Studies show that about 15 million U.S. homes are at risk of flooding, but if you’re a homeowner you’re likely not prepared for what to do if your house gets flooded. After a house flood most people worry strictly about the water damages, but what about the longer-lasting damages like decreased air-quality and potential mold growth? A flooded home is completely out of your control, but knowing what to do if it does happen to you is important. Keep reading to learn what to do if your house floods in order to repair and restore your home.
1. Document the Damage
If you’re dealing with a flooded house, your first thought likely is to get the water out as soon as possible, however, you’re going to want to document all the water damage first. This is crucial as you’ll need these pictures and videos to show your insurer the extent of the damage.
Keep your safety in mind. The water flooding your home can contain sewage, even hazardous materials you’re unaware of, so you’ll want to put on gloves, a mask, and waterproof boots to protect yourself.
Of course, if your house seems too dangerous to enter it at all, then don’t. Your safety is the top priority.
2. Hire a Cleanup Company
Cleaning up after a house flood is a hard and long process — the water needs to be removed, personal items, if any, need to be saved, the house needs to be dried out and disinfected, etc.
Depending on how bad the water damage is, it’s likely your best bet is to contact a water damage restoration company to handle the cleanup process.
A restoration company is trained to know how to clean the home, what they need to use to clean the home, and how to clean the home safely.
3. Prevent Mold Damage
Cleaning the water out of your home after a flood isn’t the only thing you have to worry about — next is preventing mold damage.
A flooded home is a breeding ground for mold, and toxic or black mold that is hazardous and can have long-term negative effects on your health have a great chance of growing.
Once the water is removed from your home open the windows as soon as you can. You want to keep the humidity levels low, so the use of fans and dehumidifiers can take this to the next level. By doing all of this you’re helping to prevent any long-lasting damage to your home brought on by moisture.
Here are some things you may need to do to your home to prevent mold growth:
Replace Your Flooring
All damaged flooring should be ripped out, no matter the material it’s made from. This includes the subfloor.
Certain floors will absorb water, swell, and warp. And if you have carpet this is a potential breeding ground for mold.
Open up Your Walls
Typically, walls are made using wooden studs and drywall. These are two materials that will invite mold growth happily if they’re exposed to moisture.
Your best bet is to open up your walls and give these studs and some time to dry.
Water-damaged insulation will likely never dry out.
This will lead to moisture trapped in your walls forever, leading to mold, mildew, and overall poor air quality. This can also cause even further damage to your home as wet insulation can cause the structure of your home to rot.
Because of this, it’s recommended that you replace any insulation in your home.
4. Be Aware of Electrical Components
After the water has stopped flooding in, you’re going to want to turn off any electrical systems in your home, especially if the water rose high enough up to reach your electrical panel or any outlets and switches.
However, if your home is flooded and the electricity is active, you risk getting electrocuted by trying to shut off these electrical systems. In this case, you don’t want to touch any lights or electrical appliances until the power is completely off in your home.
Your safest option here is to call an electrician. They’ll know whether it’s safe or not to enter the home and turn the electrical breaker off, and then, when the time is ready, they’ll be able to check out your breaker and make sure it’s safe to turn it back on.
5. Call Your Insurance Provider
As soon as you can, call your insurance company and open an insurance claim.
An insurance adjuster will get assigned to your claim and will determine what exactly your insurance covers. They’ll also be able to help you choose contractors to help with repairing the damage, if necessary.
Depending on your insurance company they also may help cover emergency mitigation expenses, therefore if you did call any backup, such as the electrician or water damage restoration company, keep your receipts. Your insurance company may reimburse you for these expenses.
All insurance companies are different, however, so don’t assume yours covers flooding. Some companies may cover flooding by default while others require you to upgrade your coverage to cover flooding damage.
Some insurance companies may even cover additional living expenses, such as staying at a hotel, if the damage forces you to leave your home. But, again, these are all things you’re going to want to make sure your insurance covers.
What to Do if Your House Floods
Knowing immediately what to do if your house floods is crucial — even wasting a little bit of time can have a detrimental impact on the overall damage of your home.
If your house flooded you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, but just know you’re not alone. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re ever in need of any help whether it’s the water damage specifically, mold remediation, or full remodeling and construction.