the exterior water could damage your basement wall or possibly collapse it.
  • Remove all wet materials from the area.
  • Dry out residual moisture that is left in the concrete, wood, and other materials. When the rain stops, if you have windows that open to the outside, mount fans in them.
  • Use a dehumidifier and ventilate the area well.  
  • Remove carpeting and dry outside, if possible. If you can't remove the carpeting, remove as much moisture as possible by using a wet vacuum. Then use fans to circulate air both over and preferably under the carpet. The carpet must be dried within 12 to 24 hours, or it will become infested with mold and need to be discarded.
 
If you are unable to take these steps quickly or are unsure as to whether you already have a mold problem, the best thing to do for the health of your family and your home is to call in a professional to conduct a mold test. To learn more about what you can do to prepare for future storms, click here.

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