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Should I Get a Basement Dehumidifier After a Flood?

May 12, 2020

Flooding is one of the worst things that could ever happen to your basement. Moisture may cause musty smells, discoloration, and dampness, but it's flooding that lands the final blow. Not only does it inundate the basement with water, but it also damages your belongings. Repair costs could run into several thousand dollars, depending on the severity of the floods.

When the rains start falling hard, as it usually happens in spring, public drains get overwhelmed and the excess water looks for a place to go. But that’s not the only cause of flooding. Condensation, leaking pipes, and subsurface penetration can all introduce water into the basement.

But what’s the place of a dehumidifier in the aftermath of a flood? And will it bolster your waterproofing efforts? Read on to find out what you should do after a flood and what role a dehumidifier plays in drying out your home.

Move Out Water Fast

“What happens in the basement stays in the basement” is a popular saying, but it’s not going to be the case when floodwater wets your basement. You'll be wading through several feet of water looking for valuables and salvaging personal items. To remove standing water quickly, buy or rent a wet vac. You can move water out quickly if you have a sump pump.

A lot of people concentrate their efforts on removing the surface water, which is a good thing. While ejecting surface water is a step in the right direction, it’s not be-all and end-all. You still need to keep moisture in check and this is where basement dehumidifiers come in handy.

Drying Indoor Air

Your ultimate goal is to create an environmentally dry basement. And to start off, you should dry the air first. Doing so helps your home dry out fast too. If there's little to no air movement in the basement, secondary damage can occur, and this may take different forms such as warped floors and ceilings, metal corrosion, and book damage. Stagnant air can also prolong the drying process, and worse, trigger structural damage.

Once you pump out the water and mop up the residue, you’ll need to get a dehumidifier. The reason? It’s likely the air around the basement is now saturated with water vapor. And this can trigger mold and mildew growth and musty smells.

A dehumidifier will help move air around the basement and stop condensation. To enhance air circulation, keep the device at least six feet away from the walls.

Preventing Basement Flooding 

With the water out of your basement and air dry, your next focus should be measures you can take to ensure flooding doesn't happen again.  Here are things you can do to combat water from condensation, runoff, or subsurface leakage.

a) Eliminate humidity - Fix leaks on dryer vents and insulate cold pipes to stop condensation.

b) Install/fix drainage system - It's likely why your basement got flooded in the first place. We recommend an internal drainage system that runs along the perimeter of your sub-floor and works in tandem with a sump pump. Unclog gutters and drains and fix any loose downspouts.

Tip: For safety reasons, call your local electrician or power company to disconnect power if you have a huge amount of standing water.

To buy or not to buy a dehumidifier, that's something many homeowners mull over whenever they're confronted with a flooded basement. Some downplay its necessity, while others put off the decision to get one. The best policy is to get a dehumidifier to deal with existing moisture, not just after a flood.

Looking for a trustworthy supplier and installer of basement dehumidifiers? Get in touch with basement repair experts from a Groundworks company serving your area to explore your options. Schedule a free basement waterproofing inspection and our basement professionals will help you make the right choice.