What Happens After a Basement Flood?

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Basement Flood Clean up
Hangout with Jason Knox
Answering questions about what happens after a flood – how noisy is the equipment, how safe is it, and what not to do.

Mark: We’re talking with BC Preferred Restoration today. Mr. Jason Knox, he’s the lead guy there and we’re going to be talking about the process of what happens after you’ve had a flood in your house, in your basement. How’re you doing today Jason?
Jason: Pretty good thanks Mark, how about you?
Mark: Good. So, during the drying process after a flood, I guess there’s a lot of things that have to go on. Can you describe what’s actually going to happen?
Jason: The name of the game is we want to get things dried as quickly and effectively as possible to prevent further damage such as mold from developing. The whole process takes somewhere between three to five days depending on the job and how much water and how much area we’re drying etc. etc.

Basically, we’re going to be using drying equipment; top of the line drying equipment is what we use; air movers, dehumidifiers, sometimes we’ll be using what we call air scrubbers or negative air machines depending on the job, and application. Basically once the drying equipment is set up, it’s meant to be left running.

You don’t want to be unplugging it, and stopping, and starting it. It really slows down the process and I understand that it gets a little bit noisy sometimes, maybe a little bit warm in the house but stopping / starting… this really slows down the process and instead of a nice three to five day dry time we’re talking a week plus sometimes. So really, really important that people let the equipment running. It gets them through it quicker that way.

Mark: Right, so is it safe to have all this equipment running in the basement with all that moist air?
Jason: Yes, it’s totally safe. That’s part of the reason we are using dehumidifiers is to control the humidity. They’re not heaters, they’re not going to pose a fire hazard or any sort of risk that way. We’re basically moving air. We’re creating evaporation. We’re collecting the evaporated moisture by using the dehumidifiers and just getting the place dry, so totally safe to do so. The equipment that we use, again, top of the line equipment.

I’ve visited the testing facility and I see what their technicians and developers put their equipment through before it hits the market and I know that these things have been tested for thousands and thousands and thousands of hours continuous without even a problem. So, no worries that way.

Mark: So, I guess some of these places are pretty hard to get to, like how do you get inside a wall, under floors, that sort of thing.
Jason: We try to preserve as much of the materials as we can, being the least invasive possible but sometimes, we’re going to have to do things like remove baseboards and drill small holes down the base of the walls to inject air into the wall cavities to make sure we get things dried up properly.

Sometimes, we’re going to have to open up the walls, maybe to remove wet insulation, for instance. A wall that’s packed tight with insulation,  isn’t going to dry properly unless you do that, unless you’re able to remove the wet insulation and again, get air inside that wall. All our technicians are trained in these areas and they know how to identify these obstacles and how to overcome them to make sure that we do our job properly.

Mark: Is part of your service, you make sure that’s all closed up after it’s all done,? Say it takes a week to dry or four or five days to dry but then, it might be a few weeks for the final redo of the place basically to be complete. Is that right?
Jason: Yes, exactly, so the first part of the job we call the emergency portion of the job and this is going to be our demolition, our cleaning, our drying. By the time we’re finished the emergency the house is clean and it’s safe.

The next part of the job is the final repairs portion of the job and depending on the size of the job and what needs to be done, yeah sometimes it can take, two to three weeks depending on how quickly the insurance company moving on approving the estimates to do the work and this sort of thing. Sometimes it is open for a little while, but you know, if there’s any hazards with regards to sharp edges or this sort of thing, we take care of that by removing nails and whatnot so that nobody’s going to be exposed. We also encourage people to avoid the area as much as possible while it’s under construction. You don’t want your kids running around bare foot down in your basement if it’s under a full on restoration project that’s for sure.

Mark: So how much, you’re running quite a bit of equipment, I guess if it’s been a full flood and there was a couple feet of water in the basement, so how much is all this going to cost me in electricity?
Jason: Yeah, it’s a good question. There’s a mathematical equation that we use to figure this out and it depends on how much you’re paying per kilowatt hour for your electricity is part of it but generally speaking, ball park, it works out to about a dollar per day, per piece of equipment in use. So if you have, ten pieces of equipment running for four days, let’s say, that’s going to add about forty bucks to your electricity bill. The good news is this will be reimbursed by your insurance company.

We just have to submit this for you and like I say, figure out this mathematical equation and we’re more than happy to do that for our customers, present this to the insurance company for them.

Mark: So I guess one of the last things, something that I’ve wondered about is, how safe is it, if there’s a flood in your basement, how smart is it to actually be going down there checking things out when there’s actual water and maybe your furnace is still running or other electrical equipment is still operating or could be operating, might turn on at some point.
Jason: Right, such a great question. I think our natural instinct as homeowners when we see a situation developing in our basement is to run down and safeguard as much as our personal effects as we can!

I would definitely recommend not doing it! I mean if at all possible to stay out. I mean, use your common sense, if your basement is full, with water, I’m talking three or four feet standing water where it’s gone up past the height of your electrical receptacles and your electrical appliances are still plugged in,  you don’t want to be wading through that water! I mean not only the electrical hazard but also you don’t know what’s in that water.

You don’t know where that waters coming from, you might be wading through three feet of raw sewage and that’s never a good idea! So, bottom line it’s best to avoid these areas until one of us is there to basically walk you through what can be done, what shouldn’t be done. Not everything is going to be a write off. Obviously if your personal belongings are up off the ground and are not directly in the water, let’s say, they’re going to be all right until we get there.

Make things safe, get the water out. Then we’ll be able to deal with those contents for you.

Mark: Great, Jason, this has really been enlightening. I think there’s a lot to know and I think it’s really important to have professionals to look after a flood. It’s not something that you can just do on your own.
Jason: I agree Mark. That’s why we’re here.
Mark: Great. So we’ve been speaking with Jason Knox at BC Preferred Restoration. You can reach them at bcpreferredrestoraton.ca or you can call them if you have a flood at 604-295-8646. They’ll look after you, they’ll look after all the insurance; your house will be back new before you know it! Thanks a lot Jason.
Jason: Thank you Mark. Take care.