Soggy basements leave homeowners desperate for bailout assistance amid heavy rain

LEAWOOD, Kan. -- Johnson County has been soaked to the bone in recent days.

FOX4's weather team reported the metro has cleared 5 inches of rain since Saturday, which is well above average. That's left homeowners scrambling to get the water out of their cellars and to bail out their basements.

Restoration experts FOX4 spoke with Wednesday said the phone is the most powerful weapon we have. Telephones rang off the hook at companies like HL Restoration, where basement bailout professionals, including Jason Osborne, said this is not a time to do it yourself.

Thirteen days' worth of rain within the month of May have left the ground oversaturated with water. FOX4's Joe Lauria said the metro has seen 16.5 inches of rain since March, which is more than twice the amount from a year ago.

Osborne said his company's crews make an effort to respond to calls within 90 minutes.

In many cases, according to Osborne, carpet and padding are trashed since they're usually soaked and ruined, but basement floors that belong to frightened homeowners often remain intact. Osborne said many jobs don't require jackhammers and hardhats.

He added that a good rule of thumb is to allow three to five days of work to return the basement to normal.

"No one wakes up hoping they'll be able to call us," Osborne said Wednesday.

"Don't panic. Help will be on the way," Osborne said. "A lot of times, it's a homeowner's first experience with a water loss, a flooded basement. It's something they didn't anticipate."

However, some people complain that professional help is too expensive, and they opt to do the work themselves.

Customers have flocked to stores like the Ranch Mart Ace Hardware store, where John Townley works as an assistant manager.

"They go, 'I got a problem.' That's what we're here for," Townley said.

Townley said sumps pumps and wet-dry vacs have been popular items during this rainy period. Townley said Shop Vacs are useful for homes that don't often take on water. One smaller vacuum costs around $75.

"The Shop Vac is probably your best option if a flooded basement doesn't happen very often. You should probably have one anyway if this isn't an ongoing problem," Townley said.

Companies such as Lowe's and Home Depot offer some of these do-it-yourself devices for rental. However, Townley agreed with Osborne that basements that take on water more than once per year probably need professional attention.

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