If your home is flooded and you have to deal with water damage, then you may find yourself feeling rather confused and despondent. What should you do? Where should you start? Will you do more harm than good trying to dry things out? Here are a few tips.
1 – Wait for Advice if Flooding is Severe
If you have suffered very severe flooding after a natural disaster, or even just something like a burst main, take care before entering the property. If you have reason to believe that your electrics have been damaged, then you should not enter the water until you know that the electricity is off, for example. The same goes for gas. After a disaster that could have caused burst mains, you must be careful. It’s better to wait and have an expert tell you it is safe, than put your life at risk.
2 – Don’t Use Fuel Pumps Indoors
If you need to get a lot of water out of your basement, either do it by hand with buckets or use an electrical pump if you have one that can handle the water. Do not use a fuel-powered pump indoors. These pumps need proper ventilation, and running them in a small space could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
3 – Air Out What You Can
Things like wooden furniture, and even some soft furnishings, will air out over time and dry if they are left in direct sunlight – but take care with wood because it can sometimes warp after it has gotten damp.
Even electronics will dry out – and appliances may work if they were switched off when the flooding started and were not switched on again until they are bone dry. If items aren’t fragile, put them somewhere to dry them out quickly before mold takes hold.
4 – Photograph Everything
Before you start cleanup, make sure that you photograph everything, so that you can show it as evidence to your insurance company. They will want to know the extent of the damage so they can process your claim.
5 – Treat Water Like it is Toxic
Depending on the source of the water damage, you should treat the water in your home like it is toxic. Often, flood waters contain sewerage, so you really don’t want to be spending too much time wading around and touching things with your bare hands. Throw out any food that was exposed to water, and wash any clothing, bedding or soft furnishings that you plan on keeping. Anything that needs special handling should be tasked to a professional water damage restoration company.
You can do a lot of the cleanup work yourself. Once your home is dried out, you might want to buy a dehumidifier so that you can get rid of the water in areas that you cannot see. This will stop damp and rot from setting in, and keep your home a healthy and safe place to live in.
You may find that after a major flood you are contacted by companies that do water damage restoration. Be skeptical of these, because they are probably just preying on people who are going to be desperate for help. Rather than using a company that contacts you, get in touch with your insurance company and ask them for a list of approved companies.
Contact those companies individually and get your quotes, and then use whichever company you feel the most comfortable with. Don’t let the door-to-door companies rip you off or intimidate you with stories of dangerous buildings.