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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Do I Deal with Basement Soiling After Storm Flood Damage In My Gaithersburg Home?

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

concrete pad and walls flooded in a basement Gaithersburg Residents trust SERVPRO for water restoration and removal from their basements

SERVPRO Can Help With Challenges Such As Accessing the Soiled Areas and Waste Disposal, Restoring Pre-loss Conditions

Cleaning a Gaithersburg basement or other crawl spaces is challenging at best. Soiling from flooding incidents worsens this challenge, and unlike spring-cleaning, you cannot postpone it until it is convenient for you. Doing so would lead to other problems such as mold development or worse. Successful basement cleaning is 50% planning, without which the challenges involved can make the exercise overwhelming.

What complicates cleaning in such confined areas?

In case of storm flood damage, your Gaithersburg basement is likely to be filled with significant volumes of water, silt, or mud. Cleaning must remove all these foreign materials promptly to restore preloss conditions and prevent secondary damages. Several factors can get in the way when trying to accomplish the cleaning goals. Typical issues include:

  • Limited space in the basement
  • Small access points
  • Unseen hazards such as the presence of sewer gas
  • Presence of bugs such as spiders, or even snakes and raccoons

How does SERVPRO address these challenges?

Cleaning a flooded basement or crawl space is less challenging with access to the right resources. For example, removing the water and other foreign materials poses the main challenge because of the small access points. Our crews have a variety of pumps, which counter the challenge. High-pressure pumps help lift water from the basement conveniently since they have a discharge head of up to 360'. We also have self-priming trash pumps, which remove water with solid materials. The slurry variety handles mud and sand efficiently.

Lack of sufficient natural light or lighting fixtures is another challenge that can complicate your efforts to clean confined areas after flooding. At the very least, venturing into a poorly lit area where there might be bugs such as spiders, is scary. It is also unsafe since there might be sharp objects and other hazards. Our SERVPRO technicians use different lighting fixtures to ensure the basement is well-lit as we perform the cleanup. Wobble lights help us when we need a flood of light from a single point. We also use stand lights for directional lighting, which is essential in identifying items or hazards within the basement area.

What issues do SERVPRO technicians look out for when cleaning?

Although the main goal when cleaning the basement is dealing with soiling to restore preloss conditions, preventing additional damages or injuries is also crucial. Knowing in advance what issues might lead to such damages or injuries helps in formulating a plan to avoid them. Typical things to look out for include:

  • Electrical wiring, gas lines or other utility hazards
  • Exposure to hazardous materials
  • Contaminants
  • Fragile items

Use of PPE, Personal Protective Equipment such as rubber boots, heavy-duty gloves, bodysuits, and hard hats protect our SERVPRO crewmembers from most of the hazards. We inspect the area to identify any fragile items stored there and identify the utility lines to avoid damaging them during cleaning.

What cleaning steps are necessary?

  • Removing dirty
  • Sanitizing or disinfection
  • Deodorization
  • Moisture control

Various approaches can help remove soils from the basement after extracting the water, including agitating with brushes or spraying the surfaces with pressure washers. These methods help remove soils from rough or unfinished surfaces conveniently.

Sanitizing the area with mild cleaning agents such as bleach helps remove undesirable substances that cleaning fails to address. In case the flooding involves raw sewage or other biohazards, our SERVPRO technicians use products with disinfectant and antimicrobial properties to disinfect the area.

The accumulation of soils and other wastes in the basement can leave foul smells. Another source of bad smell in the basement is the deterioration of materials when wet. Deodorization is the best way to deal with such odors. Our technicians can mix the water-based deodorizers with the cleaning or sanitizing solutions to replace the bad odor with a sweet scent. Alternatively, we apply the deodorizer on surfaces using misting tools such as ULV foggers for better penetration into materials.

Leaving moisture or wet materials in the basement after cleaning is almost as bad as leaving the soiling in place. Mold develops quickly in such conditions since organic materials in the area provide a food source.  Our crews set up drying equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers for some time to remove excess moisture. In case access points limit the possibility of setting up equipment in the affected area, we rely on our training to find other solutions. For example, we can use flex hose as ducts to move air between the confined space and the drying equipment.

Although a flooded basement presents many challenges, SERVPRO of Gaithersburg / Germantown can find ways to address the problem, "Like it never even happened." Call us at (301) 963-8474.

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