Having your basement flooded is not a pleasant experience. You have a couple of options, you can try to deal with everything yourself or you can contact a company that specializes in dealing with basement flooding. If you plan on calling for professional help, call immediately as chances are if your basement has flooded others have too and they will be busy. Time is critical here to try and save as much as you can. For those of you who are on a tight budget and can not afford to hire a company here are some simple tips and steps to do to make the best out of a bad situation.
The first thing you want to do is to see where the water is coming into your home at. Is the water coming in through your foundation, is the water coming in through a sewer or sump pump backup, is your sump pump running or has the power went out or has your sump pump completely died on you? These are all questions you need to try and figure out. If you have determined that they water is coming in through anything but a sewage backup or a sump pump problem then next you need to locate any drains that you may have in your basement floor. Many homes, especially newer homes have a backup drain, that will be capped nearby your hot water tank. Many homes also have a drain in your floor nearby your furnace where a PVC pipe from your furnace/AC drains excess water into.
If you can locate either of these drains, open them up completely. This will help to quickly reduce the water level in your basement. You can use a squeegee or a broom to help move the water towards the drain(s). Now if the water is coming in through a sewer back up or sump pump failure, then getting the water out of your basement may prove to be a little more difficult by yourself. Opening up drain covers and holes will most likely not help you in this situation because the water is already backed up and opening these drains could cause the water level to rise even further. If this is the case you will most likely need to have the water pumped out of your basement. They sell items that can do this at most home improvement stores such as Home Depot, Lowes, etc… If you need to pump the water out of your basement you may want to seriously consider calling for professional help.
The next step is to salvage everything that you can that has not been affected, submerged or subject to too much water damage. Get anything of value and any salvageable items and bring them upstairs immediately. Dry them off the best that you can and definitely do not plug in or use any electronic devices that may have taken on some water for a few days until you are sure they are completely dried out. This will give you your best chance of these items still working.
If you have a finished basement and the flooding can be reduced quickly, there is a good chance that you will have very limited damage to your finished basement. There is also a good chance that your carpet may be salvageable as well. The carpet padding will have to be taken up, but the carpet can be dried out and laid back down over new padding once the basement is completely dry. After the water has been drained out of the basement, get a shop vac or preferably a few of them (borrow from neighbors and friends) and have a couple people down there vacuuming the water out of the carpet. You will need to go over the carpet very well a few times to get the vast majority of the water out of the basement. At this point you will want to pull up your carpet and get rid of the padding underneath. You will again need to shop vac after this to remove all excess water.
I highly recommend bringing some high powered fans down into your basement, as well as a couple of dehumidifies to help dry everything out and suck out the moisture. You can contact neighborhood equipment rental stores (such as Home Depot) to rent some heavy duty carpet fans to dry out your carpet. Be advised though that if your basement has flooded chances are many others have too and you will want to call the rental place or stop in there immediately to insure they have some left. After the padding is thrown out and the floor is dried up you will want to lay your carpet back down on top of items such as crates to keep your carpet elevated while you run the high powered fans and dehumidifiers to completely dry the carpet out. Once your carpet has been thoroughly dried out, you can then buy new padding, lay it down and have your carpet laid back down as well. You may need to have your carpet cleaned to remove the musty smell from it, but by taking the steps above you can save a tremendous amount of money.
Call around and ask your friends and family if any of them have the supplies you need or can help you out first before buying anything. Having your basement flood can be a very unpleasant experience but if you handle the situation quickly and properly there is a good chance you can get out of this situation without too big of a “hit in your wallet” and saving a good portion of your belongings from your basement.