Flooding in your home or place of business can be a devastating experience. While severe weather is one of the most common causes of indoor flood damage it is not the only thing that can severely inundate your interior. Leaking pipes, damaged gutters, and sewer backups can all fill your home or office with water in a staggeringly short amount of time.
The unfortunate reality is that a lot of these water sources also have the potential to contain other contaminants beyond just mud. Once the water and contaminated materials soak into carpets, furniture, and other porous materials, it can be hard to get them thoroughly dry again. Not to mention the risk of a severe storm damaging other parts of the building like the ducts, the heater, and air conditioner, roofing, private sewage and well systems, utilities, and possibly even the foundation.
Tips For Dealing With A Flooded Home Or Business
Time is of the essence when dealing with floodwater. Not to mention the very real emotional impact of watching the things you cherish be destroyed right before your eyes. In a time like this, you can use the following steps and tips to help guide you through the experience and minimize the potential for more complications.
Step One: Contact Your Insurance Provider
Many homeowners insurance policies do not have flood coverage included in them unless you are already living in a designated flood zone. Checking with your insurance company to determine if you are covered and what level of flood coverage you have might provide you with some peace of mind. It might also open the door for things like applications for disaster assistance and possible income tax deductions.
Step Two: Document Everything
Assuming your smartphone didn’t succumb to the water, you need to take pictures of everything that is affected by the water. This can serve as visual evidence for your insurance company or help expedite a disaster assistance application. It might also help in a legal case where you need to demonstrate the damage caused by a municipal sewer system failure.
Step Three: Try To Address The Cause Of The Water
If the water is actively flowing into the building, and you can safely address it, you should do so. This might call for turning off the main water line coming into the building, securing a damaged section of the gutter, or securing a tarp over a damaged section of the roof. Without stopping the influx of water any attempt to dry the area out will ultimately prove to be futile.
Step Four: Water Removal
Depending on where and how severe the water intrusion is, you might be able to remove it from the building with a residential-grade sump pump or a wet-dry shop vac. More significant amounts of water may need the help of professional water pumps and moisture extrication devices.
Step Five: Dry Soaked Materials
If upholstery and furniture are only mildly wet, you might be able to dry it yourself with a shop vac and the strategic placement of chemical desiccants. Large fans and dehumidifiers might also help dry out wet surfaces to reduce the risk of a mold problem developing.
If you have a more significant flooding problem on your hands, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to a professional company like Building Services Inc. We have commercial grade water pumps and drying equipment as well as the people with the experience to know how to deploy them best.
Dealing With Mud
Mud is one of the most troublesome aspects of most flooding events. An inundated river that bursts its banks or localized flooding from a severe storm surge can carry with it a special type of silt that has a frustrating knack for penetrating into everything. In some cases, it can even soak into furniture and other padded surfaces.
The first step in dealing with mud calls for good old-fashioned elbow grease, and shoveling it out in bulk. It’s best to do this while the mud is still somewhat damp as it helps prevent fine silt particles from hardening. While it might be heavier when it’s wet, you will get more material per scoop and you will have less irritating dust to deal with than if you let it completely dry.
Once you have the bulk of the mud shoveled out, you can use a hose to spray away traces of mud from hard surfaces or lift it away from soft surfaces with a wet & dry shop vac.
Disinfecting Contaminated Items
While there might not be anything you can do to save carpets and furniture that have been soaked by contaminated water and mud, you might be able to salvage hard, non-porous items like kitchen pots, pans, plates, and glassware.
This starts with meticulously scrubbing all surfaces with hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner. At that point, you can then start to disinfect surfaces with a solution that is one-quarter cup of chlorine bleach mixed with one gallon of water of cold water. Make sure that the water is cold before adding the bleach to limit fumes and maintain the effectiveness of the chlorine.
Disposing Of Furniture & Upholstery
The sad truth is that most furniture, upholstery, and padded items will need to be disposed of after a major flooding event. Even if you can get the surface of a mattress or a chair to feel dry, chances are good that moisture will linger within for a long time to come. This ends up being the perfect breeding grounds for mildew and mold colonies can pose a serious health threat later.
Carpeting and other types of soft flooring usually need to be completely removed after a flood event. Even if you can get the surface dry, chances are good that the underlayment will hold moisture for a long time to come.
Calling In The Professionals To Deal With Flooding Cleanup
Many people who find themselves dealing with food cleanup will turn to professional cleaning experts like Building Services Inc. With our team of experienced technicians on hand, you can trust that everything is being cleaned and remediated to the highest possible standards. This also frees you up to dedicate your time to things like negotiating with insurance companies, finding replacements for all your lost and damaged items, or simply taking emotional stock of what is a very trying time in anyone’s life.