One of the most damaging and devastating things you can ever experience as a homeowner is a flood. There are many causes of household flooding including heavy rains and melting snow, sewer back up, broken sump-pumps or burst pipes. No matter what the cause, it is important to know the steps you should take after a flood. These steps on what to do after a flood will make the clean-up process easier and reduce potential damages.
The 5 Steps to Take After a Flood
1. Safety First
The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. Make sure you are safe when you return to your home and begin dealing with the damage. This may include turning off the power. Be sure to wear protective clothing, such as rubber boots and gloves if the water is deep or could be contaminated. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.
2. Stopping and Removing Water
The first thing you should do when your house floods is stop the source of water coming in, if 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, crawl space, or main floor. Calling the city to remove debris from storm drains may also be necessary in order to assist in ending the flooding.
If your flooded home 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 the flooding has stopped, you can focus on removing the water. Depending on the level of flooding, your process might differ slightly. You may need to use buckets or hoses to drain large amounts of water from your basement. As the water begins receding, you can use a wet vacuum to suck remaining water and moisture from carpets and floors. If there is only minimal damage, mop up any spots that are still wet and take care of the damaged areas.
3. Drying Out Your Home
Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, 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 home.
Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize potential water damage. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in damp climates or areas that experience longer rain seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.
4. Call the Insurance Company
Your homeowners’ insurance will vary depending on what policies you have, but many companies offer coverages for flooding. The insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the damages 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 can pay out. Repairs can become costly, but the insurance money can help get your home back in order with less financial burden.
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 the 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. Having an accurate and updated home inventory can make this process easier. To learn how to make a home inventory and why it is important, read our post here.
After a flood and calling your insurance company, comes clean up. You can call in a professional clean-up crew or begin the process yourself. Determine what is salvageable and throw away anything that is too damaged. Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home. 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. Once mold starts 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 suffer mold damage.
For more information on flood insurance and other ways to protect your home, just call us at 724-929-2300 today! We can tailor an insurance policy to fit your needs, not a one size fits most and you’ll save more than money when you let us compare quotes from top brands for you FREE! We’ll compare quotes to get you the best price the first time.