At first thought, water in your basement may not seem like that big of a deal. You pump it out, replace a few floorboards, and everything goes back to normal -- right? Well . . . hopefully. Not to scare you, but water in the basement can actually present a few risks, and it is best that you are aware of these so that you can protect yourself and your family members as you deal with your wet situation.
#1: Bacterial Contamination
Depending on where the water came from, there may be bacteria contaminating it and ready to cause infection if the water touches your skin or is accidentally ingested. This is especially likely if the water came from a wastewater pipe. Even if the water itself is not raw sewage, sewage travels through those same wastewater pipes, so the water is contaminated. Floor waters from a natural disaster also tend to be contaminated. The water might flow in and out of sewer outlets before flowing into your basement. Bacteria found in flood waters may contain E. coli, Salmonella, and Streptococcus species.
#2: Mold growth
Mold won't show up immediately, but it will only take a few days to start growing. The longer it takes you to dry out your basement completely, the greater your chances of mold growth. Cleaning up mold can be burdensome and expensive, and in the meantime, mold growth leaves you prone to allergy symptoms, nausea, and even headaches.
#3: Electrical shocks
You should never, ever enter a basement with standing water in it until you are absolutely certain the power in the home has been turned off. Even if the power has been knocked out by a storm, call your electrical company and have the power officially disconnected before venturing into standing water. If the power were to turn back on while you were in the water, you could be electrocuted if the electrical components of an appliance, like a hot water heater, were immersed in the water.
#4: Cracks in the foundation
Water can weaken your home's basement walls, causing them to crack. While a crack or two may not be a huge deal, a big crack or lots of cracks can cause the foundation to shift, putting your home at risk of collapse or walls shifting. You should always have a structural engineer look over your home following a flooded basement if you notice any cracks.
For more information, contact a water mitigation service.