Getting water out of your basement quickly and safely

If your basement floods, get rid of the water as quickly as possible. If the flooding was caused by a ruptured pipe, shut off the water supply.

Caution: Water conducts electricity. If you have to enter a deeply flooded basement, wear high, heavy rubber boots and thick, dry rubber gloves. Be sure they don’t leak. Standing on a wooden stool or chair, turn off the power. Use a dry piece of wood or plastic, such as a broom handle, to flip the main switch or pull out the main fuse block. Don’t lean on a wall or touch anything until the power is off.

If the water is only an inch or so deep, use buckets, mops, sponges, or a wet-and-dry shop vacuum cleaner to get it out. Empty the buckets of water into a basement laundry sink or toilet or carry them outdoors. Using an electric pump Deeper water must be pumped out. If a plumber is unavailable, your fire department may pump out most of it for you (their equipment cannot get out the last 2 inches of water) or you can get rid of all but the last 1/4 inch of water with a rented submersible electric pump. These puddle suckers sit flat on the floor, drawing water in through the base and pumping it out through a garden hose.

Connect the hose to the pump and run it out a door or window to a storm sewer or a spot where the runoff will flow away from the house. Lower the pump until it rests on the basement floor. Plug the cord into a neighbor’s outlet. Keep debris away from the intake, or it may clog the machine and bum out its motor. Pumping without electric power Flooding maybe due to a power failure that stops a sump pump You may be able to rent a generator to run your sump pump.

Some electric and marine supply stores sell submersible pumps that are powered by 12-volt automobile batteries. If you use one of these, put the battery in a dry place and put the pump into the water before attaching the battery.

Nonsubmersible gasoline-powered pumps can also be rented for dealing with deep flooding. Run the intake hose down the basement steps or through a window, and the discharge hose far from the house.