Experiencing a flood on your property can be one of the most destructive forms of natural disasters, depending on the level of water and the type of surfaces affected. Not only building materials but personal items can become ruined if they are not dried out right away.
But what make floodwaters the most destructive is that they often carry hazardous substances, such as sewage waste, sharp objects, insects, and other chemicals to cause additional destruction among building materials and personal items. But despite this severe damage, there is much work to be done when cleaning up after a flood.
Follow these steps on what to do when cleaning up after a flood:
- Electrical system. The most important step before re-entering the home is to ensure that the power is turned off.
- To prevent severe injuries, leave it off until everything has been fully dried out – including appliances, wiring, outlets, the entrance panel, circuit breakers, junction boxes, fuses, etc. – and your property has been professionally inspected and cleared by a licensed electrician.
- Call insurance company. Call your insurance company immediately after ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones. But in order for them to fund the restoration of your home or building, they must inspect the damage and collect all evidence before any repair work can begin.
- Emergency Flood Cleanup. To prevent the affected surfaces from sustaining permanent damage, call a professional flood cleanup company right away.
- Be prepared to provide your insurance information.
- Describe to them how the problem occurred, the extent of the damage, the rooms affected, the dimensions of the affected areas, and any personal items that were damaged during the flood.
- Sewage system. If the sewage system has overflowed and the water has contaminated your personal items and building materials, do not touch any contaminated surfaces.
- To protect your safety and health, allow a team of sewage cleanup professionals to extract the water and dry out the affected materials.
- Dry out the floors. Depending on the type of flooring you have installed, the drying time may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. For porous surfaces, such as carpeting, wood floors, and linoleum, they will quickly need to be dried to avoid sustaining permanent damage.
- Carpeting. If the carpeting or rugs can be easily removed, don’t hesitate to do so to accelerate the drying process. If it has had any contact with sewage waste water, it must be thrown away for health and safety precautions. For any carpeting that cannot be easily removed, it is best to wait for the water damage cleanup professionals to dry it out thoroughly. For now, try to extract as much water as possible while drying out the wet fabric with an area fan.
- Wood floors. Unlike carpeting, wood floors should be dried slowly in order to avoid splitting and cracking. But if additional damage occurs during the drying process, make sure that the material is fully dried and sanitized before making any repairs. Also be sure to look out for signs of mold growth at any time during the drying process.
- Vinyl and tile flooring. Because these surfaces are not porous, drying and cleaning them will be much easier compared to wood and carpet flooring. But keep in mind that the subfloor underneath may be wet, so the vinyl or tile flooring may need to be removed temporarily to allow for more efficient drying.
- Walls and ceilings. Because drywall and concrete are extremely porous, they will soak up the water like a sponge, quickly becoming ruined without quick action.
- Try to ventilate the area as much as possible and remove the moisture in the air. This will lower the risk of mold growth and mildew.
- The water restoration professionals will to cut out all soiled materials and install replacements.
- Roof. Taking care of the roof right away will prevent additional damage caused by rain and other debris.
- Find and patch any holes to prevent rainwater from seeping in.
- Remove any leaves, debris, or snow that may be clogging the gutters or downspouts, causing water to spill into the foundation.
- Furniture. If you have a clean dry area outside to move your furniture, take them out to remove any caked mud, dirt, and debris from the fabric.
- Any flooded padding will need to be thrown out.
- Take out any pieces, such as drawers, cushions, pillows, etc. to allow for more efficient drying.
- Lay down an old blanket on the ground out of direct sunlight, placing each wet piece of furniture to dry out thoroughly (keeping them out of the sun will prevent them from warping).
- Prevent mold. The risk of mold growth will be much higher during the drying process as large amounts of moisture will provide the perfect conditions for the fungus to thrive.
- As long as it is safe to turn the power back on, run your dehumidifier and air conditioning unit to lower the humidity level.
- Leave all cabinets and drawers open to allow them to air out faster.
- When taking showers, turn on the bathroom fan beforehand to quickly remove the steam from the air.
- If you do spot any mold during the drying process, don’t hesitate to call a mold remediation professional.
Choosing a Restoration Professional
When your home or building has been completely flooded, choosing a local restoration company that will extract the water and dry out the affected materials quickly is imperative. When searching, the company should be licensed, experienced, be available 24/7, and respond right away to start the restoration process. Settling for anything less can mean higher costs and extra time during the repair process.
But ServiceMaster of North Texas handles emergency situations everyday as they consider all flooded properties emergency projects. Our technicians are not only licensed and experienced, they undergo frequent training to remain updated on all of the latest restoration equipment and trends of the industry.