Waking up in the morning and finding unexpected water in your home can be the cause of a lot of panic and stress. Whether your basement’s sump pump has failed or a pipe has burst, a flooded home is not a lot of fun. Water can create a lot of damage in a short window of time.
After reassuring small children that no, you didn’t add an indoor pool to your home, you need to get to work, salvaging what you can and making sure that you get the water out of the house. But where do you begin? If you aren’t sure where to start, follow these 5 steps to help you get back on track.
Take a deep breath, sometimes floods happen. But you can get your home dry and restored. These 5 steps are going to help you get everything cleaned up and restored to a liveable, dry home for you and your family.
Step 1: Call an Insurance Adjuster
Assuming you have already turned off the water if it’s a burst pipe, and the electricity to avoid any major safety hazards, then the first thing you are going to want to do is to call your insurance adjuster immediately. Getting a flood claim placed on your rental or home insurance is vital to navigating the damage and repairs.
You need to verify whether a flood insurance claims adjuster needs to see the damage prior to any work being done. It can be hard to stand around waiting for an adjuster but if you start the cleanup process without checking in you could void your policy. (Your definitely don’t want to do that.)
Begin documenting everything. Take pictures for your own records as well as to be able to prove the worth and damage that was sustained. Luckily smartphone cameras automatically record the date and time pictures were taken so they can be easily referenced by anyone who needs to see your proof.
Follow your insurance claim adjuster’s instructions as you move forward throughout the process of getting your house back to normal.
Step 2: Salvage What You Can
When in a high-stress situation, humans tend to get a rush of adrenaline. When you look at your water damaged home you may also feel like kicking into gear to get things cleaned up and out of the way. After your insurance adjuster has been notified you can do just that.
Depending on how deep the water is in your home you may want to invest in rubber boots or even waders. When the water comes from a river or hurricane, there could be bacteria or other harmful substances. Wearing proper safety gear can prevent unnecessary contamination.
Be careful as you start moving your belongings. Water soaks into materials and weighs them down. Even if the couch doesn’t look any different it may weigh much more than you expect it does. Remember when lifting heavy objects to lift with your knees. This will help you avoid hurting your back.
Any item that can absorb water and cannot be thoroughly disinfected after it dries out again should be discarded. This can be an emotional process to sort through belongings and personal effects. If you find that the emotional toll of clean up is too much, take a break or hire professionals who don’t know the backstory of every item in your basement to clean up.
Some papers may be able to be dried out long enough for you to make copies, but the risk of that paper molding is very high and so you should plan on discarding it as much as possible. All food or beverage products that have been exposed to the water should be thrown out. Don’t risk your safety or health.
Step 3: Start Cleaning
With floods and moisture problems you will want to move quickly to avoid having everything wet for long. The sooner everything can dry out, the sooner you can start the mold prevention process. Mold is the secondary concern with floods and is something that is best avoided if possible.
Pumping out large amounts of water should be done gradually to avoid structural damage to your home. You may find yourself growing impatient with the process but it is far better to pump out water correctly than to risk further damaging your property’s foundation or walls.
Aim to have everything dry within 48 hours in order to curb mold growth. Once everything is dry you can use soap and disinfectant in order to clean everything in your home. If it is safe to use electronic appliances, using fans to keep the air moving and help dry your home can be helpful.
Acting quickly after water damage is essential for getting your life back to normal, so don’t delay in contacting your insurance adjuster so you can get to work cleaning up the mess soon. There are mold testing kits available so you can be certain your home is no longer a danger to your health.
Step 4: Restoration
Once everything is clean and dry you can begin your restoration efforts. You can hire professionals to assist you in getting your home back in great shape or do it yourself. If you are getting new drywall, you can buy moisture-resistant drywall which may not be ruined by minor flooding in the future if you live somewhere that frequently gets water.
If you are concerned about mold growth, you can buy a mold killing primer before you paint. These primers have a strong odor as they are applied but they work well for killing any lingering mold spores and therefore may give you some extra peace of mind as you go forward after your flood. Picking out new carpet, paint and furnishings can be the only upside to a flood. Have fun with your selections.
Step 5: Enjoy Your Restored Home
Getting back on your feet after a flood can be a time-consuming process and a lot of work. When you start with a call to your insurance adjuster, they have the experience needed to help you through this unfortunate circumstance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from those who have dealt with floods in the past.
Soon you will look around your home and not even remember the flood. It seems hard to believe but these 5 steps will help you restore your home quickly. If your home currently has water in it, that can be scary. It’s going to be okay, these steps can help!