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Water in your basement? Here's what you should do next

Experts say you have about 72 hours after getting water before mold starts to grow.

MINNEAPOLIS — When water comes into your home, it can be tough deciding what to keep and what needs to be thrown. 

Tim Labey, owner of Restoration Professionals, says you have about 72 hours after getting water before mold starts to grow. 

Here's his advice for saving as much of your basement as you can.

1. Be safe: If there is standing water in your basement, call an electrician first. Walking in the water could get you electrocuted. 

2. Furniture: If you can't get your furniture out of your basement, prop it up.

"Water wicks up into furniture and can ruin it," said Labey, "So, you want to put the furniture on blocks, or wood, or plastic."

3. Carpet: No matter how much water you got, Labey says you need to get rid of your carpet pad. But you should be able to keep your carpet, as long as you clean it properly. 

"We can save carpets, for the most part," he said, "We have to treat them with antimicrobials and then we need to clean the carpets."

He says that should be done professionally and after drying it for at least three days with a method called "floating" or pulling the carpet over the fan. 

"We clip the carpet and we float the carpet," Labey said, "The pad is already removed, so we're trying to save your carpet with the fans and [dehumidifier]."

4. Dry wall: Labey says you can save dry wall that isn't saturated by drilling holes at the base of the wall. 

"What we're going to do is drill holes in each cavity to get air movement in so we can again salvage this drywall here," he explained. 

Even then, Labey says there is no DIY way to know for sure your basement is dry and mold free. For that, he recommends calling a pro. 

5. Documents: If you can't air dry them within two days, the National Archives recommends freezing them. That should prevent mold from growing and preserve the information on them. You can find more information about how to save documents and pictures from flooding on the National Archives website

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