When your house has been badly flooded, whether by uncontaminated water, rainwater or even sewage backup, it can mean plenty of expensive repairs. However, you should also be wary of health concerns for you and your family, and possible structural problems created by the flood. As you start the cleanup and restoration process, be sure to use caution and seek the help of professionals.
After a flood, your house's electricity should be shut off completely until extensive repairs and examinations are complete. Water can damage your appliances, your outlets, your heating and cooling system and any other electrical components, and trying to use any of these before an inspection could result in fires or personal injury. Nothing in your house should be turned back on until an electrician has verified that it is safe to do so.
If water damage is heavy enough, it can cause structural problems such as making the walls and floor buckle. Sometimes buckling can happen if too much standing water is removed from the house too quickly. Some areas may be off limits until repairs can be made. If you decide to enter the house, be cautious about any debris on the floor, like shattered glass, especially if the floor is muddy and still damp.
As part of the restoration process, drywall and insulation will have to be removed as the house is dried out and the walls are inspected. If carpets have been soaked with clean water, they can often just be dried, but if they are soaked in contaminated water, they will have to be removed completely. Wood floors will almost certainly need to be replaced.
Personal Belongings Contamination
Regardless of what kind of water your house has been flooded with, be careful when handling your personal belongings, especially things like furniture and clothes, which soak up water easily. Some things will need to be disposed of immediately while others can potentially be cleaned, albeit thoroughly. For example, you may be able to keep some furniture frames, but the cushions may have to go. This is especially important if they have been soaking for days, at which point much damage is irreparable.
Moist environments grow mold, and when a large segment of your house is flooded, mold is a major concern. Breathing mold spores can cause various health problems, especially if you do so for long periods of time during the restoration process. Mold remediation should be done immediately after the water is removed and the house is cleaned of waste and mud. Until then, wear safety gear such as a protective mask. Mold is a particular threat to those with allergies and breathing problems.
Contaminated Food Items
Any exposed food that has been reached by flood waters will need to be disposed of. You can keep undamaged cans, though they will need to be very thoroughly cleaned.
What To Do Before Moving Back In
You will be able to move back into your house before everything is restored to normal, but you will need to make sure that it is completely safe. At minimum, you should:
- Make sure your house's electrical systems work safely and that your water supply is clean and running normally.
- All contaminated items have either been cleaned or removed from your house
- Your house has been inspected by an electrician, a mold remediator, a contractor for walls and floors and your local health authority
When inspections have shown that it's safe to move back in, and all that remains are aesthetic repairs and restorations, you can move back in safely. If you're looking for a water damage restoration company, visit Wetherington Restoration & Remodeling Inc.