Take Plenty Of Pictures
Before your attempt to repair your house or remove the flood water, you should first take pictures and video of everything that’s been damaged. The photos are what will serve as evidence when you present your case to your insurance company. Arguably, the digital versions are the best, since you can store them electronically and can also be easily retrieved. If you remove the water or start making any repair projects before you fully document the extent of the damage, know that you are reducing the potential amount of your coverage significantly.
Remove Excess Water
Here, the first thing you will do is to try and prevent the water from coming out, only if it is possible. If the flooding was caused by a broken or malfunctioning water pump, you should contact your local plumber for repair or replacement. The prospect of stopping the excess water will prevent any further damage to your garage, main floor or even the crawl space. Simply put, the faster you can stop the water from accumulating, the sooner you’ll complete the cleaning process and lessen the level of damage to your property.
After this, depending on the extent of your flooding, all the water will have to be removed. If the water is excess, you can use hoses and drain the water from your structure. On the other hand, if the water is not that much, you can use bins and buckets and drain it out. After you have removed all the water, use a wet vacuum to suck the remaining amounts of moisture from your floor.
Dry Everything Out
The next step will be to ensure that everything remains dry. If the electricity in your home is functioning, you can use your portable fans and your central air conditioner to dry all the wet places in your home. Again, you should ensure that your windows, doors, as well as any other opening, are opened. This will help attract fresh and dry air into your house and accelerate the drying process.
Call Your Insurance Company
A recent study revealed that a significant number of homeowners always think that they are covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy. This is not always the case!
If you didn’t know, you must buy a separate flood insurance policy for you to be covered. However, if you live in a floodplain and you have a mortgage, your mortgage company will require it. If you are not in a floodplain, you are not always required to purchase a policy but it will likely be a good idea to do so. Shockingly, it is estimated that only 20% of homeowners in low-risk flood areas have flood insurance.
If you are covered, then contact your insurer. The terms of your policy will vary. However, most insurance companies cover floods caused by backed-up city sewage systems, burst pipes, flooding caused by storms, broken sump-pumps, etc. Your insurance company will send an adjuster who will come to examine and assess the extent of your damage and determine if indeed it is a covered loss.
If your damages and losses are covered, your insurer will pay you accordingly. It is imperative to note that damage caused by groundwater is always not covered by the standard homeowners’ insurance policies. This implies that you’ll have to work in close collaboration with your adjuster and document the cause of the flood as well as the extent of your estimated coverage. It would be a very good idea to capture as many images as possible before, during and after the cleaning process. Again, your adjuster should inspect your damaged house before you make any repair projects.
Check For Public Services
Certain areas have been declared as disaster areas by the government authorities. The individuals residing in such areas may have access to resources such as public services that are intended to help protect and remediate such places, in the event of a disaster. What’s more, you may be offered the much-needed financial assistance. Your adjuster should guide you regarding this. Common places to start would be FEMA, if appropriate, your city’s government offices, or even non profits like the Red Cross.
General Clean Up
Now, the water is gone, you have called your insurer, and everything seems to be okay. The cleaning process will soon begin. You can do the cleaning yourself, or you can seek the help of a cleaning professional. This process will involve separating the damaged items from the salvageable ones. Anything that is no longer safe to use or too damaged must be disposed of.
For you to thwart the potential development and growth of mold and mildew, you may be forced to remove the drywall, flooring and perhaps insulation. Dealing with mold is never an easy task. This is why is best to contact your local mold removal company for safety purposes. If you didn’t know, mold could start to develop within the first twenty-four hours after flooding. Once it has begun to develop, you’ll find it extremely hard to eliminate all of it.
The physical destruction that occurs as a result of flooding depends on the level of the water, the terrain and soil conditions, flood duration as well as the built environment. However, even a few inches of flood water in your home can cause significant damage to your properties and other valuable items. Your flooring might require replacement or repair, your windows and doors may also need to be replaced. Again, some of your home appliances and electronics that were submerged in water might never function again. This may include your computers, laptops, television sets as well as other vital electronic devices. As you may have seen, you’ll have a lot to deal with. To help ease the whole situation, you will have to hire a reputable construction company that is well versed in matters relating to natural disaster repairs. An experienced contractor will determine if your affected walls or floors need to be repaired or replaced.
Prevent Potential Health Issues
If you fail to clean up a house that has been affected by floods, be aware that you are creating an ample environment for the growth of mold and bacteria. Mold, in particular, can develop quickly in damp conditions. Mold is especially dangerous for those with breathing health problems caused by asthma or allergies. However, relatively higher levels of mold can also cause lots of potential problems even for people who are healthy. This is why it is crucial to halt the development of these pathogens before they invade your home. The symptoms of your exposure to mold may include, shortness of breath, fatigue, wheezing, sore throats and flu-like aches and general pains.
Immune-compromised people, as well as those suffering from chronic lung illnesses, may get serious infections in their lungs when they get exposed to mold. The toxic black mold, known as Stachybotrys chartarum, usually releases spores as it dwells on common household materials such as carpet, drywall or insulation that have been exposed to water. This particular type of mold can be costly to eliminate. According to the National Center for Healthy Housing, you only have between twenty-four to thirty-six hours to act and clean your house after floods.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help curb the growth of mold after floods. You can call a professional company for help; you can use certain chemicals or even specialized equipment. You can either buy or rent a dehumidifier to help lower the level of moisture in the air especially in areas you are trying to dry.
For precaution, you should purchase an air purifier to prevent the development and the spreading of mold spores. This essential device can help keep the indoor air in your house free from mold spores. Besides, an air purifier can eliminate unpleasant smell, pet dander as well as pollen from your environment, thus boosting the overall health of your home.
The safest way to survive any flooding incidence is to evacuate the area if advised to do so. To ensure that you will act quickly should the need arise, you must have a plan. This implies that you must identify numerous escape routes in your local area. On the issue of resources, there are local non-profit organizations that usually provide clean-up kits, food and perhaps the safety guidelines on how to handle food after floods. Again, many government agencies provide funding and other supplies after flooding. Do your due diligence and ensure that you know all your local community resources for those affected by floods.