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Dry Out Your Basement & Crawl Space

DRYING OUT YOUR BASEMENT & CRAWL SPACE

Drying out your basement and crawl space after a storm and avoid extensive water damage and reduce health risks.

Failure to dry out anything that came in direct contact with the water in a basement or crawl space, such as home structure, storage items, wet carpet, drywall, cabinets, and furniture, will likely lead to extensive water damage.

Extensive Basement and Crawl Space Water damage can go unnoticed for weeks or even months.

Damage can include;
A strong musty odor
Mold and mildew on the walls, carpets, and cabinets
Walls, floors, and ceiling buckling, curling and peeling

Health Risks In The Home

People who suffer from allergies and repository conditions are more sensitive to health problems associated with damp indoor environments. Moisture promotes bacteria, pests, dust mites, and mold, which can worsen existing respiratory health conditions. According to the EPA, as much as 50% of the air you breathe upstairs comes from your basement or crawl space.

Take Action Quickly: Help prevent extensive damage and mold from water by taking action quickly.

Clean and dry damp/wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. Even if the damage doesn’t look extensive, water damage can be extremely dangerous.

Initial Clean up

Initial water cleanup can include towels and mops for smaller damage and wet-dry shop-vacs or floor sump pumps for more extensive damage. The most important part of the cleanup process is drying out the area completely. Water can be trapped in areas where you may not have access to (behind finished walls). High capacity dehumidifiers and in most cases, commercial dehumidifiers and fans, will be needed to reduce the risk of later damage such as mold.

Remove items

It is important to know that you may need to remove items that have come in contact with water such as; carpets, carpet padding, furniture, storage items and other organic material. Most of these items cannot be dried fast enough to limit the and avoid long-term damage.

How can you avoid problems?

- Take action within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
- Remove the water by using a sump pump, broom, mop, or a shop-vac.
- Remove any debris that have come in contact with water.
- Remove furniture, carpets and other household items that were wet or damaged water.
- Wash and disinfect all areas that have been flooded.
- Use fans to help circulate the air (Only when safe to use electricity).
- Open windows to increase air circulation, ventilation and drying.
- Use dehumidifiers with windows and doors closed
- It may be necessary to remove insulation and wall-to-wall carpeting that were soaked to avoid future indoor air quality problems.
- Continue the drying process until humidity levels return to normal (45-50%). This may take days and or even weeks.

Tips For Preventing A Flooded Basement and or Crawl Space

Keep Gutters & Down Spouts Clean

Keep gutters clean and extend downspouts away from the house and foundation. This will help limit roof water from collecting and pooling around the foundation.

Landscape

The grade around your foundation should slope away from the house to keep rainfall from collecting and pooling against foundation walls.

Sump Pump Maintenance

Make sure your sump pump is working properly. Make sure the sump pump is plugged into a working electrical outlet. Sump Pump Systems should be serviced (preventative maintenance) at least once a year.

Install A Sump Pump

A sump pump with an automatic level switch should be installed into a basement sump pit (sump liner). When water enters the sump pit, the sump pump will pump water out of the basement (below grade) and away from the house.

Install A Backup Sump Pump

A battery backup sump pump will automatically pump water out and away from the house when there is power loss or if the primary sump pump fails. A battery backup sump pump will also pump water out if the primary pump becomes overwhelmed.

Repair Foundation Cracks

Inspect your basement and repair any cracks. Make Sure There are No Cracks in the foundation wall.

Repair Window Leaks & Protect Window Wells

Inspect basement windows for leaks. If they are leaking, repair them or have them replaced. If your basement windows are below grade, clean any debris around the windows and consider installing Window Well Covers.

IMPORTANT: If you do experience a flooded basement, avoid electrical shock by not stepping into basement with water. Contact your local Fire Department or Utility Provider for safety.

Your Healthy Home Show

Your Source for Helpful Tips on Keeping a Healthy Home

On the Healthy Home Show, Steve Andras and Joe Pires of Pioneer Basement discuss topics that affect the health and safety of your home.

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