According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center, well over half of the United States experienced above normal amounts of rain last year, while 22% of states in the U.S. had the wettest year on record in 2013.
As storm after storm passes through the United States, 2014 looks like it’s shaping up to be another wet one, too. Though some may feel that the rain is a nice break from all of the intense heat, it’s causing basements everywhere to become overly damp or flooded, allowing mold and mildew to move in.
“The most important thing for homeowners to do now is to check for dampness or water seepage throughout potentially affected areas of your home, particularly storage areas and room corners. Remove items which are dampened/saturated with water or moisture,” said Marjorie Zastrow, SDSU Extension Nutrition Field Specialist. Seepage, flooding, and dampness can all cause water damage, which is the third largest cause of homeowner loss. In fact, almost 40% of all homeowners have reported losses from water damage before.
Thankfully, water damage is preventable. Keeping a de-humidifier in the basement can help control a basement’s dampness by drawing out as much 20% of the moisture.
However, if water does make its way into the basement, Zastrow says that homeowners can use a wet vac to remove the water and prevent water damage. However, professional help may be needed once that’s done.
“Once the water is gone, it is important that you do a thorough job cleaning and dehumidifying,” she said. “This may involve the removal of items such as flooring; trim boards, items stored in closets and dressers.”
After everything’s removed, the walls need to be cleaned in order to remove any mold spores and the grime that mold feeds on.
After all is said and done, it’s necessary to keep a dehumidifier in the basement to ensure that the basement continues to dry. It may take days, weeks, or even months of this before items can be returned. According to Zastrow, “Moving all the belongings in too soon can inhibit the drying process and contribute to mold/mildew growth.”