One of the toughest jobs a homeowner can do is clean up after a flood. Depending on the severity of the flood, you could end up with a monumental task that might warrant the need to rely on flood remediation services. For floods with smaller magnitudes, like those caused by leaking taps in the kitchen, it is easy to bring the situation under control without necessarily calling for expert help.
Regardless of the source, however, you should always be ready and know what steps you ought to take should you be faced with a flooding situation at home or your place of work. Read below for a detailed checklist for flood cleanup that will see you successfully navigate through any flooding situation and restore normalcy as soon as possible.
The safety of you and your loved ones should be prioritized when dealing with flooding at home. If the flooding happens when you are at home and you have no way of stopping it, you must evacuate to a safe place and get out of harm’s way.
If you come back to a flooded home, switch off all the electronics and shut off the power supply from the main panel. If the level of the floods has risen above the outlets, then it is likely that the flood waters are already carrying live currents.
In such a case, the best course of action is to call for an electrician to come and help in securing the home. Also, don’t attempt to get into the flooded area without the right safety gear.
Locate the source of the flooding
Flooding may occur for a number of reasons. The source will usually determine both the extent of its effects, and how fast you can remediate them. Some of the reasons why you may experience flooding in your home include-:
- Defective basement windows that need to be replaced
- Water dripping from old and faulty roofs
- Defective sump pumps in the basement and other rooms
- Drainage problems such as clogged sewers
- Water seepage into the rooms through window wells
- Cracks in the foundation that expose rooms to underground water
- Excessive snow, rain, or storms
Not all the above sources of flooding may be apparent to you at the time of the flooding. However, if you can tell where the water is coming from, you should make every attempt to stop it.
If you don’t have the capability of stopping the water from the source to prevent further flooding, then be sure to call for emergency restoration services immediately.
Call your insurance company
Once you are safe, and you have made every attempt to stop the flooding, the next step is to get in touch with your home insurance provider. Depending on your plan, some or all of the damages occasioned by the flooding may be covered by the insurance.
The company will send an agent to come and assess the damage for the purposes of calculating the compensation. While you wait for the agent, be sure to document the damages, either through videos or photos so that the agent can get a clear picture of what happened.
Start the initial cleanup
It is vital that you remove water quickly if you want to mitigate some of the damages occasioned by flooding in your home or at your place of work. The more the water stays in the rooms, the more damage it will cause.
If the flooding was not severe and the water levels are not high enough to prevent the use of normal household items to get rid of it, then you should start removing the water as soon as possible. If you are dealing with too much flood water, then the best thing that you can do is call for water restoration experts to come and help you as soon as possible. They have the machinery, skill, and equipment to quickly and efficiently get rid of the flood waters.
Sort through the damaged materials
Go through your possessions and sort them out depending on what can be salvaged and what is completely destroyed and beyond salvaging. For items such as rags, mats, and carpets, be sure to take them to a dry and well-aerated place so that the drying process can start. Also, evacuate all the submerged appliances to a safe and dry place. Don’t try to power any appliance on until you are certain that they are completely dry.
Dry up the space
One key to resuming the normal use of your space after a flooding event is to have it dried up as soon as possible. In the absence of a restoration company, after getting rid of the flood waters you should open all the doors and windows to allow plenty of air to circulate and to let moisture escape from the rooms to facilitate the drying process.
With the help of professional water damage restoration companies, however, the drying process will be faster since they have machines such as air scrubbers, air movers, and dehumidifiers that speed up the drying process.
Look out for mold
Mold and flooding go hand in hand. Your remediation efforts will never be complete if you don’t check your spaces for mold and ensure there is no propagation occurring. With flooding, wet, damp and dark conditions are likely to be created. These conditions allow mold to easily grow. Therefore, ensure proper drying of the spaces as the first step towards preventing mold propagation. And, since mold is dangerous, it is highly recommended that you call for experts for a thorough inspection and removal of any detected mold.
Replace and restore
The last step during flood cleanup is to replace and restore whatever might have been damaged by the floods. Items such as furniture and appliances should be carefully checked for damage before you start using them again.
If the flooding caused structural damage, then you need to rely on experts with the skills to properly do the restoration work. It is always a good idea to have experts inspect your house for structural flaws following a flooding event before you resume normal occupancy of the house.