Owning a home comes with unfortunate risks. Fire damage, wind damage and water damage are all potential threats. While you can only take so many steps to avoid fire and wind threats, water damage is one area where you can truly be proactive. Many homeowners ask “do I need to waterproof my basement?”
The most important thing to remember is to never enter a basement that’s flooded if it could have electricity running. Chances are if your basement flooded, you either don’t have a sump pump, or you don’t have a sump pump with an emergency battery backup. If the power went out, you may want to get it restored right away to get your sump pump going again. But any electricity in the water creates a deadly hazard. Make sure to disable ALL of the power to the basement, a socket that’s not being used or loose wires you can’t see can still electrify the water.
Additionally, if your flood was due to backed up sewage, the average homeowner is not equipped to safely clean it up. You will need to contact a professional, as sewage can contain a large volume of contaminants that spread illness or disease.
Steps for Cleaning Up:
#1. Turn Off Water & Power.
If your basement flooding happened due to a leaky or burst pipe, the first step is to turn off the water. This will prevent any further water from filling the space and give you time to contact a plumber. It’s also critical to ensure the power is off for the entire basement. If you’re not completely confident that the water is safe, don’t attempt to enter the basement at all— call a professional.
#2. Remove Everything You Can
When you’re positive there’s no risk of electric shock, you can begin removing items that can be saved. Start by taking out any electronics, both for safety purposes and to potentially salvage them. You will have to remove furniture and anything stored in the area. Depending on the purity of the water, some of it may be reusable once it’s dried. A leaky pipe often just causes water damage, but backed up sewage or a groundwater flood will likely introduce bacteria into anything it touches, requiring you to throw it away or have it professionally cleaned.
#3. Clean Up Excess Water
Once your basement is safe and you have most of your salvageable items removed, you can start to tackle the water that’s remaining. There are a number of ways accomplish this, but they depend on the equipment you have available. The simplest solution is to use towels and buckets, soaking up and dumping the water elsewhere. A shop vac can also help, but make sure not to plug it in anywhere that could put you at risk for electric shock.
#4. Remove Moisture
After your basement has had all of the flooded water removed, you’ll need to dry out the area. Open the windows and use fans to help remove moisture from the environment. If you own a dehumidifier, make sure to turn it on with the windows closed and regularly empty it. Remember when using a dehumidifier to remove contaminated water that the dehumidifier itself will then also be contaminated and should be replaced after you’re finished.
If your basement is carpeted, you will need to remove the carpet. Even if you do everything to dry it out, moisture can stay trapped beneath it and lead to major mold problems. You probably won’t be able to save the carpet, especially if the flood came from an unclean water source.
You will also need to remove drywall and insulation. They can act as sponges for the water, and you’ll need to access the areas behind them to fully dry out the supports and make sure no wiring is still exposed to water. It’s highly recommended to leave these steps to a professional, to ensure the job is done thoroughly and without risking more damage to your home.
#5. Disinfect the Area
Once the basement is dry, you will have to disinfect everything. Even if the flood water was “clean,” moisture can quickly let bacteria and mold begin to thrive in your basement. Any surface that was wet or near the flood will need to be thoroughly disinfected. This may drastically reduce your chance for developing mold or other illnesses in the future.
Protect Yourself Against Water Damage
There’s a lot you can do to avoid water damage. Staying proactive will help reduce your risk of flooding, and save yourself countless hours and potentially hundreds of dollars in damage and expenses from a basement flood.
Keep Your Gutters Maintained
gutters are your home’s first line of defense
Frozen pipes can be more than a temporary inconvenience. Left unchecked, a frozen pipe could burst, leading to significant water damage and creating an environment where mold can thrive. But by following simple winterizing steps, you can keep your plumbing intact despite the freezing temperatures.
Tip #1: Turn Off Your Water Supply
On this particular evening, Mary decides to pour her herself some tea and curls up on the couch with a good book. It’s cozy and peaceful. Suddenly, there’s a loud CRASH of thunder! Mary jumps, dropping her book and nearly spilling her cider. Her heart skips a beat as she races to the window and peels back the curtains. The rain cascades down the side of her house, slowly seeping deep into the ground.
She chuckles to herself. How silly of her to be scared of a little thunder and lightning. Mary retires to the couch, pulling a fuzzy blanket all the way up to her chin. Maybe a little TV will calm her nerves. She reaches for the remote but stops short. A small, black spider crawls past her hand and down the leg of her coffee table.
Spiders in the Basement? Eek!
Mary watches as the spider scurries through the living room, into the kitchen, and finally disappears under the basement door. If there’s one thing she can’t stand, it’s pests in her house. Mary grabs a shoe and opens the basement door. She slowly walks down stairs, making sure not to lose sight of the little arachnid.
When she reaches the basement, it’s pitch black! Mary feels along the wall, searching for the light switch. There it is. She flicks on the light….and a swarm of spiders descends from the ceiling! They’re everywhere. Mary jumps back in horror. She notices wet spots on the floor; her basement is starting to flood.
Could this be the reason for all the spiders?
This account is of course fiction, but it’s a common problem. Millions of homeowners deal with spiders in the basement. Not only do they dwell in basements, but also crawl spaces, bathrooms, and in other areas dark and damp areas of the home. Certain species of spiders like moisture and prefer to build their nest in quiet areas, which is why they’re attracted to the basement.
According to Orkin, a company specializing in pest control, “spiders commonly enter homes in two primary ways: entering through open, poorly screened windows and doors, and through cracks and gaps around door, window frames, and floor boards. Most of the time spiders come inside the home looking for prey. The other common method of entry is accidently hitchhiking inside boxes, on outdoor items, and numerous other things that are brought inside the home.”
Common Ways to Get Rid of Spiders
If you find that these little eight-legged creatures have found a way into your home, there are a few things you can do to combat the situation:
Keep Your Home Free of Clutter
Spiders love to hide. The more cluttered your home is, the happier they are. The basement is the most common place to store items like boxes, old magazines, and off-season clothes. Make sure to pick these items up off the basement floor and store them on a shelving unit. If you’ve been storing your items in cardboard boxes, consider transferring them to plastic totes with lids. Not only does this safely secure your items in case of flooding, but also, helps to keep the spiders out. (Check out this article for more tips: Conquer Basement Clutter with These Top 5 Spring Cleaning Tips)
Clean Your House
No one likes a dirty home; expect for spiders! Whip out that vacuum and start with the carpet. If you have hardwood floors, take a dry mop and sweep up all the dust and grime that’s tracked in from the outside. Next, take a duster and clean all the baseboards, light fixtures, and ceiling fans. Don’t forget to check under the bed! The space under your bed collects the most dust and is the perfect breeding ground for spiders. Make sure to keep that area spick and span.
Check Your Windows & Doors
Live in a drafty house? You may have areas around the windows and doors that aren’t sealed properly, which allows spiders to enter your home. If you notice cracks or holes in or around windows, make sure to seal them. Sealing up cracks is especially important in the basement. Also, make sure your exterior doors close tightly. Adjust latches and strike plates to ensure that they’re closed as tightly as possible.
Consider Natural Spider Repellent
Once you’ve decluttered your basement, swept up the dust, and sealed any cracks, it’s time to battle the spiders that are already inside your home. One way to do this is to use natural spider repellent. Natural repellents are preferable to ones with chemicals, especially if you have small children or animals. Try this: mix a few drops of lavender, citrus, tea tree, or citronella oil with water. Spray in populated areas.
Avoid Basement Nightmares; Contact Team EverDry Today!
The only way to truly battle these pests is to eliminate water and moisture in your basement. It’s paramount in making your home inhospitable to all pests, especially spiders. By simply eliminating or reducing wetness in your basement, you can greatly diminish the likelihood of infestations by a plethora of insects including cockroaches, centipedes, millipedes, and crickets.
EverDry Toledo is dedicated to looking at every possible waterproofing solution to suit your particular circumstances. We offer:
- Interior Waterproofing
- Exterior Waterproofing
- Multi-Step System
- Foundation Replacement
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