Flooding occurs in regions all across the globe, and unfortunately, residential areas are often victims of the damage that is left behind. The water and wreckage it leaves behind can be devastating to the structure and stability of a home and everything in it, so it’s important to know what to do after the event.
Following these steps, you can help restore your home after a flood. It doesn’t take much for a flood to upend your life, but if you know how to handle it properly, you can hopefully come out on the other side prepared and ready to tackle the challenge.
Step 1: Have Your Home Evaluated Before Re-Entry
The first thing you should do before re-entering the home is getting it evaluated. The amount of water damage can be severe, but the most worrying is that much of it is unseen. Electrical damage, sewage damage, leaks in gas pipes, and structural integrity may all be compromised, always have inspectors come in to evaluate and give the OK before you can begin cleaning up.
Step 2: Test the Houses Water
Among the evaluation processes is water testing. You can do this yourself with the right equipment, but it’s also good to let the evaluators test the water for any contaminants. Most often, the contaminants that will be found in water are from sewage lines. You will be able to smell this, and you will be able to see the water, but it’s good to have a test done to determine the degree of infectious risk there is.
Step 3: Remove Any Remaining Water
As mentioned, the water could be extremely harmful. You should always wear the right protective gear while cleaning, so you don’t come in contact with harmful water. Pumps are a good way to remove water left over from the flooding, so you may need to rent them. Removing the water should also be done in steps because removing it too quickly can weaken the structure of the house. Wet vacuums are also a much-needed piece of equipment here.
Step 4: Remove Debris and Damaged Goods
Removing the water should be the priority as it is the biggest threat to the safety of you, your family, and the house, but after this, you need to remove any debris and damaged goods. Water-logged furniture may be salvageable by the frame after cleaning, but it’s unlikely, and it could have come into contact with dangerous contaminants. Mop up, sweep, and collect bags and bins of debris to dispose of. Be careful of sharp objects like glass or nails as well.
Step 5: Clean Walls, Drains, and Ventilate the Home
Sanitizing the walls with unscented detergent after hosing them off any remaining debris or damage is necessary to keep them clean. After this, you should also begin wiping down and disinfecting any other surfaces, like floors and even possibly ceilings. The home should also be ventilated to remove humidity and moisture. It’s important to not use appliances until the home has been thoroughly cleaned, ventilated, and sanitized, and make sure electrical outlets are inspected by a utility company first.
Step 6: Check for Mold and Other Damage
After the bulk of the damage has been cleaned up, you can begin inspecting for mold spores and growth. You want to check behind appliances, cupboards, and furniture, in crawl spaces, in the basement, and anywhere that mold was already commonly found. Do not wipe the mold as it will spread it, you want to make sure it can be dried out then removed. Using isopropyl and other strong disinfecting cleaning agents will help kill the spores and prevent them from spreading. Let light and good ventilation clear out the area afterward as well.
Step 7: Disinfect and Sanitize Dishes and Food
The last step is to disinfect your dishes and sanitize any non-perishables or packaged food items. Anything that was not tightly packaged or unopened (boxed items and jars must be thrown out as well) must be thrown out in the case that it came into contact with mold spores or other flood and sewage water. Wipe down all the packages of food that are still able to be recovered, and thoroughly clean dishes with strong disinfecting cleaners. Hopefully, you never have to use these steps in your life, but if the situation ever arises, you now have a brief understanding of the steps it takes to recover from a flooded home and get your life back to normal.