What to Do If Your House Floods
Torrential thunderstorms, overflowing riverbanks, and Category 2 hurricanes all possess the incredible power to unleash massive amounts of floodwaters into homes. Natural disasters are not the only cause of house floods. Burst plumbing pipes, faulty appliances, and foundation leaks are also responsible for devastating home flooding.
When your house floods, here’s what to do:
- Re-enter with caution
- Document the damage
- Contact your insurance company
- Evaluate affected items
- Pump out floodwaters
- Manage mold
- Protect the property
- Be alert to fraud
The most pervasive natural catastrophe on US soil is flooding. No matter in what region or state your home resides, flooding is a possibility. Certain properties may be at a greater danger of flooding when these homes are situated in established, high-risk flood zones.
A flooded home must be dealt with appropriately in order to recoup costs associated with repairs or replacement and to keep all members of the household physically safe.
1. Re-enter with Caution
Take extra precautions when stepping foot inside your home after floodwaters subside. The surge of floodwater can cause holes in the floors, warped walls and a cracked foundation. Visually inspect the home prior to entering.
Be alert to lingering odors of gas. The home’s electricity should also be shut off before you step inside. Water and electricity are a lethal combination. As a safety measure, enlist the services of a licensed electrician to inspect the home before walking in.
2. Document the Damage
As a homeowner, you’re likely to be motivated to start repairs as quickly as possible. Hold off on the impulse and instead take ample photographs and digital videos of the damage caused by the flood. Your homeowner’s insurance company requires proof of the flood damage in order to provide proper reimbursement. Insurance coverage could decrease if you start repairs before documenting the loss.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
Flood insurance has a major impact on whether homeowners recover or become financially ruined. Homeowner’s insurance rarely covers flood damage. Rather, as homeowners with properties located in flood zones know, flood insurance must be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program. Call your insurance representative immediately after the flood. Work with your insurance adjuster to pinpoint the cause of the flood and any degree of coverage.
4. Evaluate Affected Items
Floodwaters are polluted with waterborne bacteria, sewage, and harmful pathogens—all of which can cause disease. As a result, food, medicine, and cosmetics that have come into contact or have even been in close proximity with floodwaters should be discarded.
Mattresses that have been soaked by floodwaters should also be tossed out. Floodwaters can contaminate toys and stuffed animals, which also should be thrown away.
All non-porous, hard-surfaced materials can be disinfected, especially those that are of high-sentimental or monetary value. A professional can conduct this service through contents restoration and pack outs.
Upholstered furniture should be cleaned by a professional. Restoration can be achieved with solid wood furniture that has not been severely impacted by the flood. Carpets contaminated with sewage should be immediately discarded.
Glass and plastic dinnerware should be disinfected by soaking them in a solution of one-part chlorine bleach and four parts hot water for ten minutes, then air-drying them. Silverware can darken if exposed to bleach, so immerse all utensils in boiling water for ten minutes for thorough sterilization.
5. Pump Out Floodwaters
Once your insurance representative has approved the cleanup, you can use a sump pump to gradually remove the water. A wet vacuum and even buckets will also help remove excess water. Water is heavy, so use extra caution when lifting water.
Slowly remove the water in stages. Removing the floodwaters in haste is likely to cause the walls or floors to collapse. Wooden floors, too, should be dried gradually to prevent the wood from cracking or splitting.
Assist in the drying process of the home by encouraging substantial ventilation. Open doors and windows for optimum aeration. A professional flood cleanup service will be able to finish the job.
6. Manage Mold
Mold flourishes on moisture rich surfaces within 24 to 48 hours. Spores can latch onto wet carpeting, bedding, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Mold colonies can be controlled with a disinfecting solution applied to the surfaces. Ammonia and bleach should never be mixed, as the solution will produce lethal fumes.
7. Protect the Property
Floodwaters can shatter glass and damage the building’s structures. Homeowners should make every effort to prevent further damage to the home. Board up broken windows and doors to stop the elements, like rain, snow and wind, from causing more ruin. The process will also deter wild animals, snakes and even criminal intruders from entering your home.
8. Be Alert to Fraud
Fraudulent calls from imposters threaten flood victims with voided insurance policies if additional payments are not made. FEMA’s Director of the National Flood Insurance Program, Roy E. Wright, confirms that these calls are fraudulent and should not be given any consideration.
Those recouping from a flood are advised to only accept calls from FEMA representatives, local officials, insurance companies and the adjusters assigned to your property.
Emergency Water Damage Restoration
When floodwaters permeate your home, you may seek professional help to return your property to its pre-damaged condition. ServiceMaster by Mason is a local water damage restoration company with the experience, equipment and dedication to restore your home when floodwaters strike.
Swift action is necessary when any amount of floodwater infiltrates your property. The numerous consequences of flood damage include discoloration of items, deterioration of structural components of the building and mold growth, not to mention the impactful damage to heirlooms or antiques. Though the destruction to belongings can be severe, ServiceMaster by Mason’s skilled technicians will work with you to restore even sensitive items, like valuables and documents.
ServiceMaster by Mason
The ServiceMaster by Mason water damage restoration specialists will arrive onsite promptly to assess the flood damage. Advanced water extraction equipment is utilized to thoroughly dry the space. Powerful air movers and dehumidifiers remove all excess moisture. The team then works tirelessly to restore building materials and belongings affected by the floodwaters. Since waterborne bacteria is likely to be present from the intrusion of floodwaters, the ServiceMaster by Mason technicians sanitize and deodorize the home. Any risk of mold is thwarted by the team’s mold and mildew removal services.
ServiceMaster by Mason reliably serves the Providence, Rhode Island community of residences and businesses. The team stands by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to emergency calls.