Helpful Articles

Basement Floods – Steps For Clean Up

One of the most common calls we get is for flooded basements. The source of the problem can be extreme weather, a failed sump pump, a burst pipe or even a malfunctioning water heater. Regardless of the cause, it is important to act quickly when you discover water in your basement.

Upon discovering a basement flood, you’ll need to do a preliminary assessment to determine if this is something you can clean up yourself or if you need to call a professional team. This article will help you decide which path to take.

Safety First

A flooded basement can cause significant risk and could even be deadly. Before you proceed any further, there are a number of safety precautions you should take.

  • Electrical – If your main breaker box is in the basement, call your local power company to safely turn off the power. You may also reach out to a certified electrician.
  • Gas – If you smell gas or if a gas leak has been detected, leave your home and call the gas company immediately.
  • Contamination – Sewage, chemicals and other elements found in flood water can be toxic. Avoid direct contact and any items that have been in contact with the contaminated water.
  • Structural – If there is any doubt as to the structural safety of your home, call a professional team to survey the situation and provide guidance.

Before starting the clean up process, open any basement windows that can provide airflow and ventilation. Wear protective clothing including gloves, boots, and eyewear to ensure your safety.


Remove any personal items that can be salvaged. The less time they are exposed to the flood water, the better. Do your best to remove any moisture and place items in a location where they can dry out. If the weather is nice, a table on your deck or patio is a good place to start.

Water Extraction

Depending on the extent of the flood, you may be able to remove the water with a wet/dry vacuum or portable sump pump. Most equipment rental shops have these items available on a daily or weekly basis. If there is more than several inches of water, you may need to call a professional restoration team. If you have any doubts, it’s best to have an assessment just to be sure.

Rugs & Carpets

Area rugs can be removed and hung outside to dry. However, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting in your basement you will need a professional team to remove it. Not only will the carpet fibers be destroyed but the glue, underlay and backing will also be damaged. Leaving wet carpet in place will encourage mould growth so the faster you make the call to a restoration team, the better.

Drying Tools

Once the water has been extracted and items removed, an array of drying tools can be used to bring down the humidity and prevent the growth of mould. If it’s possible to open windows to promote airflow, that will help. Large fans and dehumidifiers will also work to bring down the moisture level. These can be rented or if the job is too big to do yourself, a restoration specialist will have all the tools needed. A professional team will also be able to check for moisture in areas you can’t see.


As we mentioned earlier, flood water can be contaminated and you’ll want to ensure everything is disinfected. After the initial clean up, a thorough sanitizing process will prevent contamination and mould growth.

Record Keeping

It’s easy to be overwhelmed during an event like a basement flood. Take the time to keep good records to ensure a smooth process. As you remove items for cleaning or drying, make a list. Keep good records of any estimates or receipts for costs incurred in case you’ll be putting this through as a claim on your insurance.

Ontario Restoration Services is there when you need us. If you have a basement flood, it’s possible you can handle the clean up yourself. But, if you find the damage is more than you anticipated, give our team a call. We have the skills, experience and tools needed to get the job done.