If your basement is flooded, don't be in a hurry to pump it out. Here's why.
Water in the ground outside your house is applying a high force against the outside of your basement walls. But the water inside your basement is holding it back. If you drain your basement too soon, the pressure outside the walls will be greater than the pressure inside the walls - and that may make the walls and floor crack and collapse, making your home totally unlivable.
To avoid this situation, follow these steps when you begin pumping the water out of your basement:
1. Never go into a basement that has water standing in it unless you are absolutely certain the electricity is disconnected from outside the house - when in doubt call the electric company to disconnect the power at the meter. If the power is off due to a local power outage it may come back on when you are standing in the water in the basement and send you into orbit!
2. When the floodwaters have receeded, you can start pumping the water out of the basement. Don't use gasoline-powered pumps or generators indoors because gasoline engines create deadly carbon monoxide exhaust fumes. Set the pump outside the house and use a hard suction line to get to the water in the basement or set the generator outside and run the wire to the electric pump in the basement.
3. Pump the water level down no more than 2 to 3 feet. Mark the level and wait for eight hours.
4. If the water comes back to the mark in 8 hours (it covered your mark), it's still too early to drain your basement - there is still a lot of water outside the wall. Wait 24 hours. Then pump the water down 2 to 3 feet again. Check the level the next day.
5. When the water stops going back up, pump down another 2 to 3 feet and wait another 8 hours. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all water is pumped out of the basement.
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