If there's water in your basement, do this


January's unsually warm weather has produced some flooding. Some low lying areas that tradionally fill with water like Clio Park are wet right now. With more rain on the way Wednesday, it appears more than a few basements will flood. What should you do?

The manager of Gil Roys in Frankenmuth, John Bender has some advice. Bender has been in the hardware business more than 20 years. Bender says before you go down a basement with standing water, put on some rubber boots. That could prevent electrocution. If there's a problem with your sump pump, John says try moving it with a broom handle or something similar. He says sometimes sump pumps stick and the broom handle can dislodge things to get things moving again.

Bender says the motors on sump pumps can wear out. Replacing them isn't as easy as changing a light bulb, but it's something the above average handyman or woman should be able to tackle. If you hate the thought of replacing a sub pump, hire it out. You should be able to get a new one for less than 200 dollars.

Bender also suggests get a back up sump pump. If you have city water, they make ones that run on water pressure. If not, a battery back-up is most common. Both are for sale at home centers and hardware stores.

Here's more information than you ever wanted to know about flooded basements from the Washington Post.

-- Electrical risk: Before you enter a basement that has been flooded to several inches or more or above the outlet line, you need to turn off the power. If the circuit breaker box is out of reach in the basement, call an electrician.

-- Remove possessions from the flooded space as quickly as possible. Mold and mildew start to work their way in within hours. Rescue things in order of importance, financial or sentimental: family photos, tax records, artwork, computers, documents. Putting valuable or cherished papers in the freezer will stop mildew growth and deterioration until you can attend to them.

-- If you have less than a couple of inches of standing water, a wet vac usually can handle the job. For basements with deep water and no drains, you may need to call in a professional. Look in the Yellow Pages under Fire and Water Damage Restoration. Major companies include ServiceMaster ( ) and Servpro ( ).

-- As soon as possible, get air circulating. Turn on fans and a dehumidifier or two. Open doors, windows and closets. Keep the air conditioner running at a low temperature to pull additional moisture out of the room.

-- Deal with soaked flooring. Large rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting may have to be pulled up entirely; some can be wet vac-ed, then dried on a driveway or other outdoor area. Or get them cleaned as soon as possible to get rid of mold and odor. Wet padding should be discarded because it will start to rot and mildew and cannot be cleaned.

-- Vinyl tile, linoleum and other hard surfaces can be scrubbed with a solution of no more than one cup of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water (a ratio of 1 to 16). Never mix bleach with ammonia. Keep windows and doors open, and wear gloves and protective eyewear.