If your basement is wet after a heavy rain, you need to act fast to dry it out. Not only will this limit the damage, but it will also prevent mold as well. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to know where to start. From using the right equipment to the best drying methods, we cover how to dry out a wet basement fast.
How To Dry a Wet Basement: A Step By Step Guide
If your basement gets wet, you should start to dry it out right away. This will limit damage and increase the chances of saving most items. Plus, it will help keep restoration costs down. The following steps explain how to dry out a wet basement fast.
Approximate Time: 3 days
Estimated Cost: $ 1,500
7 Steps To Drying Out a Basement Fast
1. Stop the Water
The first step in drying out a basement is to stop the water. For a water leak or burst pipe, shut off the main water valve. The valve is normally along the wall closest to the street, but the location will vary.
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do if the water is coming in from outside. However, do not wait for the rain to stop. Move on to the next step right away.
2. Remove the Water
Next, you need to get rid of the water as fast as you can. A pump is the best tool for dealing with a wet basement. Just make sure you pump the water away from your foundation so it doesn’t re-enter your home.
If there is less than an inch of water, you can use a wet-dry vacuum. As a last resort, use either a bucket to bail out the water or towels to soak it up.
3. Remove Furniture and Personal Items
Once most of the water is gone, remove furniture and personal items from the basement. If you plan to clean and dry them, put them on a tarp in a dry part of your home like the garage.
Put anything you plan to throw away in heavy-duty garbage bags and take them outside right away. The same goes for damaged carpeting or walls. Getting rid of damaged items now will help dry your basement faster.
4. Dry Your Basement
The key to drying a basement fast is using high-volume fans and dehumidifiers. The fans help water evaporate, while the dehumidifiers pull it out of the air. When used properly, they can dry a wet basement in as little as 12 hours.
Use at least two fans and point them at the walls from two different angles. Then check your basement every few hours and move fans to dry it out faster. Use this same drying method for cabinets as well.
For wet carpeting, lift it up off the floor first to speed up drying. Unfortunately, it’s hard to save wet particle board furniture. While you can try drying it, it’s best to dry walls and carpeting first.
While you can use household fans, they will work much slower. This gives water more time to damage your home, so it’s more likely you’ll need repairs. There is also a greater chance of mold and odors as well.
5. Test With a Moisture Meter
An often overlooked step, it’s important to test your basement with a moisture meter. Although your walls or carpeting may feel dry to the touch, they could still be wet inside.
A meter will detect even trace amounts of water, so you know your basement is really dry. Although other styles are available, you should always use a moisture meter with pins or barbs. These meters test the water content below the surface.
6. Clean, Disinfect, and Deodorize
After drying a wet basement, you need to clean and disinfect it. Start by washing everything with soap and warm water. If there is dirt or mud, remove it first with a wet-dry vacuum before cleaning.
Once your basement is clean, disinfect it to kill mold and bacteria. Mix together one cup of bleach and a gallon of water. You can wipe items down with a rag, but a spray bottle makes disinfecting larger areas easier and faster.
To deodorize your basement, open up windows and doors to let in the fresh air. For really strong or musty smells, sprinkle baking soda around in your basement and let it sit for a few hours. Then use your vacuum cleaner to pick up the baking soda.
7. Repair and Restore Your Basement
Finally, you need to restore your basement. In most cases, this means repairing damaged walls or installing new carpeting. If there is only minor damage, you may only need to paint.