How to handle basement flooding

Posted: March 10, 2011

Anyone worried about basement flooding might find useful some tips from New Jersey utility PSE&G.

Customers of other gas and electric providers should contact their utility company as needed.

Peco, which serves Southeastern Pennsylvania, can be reached for non-emergencies at 1-800-494-4000 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday), or for emergencies, including outages, at 1-800-841-4141 round-the-clock. Online reporting, including through mobile devices, is available through

PSE&G serves a band of communities from Gloucester County to the state's northernmost counties.

Here are PSE&G's tips:

Flooded basements:

If customers lose electricity and their basement is flooded, notify PSE&G at 1-800-436-PSEG and call the local fire department to have the basement pumped.

If water gets up to the height of the gas burner on a water heater or gas heater, customers can shut off the supply of gas to the unit if they know how.

They must call PSE&G to have the gas supply turned back on because pilot lights must be lit. PSE&G will determine whether any gas controls were under water and must be replaced. If so, PSE&G would not complete the turn-on and would issue a violation tag.

Scan for hazards before entering a basement that has been flooded:

Use extreme caution; expect floors and stairs to be oily and slippery.

Don't go into basements with standing water, raw sewage or obvious electric hazards.

Stay away from the breaker box if it's in a flooded basement. Don't go into a flooded basement if energized wires are present.

Stay out of buildings that remain in the floodwaters.

Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage.

Call your local fire department to pump out the flooded basement or ask them for instructions on how to do it in a way that will prevent structural damage.

Customers should call PSE&G immediately if they smell gas 1-800-436-PSEG.

Restoring electric or gas service after flooding:

Verify with your town that your home/building can be occupied safely.

Flooded areas of the home/building must be cleared of water.

After water has been cleared, contact your town to perform an inspection. Inspections will be performed on an individual basis.

If the inspector finds damage to the meter box or gas appliances, you must have a contractor make repairs.

Following any repairs by your contractor, contact the town in order to obtain a re-inspection.

Once the home/building has passed inspection, the town will contact PSE&G to restore service.