How To Pump Water Out Of Basement Fast & Effectively

By BSMT Waterproofing •  Updated: 02/14/24 •  10 min read

A flooded basement seems like the end of the world.  Dramatic thoughts race through your mind, your stomach tightens and you are prone to panic.  It is in these pressure-packed moments of life that diamonds are made.

Think quickly, act decisively and you’ll return your basement to normal sooner than expected.

Here’s how to do it.

Flooded basement that needs the water pumped out

Your Basement is Flooded: Now What?

The most important thing you can do after learning your basement is flooded is remain calm.  Develop a plan of action and focus on executing it.  Begin by making the basement as safe as possible.

Turn off the basement’s electricity to prevent electrocution when addressing the water accumulation.  However, reaching the circuit breaker box might be challenging if it is not on the first floor.

A circuit breaker box located in the basement is problematic as water conducts electricity that can cause electrocution.  Use a pump to remove the basement water or eliminate enough water so you can reach the basement circuit breaker without moving through knee-high water.  If you use a pump to eliminate water for breaker access, keep the power cord and extension cord far away from the water to prevent electrocution.

If you are even slightly hesitant to use a pump to remove water to obtain access to the basement circuit panel, reach out to the power company so they can turn off the power to the entire house in one fell swoop.  The power company can turn off the power remotely or directly, ultimately safeguarding your health and wellbeing.

Be mindful of your footwear when entering the basement.  If you have large waterproof boots similar to those used for flyfishing or other outdoor activities, put them on before wading over to the circuit breaker.

Don protective goggles, gloves and two layers of pants or even a snowsuit or wetsuit.  The more layers and gear you wear, the better protected you’ll be against the dirty water, bacteria and other gunk.

Identify the cause of the water to determine if it is still flowing or stopped.  If water is still moving inward, do not attempt to remove it as the effort will be in vain.  There is a chance that the cause of the flood is a torrential downpour that causes flooding around the home.  Wait until the rainwater dissipates or slows to address the buildup in the basement.

The next step is to open the basement windows to allow an influx of fresh air to move inside for sufficient ventilation.  Add a fan to hasten the drying process while pumping the water out of the basement.

How to Remove Water With a Pump

If you have a water pump in the house, you are in a good position to remove the water with efficiency.  However, you might not be sure as to what type of pump it is and how to use it.

Instead of jumping right in without a strategic approach, print out this handy guide to basement water pumping including a look at the many different types of water pumps.

The Different Types of Pumps and How to use Them: Electric Submersible

Electric submersible pumps are exactly as they sound in that they are submerged beneath the water to remove the excess water from the basement.  However, homeowners should be aware that there are different discharge sizes that differ by pump horsepower.

Submersible pumps are designed to fit inside a shell that prevents water from moving inward.  This type of pump has a fully-sealed electrical cord along with a fitting for connectivity to a sump or garden hose.  The more sizable the hose is, the faster it will eliminate water.  A generator along with a heavy-duty extension cord will be necessary for operation.

Moreover, electric submersible pumps are unique from other pump types as they rely on discharge hoses for functionality.  The pump’s bottom is used to suction water.

Electric submersible pumps also have legs that keep it elevated above the ground to ensure water can be pulled up through suction.  However, if the water is greater than a couple feet in depth, you’ll have to use a rope to move the pump down into the water.

The Trash Pump

If your basement has a significant amount of water, use the trash pump to pump it out.  Trash pumps are capable of pumping several hundreds or even several thousands of gallons of water in a single hour or less.

You’ll need a couple hoses to use the trash pump.  The initial hose is of the solid variety.  Connect the hose to the trash pump’s bottom suction part that pulls water out of the basement.

The second hose is a flexible roll-out style hose, also known as a discharge hose, available in varying lengths.  The length of the roll-out hose optimal for your basement differs based on the distance necessary for pumping water.  The discharge hose is attached to the pump side.

The Utility Pump

If you have a small utility pump, use it with a couple garden hoses to eliminate water with efficiency.  Though utility pumps do not remove nearly as much water as other types of pumps, it will gradually eliminate most basement water.

The Hand Crank Pump

It wasn’t long ago when hand crank pumps were the primary type of pump used to eliminate water from flooded basements.  If you don’t own a more advance pump or if the power is out due to harsh weather, break out the trusty old hand crank pump and embrace the challenge of water removal in the traditional way.  However, crank pumps are laborious, meaning they are optimal for flooding of only a couple inches or less.

The Pool Pump

Homeowners with swimming pools have the option of using a pool pump.  Swimming pool pumps are not as fast as some other pumps yet they are functional.  You’ll need a plastic impeller along with a strainer basket.  Be mindful of the positioning of the hose’s suction end to ensure you don’t pull out debris that causes a clogging of the impeller.

It will be necessary to prime the pump similar to priming the trash pump.  Connect the pool hose for suction along with discharge.  Check the connected strainer basket several times while pumping to see if it requires emptying.

How to Remove Water Without a Pump

There is a good chance that you do not have a pump in the home simply because most home basements do not flood at a frequency that is high enough to justify the use of a pump.  Though it is possible to use a large bucket to scoop out bucketfuls of water, doing so would take too long.

Let’s take a quick look at the different strategies available to homeowners who do not own a pump.

Wet/Dry Vacuum

If the house still has electricity and the sump pump is no longer functional, use a wet/dry vacuum.  Wet/dry vacuums work best when the basement has a couple inches of water.  This type of vacuum redirects water to a tank.  However, most such tanks max out at five gallons.

Plug the wet/dry vacuum into an outlet away from the water and begin sucking up water.  Move across the entirety of the flooded basement until you reach the sump pump pit, ensuring all of the water is eliminated.

The wet/dry vacuum works quickly, setting the stage for prompt drying using a dehumidifier or fan.  Ideally, you’ll use industrial strength fans from a local home improvement store for rapid drying.

A Good Old-Fashioned Mop

A basement with minimal flooding can be addressed with a mop.  Use your household mop along with a bucket to soak up the water from the floor.  Pour the bucket water in the backyard far away from the home’s perimeter.  If you dump the buckets too close to the home’s perimeter, the water will eventually move back toward the walls and possibly make its way into the basement.

If there is a significant amount of water, a mop will become inundated and make little-to-no difference.  In such a situation, use a bucket to remove the water then mop up the leftover water.

Use a Generator

Home generators are expensive and require fuel yet they have the potential to be a lifesaver.  If you own a generator, put it to use after your basement floods.  A generator is optimal for such a situation, especially if the electricity is out and the sump pump is rendered non-functional.  Hook up the hoses for intake and outflow.  Guide the intake hose down to the basement and turn on the motor.

Your home’s generator can power the sump pump to facilitate a quick and thorough draining.  It is also possible to use the sump pump to provide power for the wet vacuum.  As long as the generator has sufficient fuel, is fully charged, oiled and well-maintained, it should function to perfection during this emergency.  You can also use the generator to power the aforementioned wet vacuum.

The Sump Pump

If the house has electricity, the sump pump will function.  A home without power can also gradually dry out using a sump pump with a battery backup.  However, the problem with sump pumps is that they operate slowly.

A portable pump of the submersible variety will speed up the water elimination process, especially if it has a screen that ensures the intake does not clog.  Some such pumps eliminate 4,000+ gallons of water in an hour.

Tips to Prevent Future Basement Flooding

Now that the water has been removed from the basement and the space is drying, it is time to shift your attention to preventing this nightmare scenario from occurring in the future.  This is where basement waterproofing comes in. Waterproofing your basement will help you and your loved ones sleep soundly.  Rely on a professional for comprehensive waterproofing and you’ll enjoy an invaluable peace of mind.

If the windows have gaps, cracks, unsealed portions or other flaws, repair or replace them.  Cracks in basement walls should also be filled by a professional to prevent water from moving inward.  Moreover, if the basement foundation is flawed, lean on a professional for prompt and reliable repair.

If your furnace, air conditioning unit, washer, dryer and other plugged-in or valuable appliances are not elevated at least a couple inches off the basement floor, use bricks, wood or other forms of support to raise them.  This way, if the basement floods, the water won’t compromise your valuable appliances.

Don’t forget to eliminate the basement carpet, boxes and other water-logged items that cannot be salvaged.  Otherwise, mold will grow to the point that it poses a threat to your health.  Take a close look at the walls to gauge the level of water exposure.  Hire a professional to rip out the insulation or drywall a full foot higher than the water mark for the safest possible basement.

Professional Waterproofing Done Right

You shouldn’t have to panic, lose sleep and frantically pump water out of your basement when there is heavy rain.  Waterproof your basement and you’ll rest easy knowing you’ve done your part to prevent costly and frustrating water damage.

Our professional waterproofers are here to get the job done right on the first try.  Give us a call, email us, or fill out our service form to get a quote for basement waterproofing.

Share this post with your friends using these one-click sharing options:

👉 Click here to share on Facebook.
👉 Click here to share on Twitter.
👉 Click here to share on LinkedIn.