The flooding in Nebraska and Iowa is devastating! It’s cereal and your heart goes out to all who been affected by the disaster. What should you do after your house floods? It depends on the type of flooding and damaged to your home. Some flooding is caused by sewer back-ups, burst water pipes, malfunctioning sump-pumps, heavy rains and like we have seen here, snow melt mixed with heavy rains and frozen grounds which has caused rivers and creeks to raise above there flood stages. No mater what the cause, taking care of the problem earlier will help reduce the amount of damage and will make clean-up and repairs easier.
The first step is SAFETY FIRST, in any major home disaster is to remain safe. Leave your home if the flooding is bad enough and make sure to stay safe when you can return to the home. Water and power do not mix so keep the power off until things are dried out. You should wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and gloves when you reenter the home. Remember, you will be dealing with the water itself and whatever else the water has been contaminated with.
STOPPING and REMOVING WATER is the next priority after safety. Depending on the amount of flood water in your home, your process might be deferent than someone else’s. You may need to bail water out with buckets and bins or use hoses to drain large amounts of water from your basement. As water begins to receding, you may be able to use a wet vacuum to suck remaining water and moisture from the home.
If you are successful in removing the standing water then DRYING OUT YOUR HOME is next. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry out the wet areas in the home. Dehumidifiers are also a big help in closed off spaces such as basements and crawl spaces. However, in the case of a major house flood, dehumidifiers are only the start to drying out the home. You are likely going to need multiple methods of action to completely dry out the home.
CALLING THE INSURANCE COMPANY should be high on your to do list. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at the damage and determine if it is covered loss. Repairs can be costly, but the insurance money will help get your home back in order faster with less burden on you. Document values of everything and take as many photo’s as possible before, during and after your clean up. These will help the adjuster assess the damage and correctly process your claim.
The water has receded, insurance company has been notified, it’s time to CLEAN-UP. You can call in a professional clean-up crew or else begin the work yourself. Determining what is salvageable and throwing away anything that is too damaged or no longer usable. Major flooding you will need to remove flooring, drywall and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in the home. Furniture and personal belongings will need to be dried out, cleaned or thrown away. Mold can develop in as little as 24 hours after a flood. The quicker you can remove items from water and begin drying them out, the safer and less likely they are to be lost to mold and mildew.
After clean-up is complete it’s time for REPAIRS. Hopefully your insurance company paid out for qualified damages and you can hire a contractor if needed for repairs in the home. If you are unsure about what steps you need for your home a qualified contractor can help direct you in the right direction or a ASHI Certified Home Inspector can evaluate the walls, floors and structure of the home to make sure those items have not been compromised.
Failure to completely clean up your home can lead to costly damage and health issues. Structural integrity of the home, electrical system, HVAC systems, ect. may all be compromised and need costly repairs if not properly cleaned and repaired. This damage may not show up for many months or years down the road. Feel free to contact Midlands Home Inspections with any questions or concerns you have about your home.