What to Do After Your Property Floods

Posted on October 11, 2018 in Building Maintenance

Property Floods

One of the most damaging and devastating things you can ever experience as a property owner is a flood. There are many causes of Property Floods including:

  • Heavy rains
  • Sewer back-up
  • Malfunctioning sump-pump
  • Burst pipes

No matter what the cause, you should still know what you should do if your property floods. Taking care of the problem earlier will help reduce the amount of damage after and will make clean-up and repair easier.

1. Safety First

The first step in any major property disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your property if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your property to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves–when you re-enter your home/business. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Be sure to never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is safest practice to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. Be sure to thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, and flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.

2. Stopping and Removing Water

One of the first things you should do when your house floods is stop the source of water coming in if at all possible. If your sump-pump is broken or malfunctioning, replacing it will help keep up with any continuing rains and may prevent further damage to your basement, garage or main floor.

If your flooded property was caused by a burst pipe, fix the plumbing as soon as possible to lessen water damage. The sooner you stop the water from coming in, the sooner you can get to cleaning up and repairing any damages.

After that, it’s time to remove the water. Depending on the level of flooding you have experienced or even the rooms in your property that have been affected, your process might change. You may need to bail water out using buckets and bins or use hoses to drain large amounts of water from your basement. As the water begins receding, you can use a wet vacuum to suck remaining bits of water and moisture from carpets and floors. If you’re lucky and the damage is minimal, you might be able to simply mop the mess up.

3. Drying Out Your Property

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your property, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your property.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your property and minimise the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a property flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your property.

4. Calling the Insurance Company

Your property insurance will vary depending on what policies you have, but many insurance companies cover flooding due to storms, backed-up sewers and storm drains, broken sump-pumps or burst pipes. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at and assess the damage and determine if it is a covered loss. If your losses and damages are covered, the sooner you call the insurance company, the sooner they will pay out. Repairs can become costly, but the insurance money will help get your home/business back in order quicker with less of a financial burden on you.

Your insurance company may not be able to send an adjuster right away, especially if your flooding is part of a larger weather event. Document values of everything and take as many photos as possible before, during, and after clean-up. This will help the adjuster when he or she is able to come assess the damage.

5. Clean-Up

Once the water is gone and you have called your insurance company, it’s time to begin post-flood care. You can call in a professional clean-up contractor or else begin work yourself. This may involve determining what is salvageable and throwing away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use. If the flooding in your property was widespread, you may have to bring in a junk removal company for easy disposal of larger damaged items, as you will find your rubbish bags fill quickly.

Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home/business. Furniture may also need to be dried out, cleaned or thrown away depending on the level of water damage. Unless you are exceptionally handy, it is probably best to call in a professional company that specializes in mold removal. Mold can begin developing within the first 24 hours after a flood, and once it has started growing it can be difficult to fully remove. The quicker you remove items from water and begin drying them, the less likely they are to be lost to mold, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional assess the situation.

6. Repairs

The aftermath of a property flood can typically take the longest amount of time. You may have broken windows from the water rushing in, flooring that may need to be replaced, and broken possessions in need of repair. After your insurance company pays out for qualified damages, you can hire a contractor if one is needed. Be sure to board up any broken windows and remove any harmful debris from flooded areas.

If you have electronics that were submerged in water or were damaged in the flood, make sure to have them checked out by a professional before plugging them back in to a power source. This includes your television sets, stereos, game consoles, computers, and appliances.

If you are unsure about what your first steps for property repairs should be when your property floods, then hiring a maintenance company that concentrates in flood repairs can be helpful. They can determine if walls need replaced or if your floors have been compromised by the flood waters. A professional property maintenance company can help you safely enjoy your home/business once again.

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Home/Business After a Flood?

Failure to completely clean up your property after a flood can lead to severe and costly damage that can affect the hidden corners of your property without you even realizing it. Not only can this damage the structural integrity of your property, but it can lead to costly repairs for your electrical system etc.

Above all, failure to clean up after your property floods can create perfect conditions for mold to grow, which can lead to illness. Mold can be unpleasant–even dangerous, for some people. Mold can cause severe allergy symptoms as well as lead to asthma, which is particularly dangerous for children and the elderly. However, there are things you can do to prevent the growth of mold after a house flood, including the use of special equipment, chemicals, and utilising a professional company.

For more information on our flood damage services please call one of our friendly team on 0845 604 1288 or visit our web-page Flood Damage Control.

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