Cleaning Up After a Flooded Basement

In December of 2010, 5 days before Christmas, unusual weather conditions in my hometown resulted in a higher water table — a water table that invaded my home and every other home on my street. We were fortunate in that most of the water accumulated in our crawl space. Some of it spilled over and ruined the carpet, and damaged some of the drywall in our downstairs. We were luckier than some in terms of the flooding, but the whole thing was expensive, especially since we didn’t have flood insurance.

water drop

How We Cleaned Up the Mess

Because we had about six inches of water, we needed someone to come and vacuum all of it out of our home. That alone costed us $700 as man-hours are counted, along with the cost of pulling up the carpet padding, and the cost of leaving equipment to help dry the area.

Additionally, in order to prevent this from happening again, we had a plumber come and installed a sump pump. With the cost of materials and the work done, that was another $700.

But the expenses didn’t stop there; we needed to replace some of the drywall, have the carpet cleaned, and did a few other things. We spent close to $200 on  the supplies alone. However, we were fortunate that one of my husband’s relatives was able to help us fix things up, so we didn’t pay as much for repairs. Additionally, we had a number of things ruined. The stuff we had to throw out as a result of this mess came to a value of around $500.

But that’s not all. We had industrial dryers and a de-humidifier running for days straight. By the time that was all said and done, our power bill for the month was massive.

I am Glad We Had an Emergency Fund

This experience is the perfect illustration of why it is a good idea to have an emergency fund. Few of us can just pull out the checkbook and write a check for $3,000 without it putting a strain on the monthly budget. I am glad that my family has an emergency fund that can be used to help us meet our expenses in situations like this. It has been a great help to be able to draw on money saved up in the past to meet these unexpected expenses.

While the whole situation was stressful, at least we didn’t have to worry about how we were going to pay the bills. Of course, we had to rebuild our depleted emergency fund and have it ready for the next unexpected expenses.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons


By , on Sep 9, 2012
Miranda Marquit Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own personal finance blog: Planting Money Seeds.


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  1. Christina:

    If your basement is flooded then the first thing that you need to do is to shut the main power breaker to your house so as to prevent your home from further damage. You can get electrocuted very easily in case there is any moisture. Proper preventive measures are required and if you want to prevent your basement from flooding then you should check the source for water drainage after regular interval of time so that water can easily leave the basement in such cases thus decreasing the probability of flooding. Waterproofing is also done that involves detecting and sealing off the cracks and holes in your walls. Waterproofing also involves checking the drains, and other water control equipment is properly installed and functioning or not.

  2. The best thing you can do is to get a shopvac or a punp but make sure it is plugged in somewhere that is not the basement.

  3. Cleaning of a basement is really a messy thing. The water is contaminated and you need to have take precautions while draining out the water. The best option is installation of sump pump which automatically drain the water when the level of water is reached above the danger level.

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