My tenant and I were both away during the Monsoon rain we had this month. My two-family house had a basement full of water. Since we were away, we had no opportunity to do anything. The water has receded. (There is a drain in the basement floor) The water mark is about four feet from the floor. The boilers and the hot water heaters were half submerged. The electric panel box was not wet as it is above where the water level was. However, several breakers were tripped. Where do I begin? My tenant and I are staying with relatives, and we really want to return to our homes.

Mac says: First let me express sympathy to you and your tenant. This is a horrible experience especially since it was in an area that to my knowledge had never flooded before. Before you do anything, contact your insurance company to find out where they fit into this problem. Depending on what they will do, you will have to make certain decisions.

After that, I would check with the neighbors and find what they needed to do. Try to find ones that had the same amount of water, so you can compare apples to apples. Regardless of what your insurance company says, you will have to address the following: Ventilate the basement. Put all the windows wide open, install a strong fan in one of them. Try to determine if mold has formed. If you are not sure, call a professional. Mold can cause allergic reactions.

Line up a plumber and an electrician to come and check you power and appliances after you have spoken to you insurance company. After the basement is ventilated and appears dry. You can assess what has to be thrown out and what can be saved. You may need an expert to help you determine this. It would not be a bad idea to ventilate the rest of the house also. Make sure you have stops on the first floor windows so they only open 4 to 6 inches, since the house is empty. Also, make sure any other vulnerable doors and windows are secure. For example those that open onto porches and fire escapes etc. Between the neighbors and the insurance company you should have enough information to proceed. You might also talk to city officials to find out if the city has any requirements that you must meet.

I am sure after all the heavy rains we had, that those of you who did not check you roof drains and gutters will do so now!! Check them after any day when it has been WINDY, leaves can blow a long distance, so even if there is no tree hanging over your houses, you could still have leaves clogging the drains.