Flooded House Cleanup: The Guide
Here's the scenario: You and your family leave town for the weekend to visit family and relax. But, on your way home you get a call from your neighbor. "You know that big storm that was supposed to come through? The creek behind your house overflowed and now your house is flooded..."
A call like this can throw any sense of relaxation out the window in a moment's notice - and around 14,000 people in the United States experience a water damage situation like this every day.
Whether your flood damage is caused by hurricanes, tropical storms, broken pipes or even faulty appliances - the situation can quickly become overwhelming. But, that's why we've put together a guide on how to get your flooded home back to normal.
If you need emergency house flood cleanup services, call SERVPRO of Greater Hunterdon County 24/7 - 908-788-8770
The Guide To Cleaning Up Your Flooded House
Think: Safety First!
The CDC recommends to protect yourself from exposure to floodwater regardless of the source of contamination. Flood water may contain downed power lines, human or animal waste, hazardous chemicals, sharp or large objects, and even animals like rats or snakes. Being exposed to these dangers or contaminates can cause infections, skins rashes, gastrointestinal issues, tetanus, or physical harm. If you must enter flood water, wear proper protective gear, such as rain boots, chest waders, and gloves.
When major flooding hits your home, you should also be sure to turn off the electrical power and gas to avoid electrocution or explosions. If your fuse box is in a flooded area or you're not sure where it is, call an electrician for help. Be sure to not use any electric tools or appliances while standing in flood water.
Be sure that your home is also structurally sound before going in after a major flooding event. Look for signs of structural damages, such as buckling walls or floors, cracks in foundations, or any other signs that a structure in the home may collapse.
Find and stop the source of water.
Obviously, the faster you're able to stop water from entering your home, the easier your clean up efforts will be. If flooding is due to a faulty appliance or a burst pipe, the best step to take is immediately turning the water off in your home.
When house flooding is due to natural disasters like hurricanes, there is sometimes a period where you just have to wait the storm out before anything can be done. This is because as long as it continues to rain and flood waters rise, water will continue to enter your home. Sometimes the most you can do is make it easier for water to drain once rains have stopped.
Contact your insurance company to file a claim.
There are many kinds of house floods that are covered by your standard homeowner's insurance policy, including flooding from broken pipes, faulty appliances, ice dams, sewer lines backing up, or storm drains overflowing. Flood insurance does get spotty, and to be covered by flooding from heavy rains or rivers you may need supplemental coverage.
If you're unsure if your house flood will be covered by your insurance claim, a Project Manager from SERVPRO of Greater Hunterdon County can come out and help review your policy, let you know if damages will be covered, and even help you file your claim correctly.
You should also be sure to document your damages for the insurance company. Take photos of everything to be correctly reimbursed for non salvageable items and the flood damage to your home.
Remove standing water as fast as possible.
Time is of the essence when it comes to removing water from your home to prevent mold growth. If your home has been flooded for a few days, you can expect the growth of mold. Mold will begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours after flooding or water damage occurs if moisture is not handled quickly and properly.
If water isn't too high, you can try and get some up with a wet dry vacuum yourself or use a portable sump pump to remove water. In major flooding situations, it is not likely that you will be able to get rid of feet of water in your home. In these cases you can sometimes call the Fire Department, but you can also call a flood cleanup company to pump the water out.
Make sure your home is completely dried out.
This step is extremely important to prevent the growth of mold or mildew as well as structural deterioration in your home. To ensure your home is completely and properly dried out, you must be sure to get all the "hidden" water out of your home.
"Hidden" water can be behind walls, under floors or tile, or even in light fixtures. To get to these sources of moisture to dry them, you usually have to take the trim off walls and make flood cuts to the drywall so the interior of the wall is able to dry. Flood cuts depend on the amount of water that flooded your home.
You may also need to remove tiles, carpeting, or other types of flooring to get down to the subfloor and make sure that it will also be dried. If water has reached the subfloor, it is very important to dry it out to ensure structural issues do not appear over time.
After making any needed flood cuts to walls or ceilings and taking up wet flooring, you should set up fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from affected areas. Household fans and dehumidifiers are usually not sufficient to dry a home after major flooding. In that case, call a restoration company that uses commercial grade air movers and dehumidifiers. Many times you can also rent similar equipment at hardware stores.
Clean and disinfect flood affected areas.
You want to clean up any left behind debris, dirt, or other residue from the walls and floors of your home. Depending on the source of the flood water, this step may be even more essential to keep your home healthy.
You also need to sanitize after your house floods to help prevent mold growth. Sanitizing after flooding helps to kill mold spores and prevents them from thriving and spreading in the moist environment.
Restore and rebuild.
Once your home has been properly cleaned and remediated, you are able to move on to restoration and rebuilding. Areas where flood cuts were performed, ceilings taken out, or where flooring has been removed will need to be reconstructed and painted once again. Hopefully by now insurance will have also paid you out to restore or purchase any items that were not able to be saved from flooding.
House Floods Can Be Overwhelming.
The whirlwind of emotions that can follow even a minor flooding event in your home can many times be overwhelming for even the most prepared homeowners. After all, who is really prepared to lose all their belongings in a flood?
SERVPRO of Greater Hunterdon County is Here to Help after you home floods.
As a professional storm damage and flood cleanup company, we have the experience and resources needed to restore your home to pre-damage conditions even after a major disaster. We accept all insurance carriers, provide free estimates, and will guide you through the entire restoration process to put your mind at ease.