One of the most devastating things you can ever experience as a homeowner, is flooding in your house. There are numerous causes of home flooding including, but not limited to; storms, burst pipes, sewer back up, malfunction of appliances, among others. No matter the cause of the flooding, a water damage emergency can cause a lot of confusion and despair, especially when you do not know what to do, or how to handle the problem. In this article, we are going to give you the steps you need to take in case of flooding.
1. Stop the Water Flow
The very first thing you need to do is find the actual source of the flooding, and then stop the water flow. The more the water, the bigger the water damage will be. If the flooding is as a result of a burst pipe or appliance malfunction, you should immediately shut off the main water valve. If you are not able to safely turn off the main water valve, or if you cannot find the actual source of the flooding, you should call a professional plumber.
If you are experiencing serious flooding, you might need to turn off the power as well to ensure the safety of your family. Remember, do not turn off the electrical power if you have to wade through the water in order to do so. In such a situation, you might need to contact an electrician.
2. Take Pictures of the Water Damage
Like any other accident, documentation is very important and will give you the proof you need when settling your insurance claim. Before removing the water, you should take pictures of the water damaged areas as evidence for your claim. Capture the whole extent of the damage and all the possessions that were impacted by the flooding. Doing this will help you be fairly compensated for the damage incurred, and if any dispute arises later on, you’ve the evidence needed to back up your claim.
3. Remove the Water Quickly
As soon as you have fully documented the extent of the water damage, you need to remove the water as fast as you can. There are many ways of getting rid of the water. In case you do not have electrical power, or you’re worried about the wires, you can remove the water manually. You can use towels, mops and buckets to get rid of as much water as you possible can. If you have power, you can use a wet/dry vacuum to remove the water; make sure you plug it into the outlet that’s far away from the water. Getting rid of the water quickly is one of the most important things you can do to prevent further water damage and mold growth. Fast and decisive action on your part can help you save your belongings, and minimize the expense and time spent on repairs.
4. Dry Out the Affected Areas
After you have removed all the water, you can use a dehumidifier and fans to dry out the affected areas. You can open the windows to allow for better air circulation and if you have electrical power, you can turn on the central air conditioning to help dry out the affected areas much faster. If you are concerned about the water being trapped behind the walls, you can carefully poke some holes in your wallboards at the floor level so as to allow any trapped water to escape. You should also consider removing the flooring to expose the subfloor, so that it can start drying soonest as possible.
After the affected area has dried out, you can use a disinfectant to get rid of bacteria and germs which may have come up through the toilets or sewers. Anything that was touched by the water should be sanitized. You should clean all the walls, hard surface floors, non-upholstery furniture, and any household surface and item that came into contact with the water. You can use a solution of 1 and 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach, to 1 gallon of water to sanitize. All rugs should also be thoroughly cleaned.
Don’t forget to wear protective gear like rubber gloves, rubber boots and waders before stepping into the water and removing the water logged possessions. If possible, you should also remove children and pets from the house til the water damage is fully conatined.