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Tips: Dealing with Water Damage in your House

Here are a few great tips for dealing with water damage in your house.  This week's Thursday's Tip from Walking on Sunshine Recipes.

Today's post is brought to you by my hubby...the Colonel.

Has your basement ever flooded? 

I'm taking a break from posting on my blog today, Manning the Wall to share with you what happened when our basement flooded a few years ago.  The last place you want to be in the event of a flood in your home is away from it.  But that was exactly where I was in July of 2013; away from home, in Afghanistan when our basement flooded.

This week's Tip is dealing with water damage in your house.  

I had gotten to the office early that morning, checked my e-mail, and there was a message from my wife detailing the torrential weather for the last two days, a sump-pump that could not keep up, and 3 inches of water in the basement.

And from my desk inside Camp Blackhorse, I could do nothing. Of course, this wasn't our first flood. We had one a year after we moved in the house but the basement wasn't finished then, so the cleanup wasn't so bad.  Since that first flood, we've turned our basement into a nice "playroom" for the kids, complete with carpeting that was now soaked.  

The road back would take months.  First there was an intensive clean-up – some friends  showed up to help.  A couple of wet/dry vacuums, in tandem with the overworked sump-pump managed to extract most of the water.  It took a while, but after a few hours, the crew made significant headway getting to the “like it never happened” state.    

We (and by “we” I naturally mean “she”) found a good painter to restore the sheet-rock.  I would put in the new floor when I returned the following year, choosing inter-locking rubber floor tiles over getting new carpeting. 

Here are a few tips we learned in how to deal with water damage in your house:

1.  Safety.  

Make sure you turn off the source of power to the house.  If you don't know how to do this, call an electrician or call your electric utility company and have them turn off the power to your house.   This is important!  Do not attempt to turn off the power to the house while standing in the water.  

2.  Find out how the water is entering the house.

In our flood, it was because of the torrential downpours we were experiencing.  But there may be a sewer backup, or a faulty water heater causing your flood.  

3.  Move what you can to higher ground.  

Try to move as much as you can to higher ground so your loss is minimal.  

4.  Remove as much water as possible quickly.  

Thankfully for us, our sump pump had already kicked in and was doing a great job of removing the water.  But if you don't have a sump pump, look for alternative routes for water removal.  You might have to clear a blocked drain, use a shop-vac, etc.  In some areas you can call the fire department to pump your basement out.  

5.  Drying out.

Before any aesthetic restoration work can be put into motion, everything needs to be dry completely. Fortunately, for us a friend showed up with a pair of air movers which worked really great. 

The subsequent days would be taken up with odor removal – Lois was the point-woman, of course.  That being said, a spray bottle of bleach solution, a pile of old dish towels and her persistence turned out to be a winning formula.  You can also try putting dry kitty litter in a few pans around the basement to also help absorb the odor.  

With each passing hour, the air-movers and the de-humidifiers worked to take the moisture out of the air and walls.  Gradually, the mold growth slowed, and then dropped below replacement level.  It wasn’t long before the basement reached a bone-dry state.  One more wipe-down with a bleach-damp towel, and we were able to turn off the machines.  

Just as no single drop of rain thinks it’s responsible for the flood, the journey back from a home disaster requires patience and small steps moving relentlessly forward.

You can read more about my adventures in life and the Army on my blog, Manning the Wall.  Would love you to visit me.

A photo of our son, Michael, having fun helping me measure 
the water that shouldn't be in the basement.

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Don't forget to check out my hubby's blog, Manning the Wall.


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and great information. In a flood situation one can panic (like me) and knowing what to do in advance can be very helpful.

  2. Pretty good I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. Water Damage Tucson AZ

  3. This is some really important information for anyone who lives in an area where floods are common, or who is expecting a flood in the near future. I really liked your point about shutting off the power before anything else, because that is both really important for your safety, and something I never would've thought about. And you sure are lucky to have had a pump to help deal with some of the water, plenty of people are completely unprepared for anything like that. Thanks so much for writing!

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  5. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post which perfectly defines the way how to deal with water damage. I have also some tips which can easily prevent water damage in your house.

  6. Nice article. It is nice to hear about this from a homeowners prospective. If anyone would like more tips on how to deal with flooding in their home, please look here.

  7. Yes, but many people should just contact a water damage company at first. In the firstplace, by not doing this if your not handy. Can be costly. Water damage restoration dallas texas link


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