Act fast to prevent mold in a flooded basement


HOWLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – The heavy rain this week did more than just cover roads and gather in backyards. It seeped into some people’s homes.

A sump pump broke in Ron Darlington’s basement in Howland Wednesday night, just as the rain began to fall.

“I said, ‘Geez, my socks feel like they’re wet,’ and she’s like, ‘No, I think it’s just the floor’s cold,’ you know, because we had the carpet down there. Then I said, ‘No, I think my socks are getting wet.’ And they were.”

When that happens, it’s important to act fast.

“You have about 48 hours. After 48 hours, certain types of mold spores will begin colonizing,” said Kevin Wyndham, with ServiceMaster Restoration.

He said there’s nothing wrong with doing the work yourself as long as you know what you’re doing and have the right equipment.

After cleaning up the water, increase ventilation as much as possible by opening any windows and turning on fans.

Tips for cleaning a flooded basement

You should also know if the water is clean, dirty or contaminated. If it’s dirty or contaminated, personal protection may be necessary to keep the bacteria off.

Regular dehumidifiers and fans will take a long time. Professionals have blowers and dehumidifiers seven times stronger to capture the moisture. The equipment even tracks its success of drying a room.

“If you follow those standards, you will be 100 percent successful every time,” Wyndham said. “That’s part of what we have to prove to the insurance companies in order to get paid, is that we have dried it successfully.”

It takes at least two days to dry everything out. An antimicrobial is then applied to kill bacteria, and the basement is cleaned.

Darlington has to replace his carpeting.

The main thing is knowing the source of the water problem and getting that fixed, too, so it doesn’t happen again.

“Under certain drain backups and certain problems, the insurance company, if you have appropriate coverage, will pay for it. But if they find out you didn’t take any corrective steps, they may not cover it the second time,” Wyndham said.

If you have a sump pump like Darlington, you should change it every five years. Even if it’s working okay, replacing it could save your basement.