Whether or not you believe in global warming, the possibility of your home flooding has increased in recent years. Tropical storms, hurricanes, coastal floods, and rivers bursting their banks are regular items on news reports.
Flooding happens quickly. It can be caused by natural disasters, nails hammered into pipes, leaking roofs, or overflowing baths. Whatever the cause, the water damage cleanup is likely to take a lot longer than the flood took to obliterate your cherished belongings.
Rainwater, river floods and sewage can be devastating. Water damage costs can run into thousands of dollars, though the sooner you begin the cleanup the less it is likely to cost. Below you’ll find my top seven water damage cleanup tips, plus three tips to prevent water damage from flooding.
1. Think safety first
If you hurt yourself during the cleanup, then you could find yourself with a large healthcare bill as well as a costly cleanup.
- Make sure that electric power to your home is switched off.
- Check for gas leaks.
- Always wear protective clothes (goggles, gloves, masks) and wash hands with disinfectant after working in flood situations – floodwater is often contaminated with sewage.
2. Before the cleanup, document the damage
Take photographs and videos, and make written notes of the damage (smell and feel is difficult to identify on photographic evidence). This will be vital when making an insurance claim.
3. Stop the flooding getting worse
You may need to protect your home from any damage getting worse by making temporary repairs to roofs, windows and doors.
4. Remove damaged items from top to bottom
Starting in the attic space, remove any wet and damaged items. Pay particular attention to insulation (it acts like a sponge, and will retain water for months as well as becoming ineffective). You need to start removing dampness that could damage the fabric of your home, and ruin the wood, masonry, drywall, and metal structure of your property.
5. Inspect everything as you go
As you move from one room to another, take care to inspect all your walls and ceilings. Bulges in ceilings should be popped and drained. You may need to remove drywall, unless you are able to repair water damaged wall blistering.
6. Pump out the water
Once you’re down to ground (or basement) level and have removed all water damaged items that you can, you’ll need to pump the water from your home. If you have a basement and the water has collected there, you will probably need to get professional help. It’s a long job, usually taking several days to pump out to avoid creating structural damage.
7. Clean your home effectively
Now that you’ve removed all damaged items and pumped out the floodwater, you can start on the deep clean. Remove carpets, and clean floors and walls with disinfectant. When we undertake such a cleanup, we’ll use professional fluids and solutions – you might try doing the job using a solution of bleach.
If the flooding and water damage is particularly severe, you will probably need know how to repair water damaged walls without causing more damage. You’ll almost certainly have to remove and replace wooden or tiled floors, too.
Three tips to limit flood damage
A flood can happen at any time. To limit the damage, especially to personal belongings that may be irreplaceable, here are three things to do today:
- Clean out your basement, putting anything that can be recycled in the recycle bin. This will make a lot less work if the unimaginable does happen.
- Put all valuables and sentimental items in plastic storage bins. This removes clutter, and keeps items dry and safe, especially if you put the bins up high.
- Ignore the floor and low shelves for storage. Put your photos, ornaments, books, computers, and other electrical equipment on high shelving. This should save them from the worst of any flooding.
So, there are my ten best water damage cleanup tips. But here’s a bonus tip for you: When you’re drying your home out after a flood, you should ensure that the air is circulating well. An effective cleanup and dry-out takes time; it can’t be rushed. If you dry your home out too quickly by overuse of heaters and air conditioners, you could cause expensive structural damage.
Cleaning up water damage, especially after a flood, can be emotionally and physically draining. If you’re not sure how to do it or you haven’t got the right equipment, then the quicker you call the professionals the cheaper and faster the cleanup will be.
We’re available 24/7. No job is too large or too small – contact Porter’s today and we’ll be pleased to give advice and a free quote.