A basement flood is every Mississauga homeowner’s worst nightmare. Going to sleep thinking that everything is fine only to wake up and discover your basement is covered in contaminated water that is ruining your belongings and damaging your home is truly an awful plumbing emergency to experience.
No one wants to deal with a flooded basement, but the reality is that sometimes sewers backup and heavy rainfall or snowmelt can damage homes. One of the worst parts of a basement flood is the moment you discover the flood and panic, not knowing what to do.
That’s why our Mississuage Plumbers at Mr. Rooter put together this blog, so that when disaster strikes you know a few key steps to take in responding to a basement flood. Likewise, we’ve compiled our expert advice for preventing future floods and outlined when you should call the pros at Mr Rooter of Mississauga ON.
What Should I Do if My Basement is Flooding?
As soon as you discover that your basement has flooded, the first thing you should do is to ensure the safety of your family. On the offset, you may not know where the water is coming from and you don’t want your children going into a basement full of contaminated water. Additionally, if the electricity is still on in your home no one should enter the basement because of the risk of electrical shock.
Shut Off Your Power
Once you have confirmed your family is safe, turn off your home’s electricity and gas right away. To do this, you will need to find your circuit breaker. The circuit breaker could be located in your garage, outside by your meter, or in your basement.
If your circuit breaker is not located in your basement, shut off your power. But if your circuit breaker is located in the basement, then you need to call your electricity provider to turn off your power remotely. Likewise, if you can’t find your circuit breaker, you can call your electricity provider and ask them to shut the power off.
Act as Quickly as Possible
Once your power has been shut off, take action against the flood right away. You’ll want to move quickly to prevent as much damage to your home as possible. That said, if the flooding is due to heavy rainfall, you’ll have to wait until the rain stops to act against the flood.
We recommend calling the professional plumbers at Mr. Rooter of Mississauga to help manage your basement flood. Our courteous and professional staff is just one phone call away, 24/7, to assist with emergencies like a flooding basement. We can be reached at 905-817-0210.
While you’re waiting for our expert team to arrive, there are a few things you can do:
Wear Boots and Gloves for Protection
Before you go into your flooded basement, be sure to wear the correct safety gear. Whether your basement is flooded with sewage or just dirty water, you will need to protect yourself. We advise wearing rubber boots and cleaning gloves at the minimum. We also suggest wearing clothes that you don’t mind damaging.
Please keep in mind that if the water in your home is higher than two feet, it’s best to call a professional plumber instead of trying to handle the flood on your own.
Figure Out Where the Water is Coming From
Locating the cause of your basement flood will help you know what to do next. Perhaps a pipe has burst and is filling your home with water. In this case you’ll need to turn the water in your home off right away to stop the flooding. Most main water shut off valves in Mississauga homes are located in the basement. Either near the front of the house or in the room where your hot water tank is situated. Turn the valve counter clockwise to cut off your water supply.
Check Your Floor Drain to Ensure it Has Not Become Clogged
Most Mississauga homes have a floor drain—especially if you live in a part of the GTA that is more prone to flooding such as Cooksville Creek, Applewood, or Lisgar. Check the floor drain to ensure it’s not blocked by debris or household items. This will help the flood water safely drain out of your home.
Remove Water from the Basement
If you don’t have the equipment or feel unsafe in moving water away from the basement flood, we suggest waiting until the professional team from Mr. Rooter of Mississauga arrives to help. However, if you feel comfortable removing water from your basement by yourself you can use the following methods:
Sump pump: Your sump pump is meant to automatically pump away water from your home in the event of a flood or when the water table beneath your home reaches a certain level. If you have a sump pump but your basement has still flooded, there is likely a problem with the sump pump (or the flood has overwhelmed the sump pump).
Wet/dry vacuum: A wet/dry vacuum or shop vacuum works for clearing up a small amount of flooded water in your home. However, if your basement flood is more than a few inches of water, then shop vacuums will be less efficient because of their size. Do not use a conventional vacuum to try and clean up flooded water.
Utility pump: Utility pumps are portable pumps that can be used in the event that your sump pump fails.
Mop and bucket: You can use a mop and bucket to clean up the basement flood for very small amounts of water.
Professional assistance: If your home has been seriously flooded or you don’t have the tools to clean up the flood on your own, then it’s best to call the experts at Mr. Rooter of Mississauga. We have the correct equipment, qualifications, and experience to efficiently remove water and clean up your basement flood.
Move Damaged Items Out of the Way
For items that have been damaged by a basement flood—that are not electrical items—give them 48 hours to dry. Move items like furniture and plastic storage boxes to a dry, ventilated area to dry out properly. This could be your backyard in the summer or your upstairs living area in the winter. If after 48 hours your possessions are not completely dry, they likely will have to be thrown away. Do not keep wet cardboard boxes as bacteria will grow in the damp cardboard.
Do Not Touch Electrical Items Like Televisions, Stereos, or Lamps
While it can be tempting to move your costly electrical items out of the flooded area, anything that uses electricity should not be moved until they have dried completely. Leave any electrical items to dry in place so that you do not get electrocuted.
Rip Up Carpeting and Remove as Soon as Possible
Wet carpeting is a breeding ground for bacteria and discolouration. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to save your carpets in a basement flood as leaving the carpet in place will prevent the subfloor from drying out properly. In the rare case, you may be able to save your carpets and reinstall them after drying. But, it's most likely that you will need to install new floors.
Allow Your Basement Up to a Week to Dry
Depending on the severity of your basement flood, you may need to give the area up to a week to dry out. Mississauga can have quite humid weather in both the summer and winter, which is not ideal in enabling your basement to dry out quickly. A few ways to speed along the drying process include:
Opening windows: Fresh air—particularly in the summer—can do wonders for drying out your basement.
Using fans: Circulating the air with fans in your basement will help wet areas dry more efficiently. This is especially helpful in the winter months.
Using a dehumidifier: If your basement does not have very good ventilation or the weather is particularly humid, you may need a dehumidifier to help the area dry out.
Remove Any Silt or Grime
Even if your basement flood was not due to sewage, you will still need to thoroughly clean your floors, walls, and anything else the flood water touched. This helps prevent further damage, bacterial growth, and helps keep your basement clean and healthy for your family. The best way to clean a flooded basement in Mississauga is to:
Use soap and warm water: Soap and warm water will be sufficient to clean up most damaged areas.
Scrub any discolouration with bleach: If you spot any bacterial growth or discolouration, go over these areas with bleach. If your basement flood was particularly bad, you may want to go over any of the areas you clean with soap and water with a diluted bleach solution to clean thoroughly. Typically, 1/2 cup of bleach per gallon of water is sufficient.
Remove Wet or Damaged Drywall and Insulation
Like your carpeting, damaged drywall and insulation can’t be saved. Unfortunately, the water that flooded your basement is full of dirt and contaminants that could cause fungal or bacterial growth in your drywall and insulation.
Why is My Basement Flooding in Mississauga?
Aside from heavy rainfall that can lead to flash flooding, such as the GTA floods in 2013, there are many other causes of basement floods in Mississauga. Some of these causes include:
A Blocked or Broken Sewer Line
Tree roots and debris can clog up your home’s main sewer line. The result is that waste water will not be able to properly flow away from your house. Instead, the waste water will flow back into your home and flood your basement because it has nowhere else to go.
The Sewer Is Full
Sometimes a sewer backup is not caused by a clog from tree roots, but because it’s too full and is not able to dispose of domestic waste properly. Once again, when your sewer line is blocked, it moves the waste water back into your home because it can’t escape through the correct channels and has nowhere to go.
Water Supply Line Break
Your water supply line is what brings in clean water into your home. If it breaks, then water that is meant to stay within your plumbing system will cause a basement flood.
Hot Water Tank Failure
In most Mississauga homes, the hot water tank is located in the basement. If the hot water tank breaks, then the water it holds will spill out into your basement.
Your Sump Pump Failed
If your Mississauga basement is built below a water table, you will have a sump pump. The sump pump is responsible for moving water that leaks into your home from a rising water table away from your house. If your sump pump fails or is overwhelmed by serious flooding, the water will not be moved away from your home and your basement will flood.
How to Prevent Floods in the Future
While unforeseen disasters and accidents do happen, there are a few things you can do to prevent a basement flood in your Mississauga home:
Install a back water valve on your sewer line
Install an automatic main water shut off valve on your incoming potable water line. It is hooked up to sensors throughout the house so that when the sensors detect moisture, it automatically turns the water off.
Inspect your basement walls for cracks, weak spots, windows that are not installed correctly (as water could leak in), and signs of water damage. This will help you troubleshoot possible problem areas.
Seal up any basement exterior openings, including window wells and vents. Proper sealing and waterproofing can help prevent basement flooding.
Hire the professionals at Mr. Rooter of Mississauga to maintain your basement. Our team of experts will complete thorough repairs and waterproof your basement.
Clean out your drains every year. Our qualified plumbing professionals offer thorough, non-invasive drain cleaning services that will help keep your home’s plumbing running smoothly.
Regularly inspect your sewer lines for blockages and damage from roots.
Grade your landscape away from your home. Water travels downhill, so if you have the land around your home angled away from your house, this helps prevent water from pooling at the base of your home.
Extend your downspouts to five feet away from your home. This will move rainwater and snowmelt away from your Mississauga home.
Clean out your gutters at least once a year. Clogged gutters don’t move water away from your home. Rather, the water will spill out of the gutters and degrade the structural foundation of your home.
Regularly inspect your sump pump. Test your sump pump once a year to make sure it works correctly in the event of a flood.
When to Call the Professionals at Mr. Rooter Mississauga
Our courteous, skillful and qualified team of professional plumbers is on-call 24/7 to help you in a basement flood emergency. Additionally, we can help troubleshoot your plumbing to prevent possible floods down the line.
We invite you to give our friendly staff a call at 905-817-0210 or request an in-person job estimate online to prevent flood damage to your Mississauga home today.