Cleaning Your Basement after a Water Heater Break
If your water heater recently broke and left water all over your basement, you will want to act fast in getting the area cleaned up to avoid damage. The longer water sits, the higher risk of mold growth. Here are some steps to take when dealing with a water heater leak so you can get your basement back into usable condition in a jiffy.
Take Safety Precautions
A water heater leak usually happens when one of the fittings corrodes, causing a gap where water can leak out of the vessel. If you have not checked on your water heater in several days, you were most likely shocked when you noticed water on your basement floor. The first step you need to take is to turn off your water heater so water does not continue to pour out into the room. Do not attempt to unplug the water heater from the wall without shutting off the breaker first, as water could have gotten inside the outlet, making electrocution a risk.
Clean Up the Water
To remove the water from your basement, you will need a water pump to do the job effectively. Plug the water pump into an outlet on an upper floor and use an extension cord to reach the basement level. Attach a hose to the water pump and redirect the water you pump to the outdoors, preferably at a level below your foundation so it does not pool up alongside your home.
Dry the Area
It is extremely important to dry the entire area so there is less risk of mold growth. Remove the switch plates from the outlets in the room and check inside for any sign of moisture. If there is moisture present, hold off on turning the power on in the room until it has totally dried on its own. Use extension cords to plug in fans in the basement to help dry the areas where water was prevalent. A dehumidifier will also help remove dry the area quickly.
If you carpeting is wet due to the leak, it is best to have it removed so mold does not grow within the fibers. A carpet pad acts much like a sponge and can keep mold spores hydrated. Remove the carpeting and have it professionally cleaned if you wish to salvage it. You will need to replace the carpet pad altogether.
If there are pieces of drywall that had gotten wet, remove them with a drywall saw and place new pieces up after the insulation and wood underneath has dried completely. Use a commercial mold cleaner on all surfaces touched by water to help eliminate the spread of mold. If the area was saturated for a long time, you may want to have a professional water damage service like Central Flood Management Inc do an evaluation of the area to make sure mold is totally removed. Call a plumber to check your water heater as well.