Disasters can occur without warning and leave a devastating impact on both life and property damage. However, natural disasters aren’t the only monster lurking around your house which can cause unfathomable damage to your home. Situations like water damage from within the house can be equally frustrating and require a tiring restoration process. Fortunately, we’ve come to your rescue with our comprehensive yet easy-to-follow checklist that can help you cope with the aftermath of water damage and flooding. You can use the following guidelines to prepare your house for a good cleanup.
- Look out for your safety first:
Before anything else, your first course of action should be to ensure your safety. You may want to dig right in and start the cleaning process, but that is highly discouraged. You can encounter several hazardous situations, from structural damage to contaminated water. Therefore, start your checklist by doing a safety check that includes checking for electrical damages, gas leaks, contaminated water, and fire hazards. Remember to shut off all gas and electrical systems. Finally, do not forget to wear protective gear such as protective goggles, gloves, waterproof footwear, and coveralls before starting cleanup.
- Flood insurance claims:
After ensuring that the area is secure for a cleanup, start working towards your insurance claim. Before starting the cleaning, contact the insurance claim adjuster and take photographs and videos of your house’s condition before cleanup. Gather evidence and records of all the damaged items and the expenses incurred during flooding and water damage. Wait until after the adjuster has looked at everything and has gathered all proof. Alongside the insurance claim, you can also call the experts to help you understand the restoration process. For the best water damages services, you should check out Water Damage Advisor, who are experts in disaster recovery and rebuilding your property after flooding and any type of water damage.
- Dry out mud, dirt, and water:
After documenting the damages, prepare for cleanup by pumping out the remaining standing water. You can use mops, dehumidifiers, and even a wet-dry vacuum to remove excess water from hard-to-reach areas. However, if the water is too much, you should use a pump, plastic tubs, or even buckets.
After removing water, move on to shoveling excess debris, dirt, and mud. Start drying out the place as soon as you get rid of mud and dirt to avoid mildew and mold growth. If it’s possible to get electricity back on soon, you can use central air conditioning to get rid of the humidity. However, if that’s not an option, you should use floor fans and dehumidifiers to accelerate the drying process.
- Remove damaged items:
Start with the damage control process as you are cleaning and drying. Access every area and everything in it as you are drying out the space to throw out anything that’s contaminated or damaged. Remember to discard any beverage or food item that has come in contact with flood water or is rusted and pitted.
As hard as it can be, it’s best to throw out anything that’s damaged or soaked, especially electrical appliances. If you want to salvage things, make sure they are completely dried out first and safe to use. Unfortunately, when it comes to upholstered furniture, they should be tossed out too due to the risk of mold, but it also depends on how deep the water stands in the house.
- Beware of trapped moisture:
Mold is a nightmare, especially if it has already started to grow. It may seem from the outside that everything is dry, but trapped moisture is mostly an unseen culprit which poses a greater risk of damage even after restoration. Therefore, it would help to keep a humidity meter around when you are cleaning and drying out after water damage.
You should inhibit mold growth by aiming for 30 to 50% humidity while keeping tabs on the levels throughout the house. Let the air circulate as much as possible through ceiling fans, dehumidifiers, floor fans, and air conditioning. It’s also best to inspect wooden furniture for possible signs of dampness before putting them back in a clean house.
- Remove flooring and damaged drywall:
It’s often almost impossible to salvage carpeted floors after flooding, while the same can be said for solid wood, vinyl, dry, and laminate floors. Silt and moisture can collect underneath the floors and cause the uncontrollable growth of mold and bacteria. It’s best to tear and toss damaged flooring as it can cause damage to the subfloor.
You should also take a look at your walls while you are cleaning out the flooring. Your walls can house moisture, especially if your house has sustained more than 10-feet of water damage. If you have drywall, it’s best to remove them completely or cut them about 15 to 24-inches above the visible water line. Finally, you should wait two to three days for the walls and the floors to completely dry up before sealing them.
Damages sustained after flooding are extremely challenging for many. However, the only way forward is to salvage and restore what you can. Even though the restoration process after water damage can be hefty, you can ensure that you are stepping into a water and mold-free house with a proper checklist. So, take pointers from the above list and take a step towards rebuilding your home today.