Not every flood is caused by a rainstorm. Rather, a nearby river may overflow, your home’s sewer system gets backed up, a sump-pump malfunctions or pipes burst. In all cases, your home can end with up anywhere from a few inches to a few feet of water covering the basement floor. You wonder what you can do to get it out before your belongings become water-damaged and covered in mold.
In the instance of home flooding, consider the following tips.
1. Make Sure Your Home Is Safe
If the flood forced you to temporarily leave the area, make sure the structure is safe to reenter before going back inside. According to FEMA, signs your property is less than sound include:
- Visible structural issues, such as a loose, cracked or warped foundation or holes.
- Damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines. Use a flashlight to find and turn off all water and electrical sources and contact the utility company to repair any issues. Otherwise, the mix of standing water and electricity could result in an electrocution accident.
2. Start an Insurance Claim
It’s important to do this right away and document the full extent of the damage, including water levels and items affected. Take a combination of digital photos and video before you pump out the water, remove any items or make repairs to your home. Otherwise, your home might not look that bad in the eyes of an insurance adjuster.
At the same time, determine the source of the flood. Most homeowner’s policies do not cover groundwater flood damage but will factor in other sources. In response, know which incidents your policy includes and how much it will cover for repairs and replacement costs. Once you understand this, inform your insurance representative of the current state of your home and which repairs need to be done right away. Throughout the incident, continue to document all repairs and damage.
3. Keep the Damage From Getting Worse
Depending on where you live, this could be easier said than done. The key is preventing additional water from entering the property. Especially if you’re recovering from a flood related to a hurricane or tropical storm, have the roof tarped and the windows boarded up, so more precipitation doesn’t accumulate.
4. Plan to Remove the Water
Water might not be the only issue you’re facing; sewage or harmful chemicals could be mixed in. As such, start to pump out the water right away and remove your belongings. Wade in with hip- or waist-high waterproof boots and cover your hands with waterproof gloves.
To remove the water, you may need to purchase or rent a sump pump and wet vac. Because of the weight, slowly take it out by bucket or pump. If you can, open a door or windows to allow fresh air to circulate. From here, start to dry out your home with an air conditioner, fan or dehumidifier. The latter is especially key in closed spaces, like a basement or crawl space, where air doesn’t circulate as easily.
At the same time, see what you can salvage:
- Any food that came in contact with the flood waters must be thrown out.
- Remove carpeting and bedding right away. Both can easily attract and turn into a growing place for mold. Generally, if it’s been wet for fewer than 48 hours, it’s considered salvageable.
- While rugs can be dried out and professionally cleaned, furniture isn’t as easy. Upholstery becomes quickly saturated and doesn’t dry out as quickly, so these items often need to be discarded.
As you bring items out of your home, document their current state – down to water damage and mold – and how much it will cost to replace.
As soon as everything is out and your home is dry, have it surveyed for possible repairs. Beyond the obvious places, water that seeped into the drywall may turn into a mold hazard. As such, someone may need to remove and replace portions of your home’s walls.
For less flood-prone areas, consider By Carrier’s communities in Central Connecticut. To take a tour of our custom homes, give us a call today.