Are you a victim of flooding? Whether it stems from heavy rain, sewer line malfunction, or a hurricane, the results are always overwhelming. And the worst part is cleaning up afterward can stain your body, emotions, and finances, pushing you to the edge. But you can outsource this daunting task to experts like A1 Cleaning and lessen your burdens.
In this guide, we’ll help you understand flood damage cleaning and walk you through the steps for restoring your home. We know how difficult such times can be, but we’ll be with you every step of the way.
What Is Flood Damage Cleaning?
It’s removing water, mud, debris, and contaminants from a house after flooding to prevent further damage to the property. The steps you take will depend on how severe the floods were and what was damaged.
Here are common signs of a flood-damaged home:
- Standing water
- Musty smell (caused by mold and mildew)
- Swelling or buckling walls
- Bubbling or peeling paint
- Damp upholstered furniture
- Soft spots on the floor
Where Do I Start With Flood Cleaning?
Before you start the clean-up process, notify your insurance company about the flood to help with insurance claims and tax deductibles. Here’s what you need to do:
- Take photos and videos as evidence of the destruction
- Save records of all expenses to support your claims
- Check with your policy provider for other requirements you may need to make your claim
Many insurance policies have deadlines for filing insurance claims, so you risk losing your coverage if you miss them. Your provider may also deny your claim or reduce the compensation if you file it after the clean-up. They’ll argue that a flood didn’t cause the damages or that you never took reasonable steps to mitigate them.
The Flood Clean-up Process: 6 Steps to Follow
Once you’re done with your insurance company, take the following steps to restore your home:
1. Prioritize Your Safety
After a flood, your first impulse will be to start deep cleaning. But remember, there are all kinds of potential hazards that pose safety risks, like contaminated water and sewage. You need to wear protective gear like rubber gloves, waterproof boots, and safety goggles to prevent injuries and allergic reactions.
Here are more tips on ensuring you’re safe during flood damage cleaning:
- Shut off the gas to prevent fire
- Shut off the power to the affected area to avoid electric shocks
- Check the foundation for structural damage like settling, cracking, or undermining
- Get an electrician to check the electrical system
2. Remove Standing Water
Standing water contains harmful bacteria, mold, and other contaminants that can affect your health and cause structural damage. To remove excess water, use a pump, bucket, sponge, or a wet/dry vacuum. Place contaminated items in plastic bags and remove household items that need drying outside.
3. Remove Dirt and Debris
Once you pump out the standing water, grab your shovel and trash can and get rid of mud and dirt before they dry. Dirt and debris contain harmful bacteria and mold and can damage your home’s structure when they harden.
Remember that working in small areas will help prevent the spreading of mud and dirt.
4. Remove Damaged Drywall and Flooring
Check your drywall for signs of water damage. If the extent of damage is more than 10 square feet, you need professional assistance. But if the damage is minimal, use a utility knife to score the drywall and punch it in. If the insulation inside the wall cavities is damp, remove it too.
Even if your flooring looks or feels dry, it may have moisture and silt deposits underneath, causing mold and bacteria to flourish. So, you have to remove your ceramic, vinyl, laminate, and wood floors to reach the hard surface underneath.
5. Clean and Disinfect Your House
Scrub down your floors using hot water, a disinfectant, and an ammonia-free detergent to remove stains, and rinse hard surfaces with oxygen bleach to disinfect them. You can also scrub woodwork with an alkali solution like baking soda and disinfect it with a solution of chlorine bleach and water.
6. Dry Out Your Home Quickly
Flood water promotes mold growth, causing further damage to wood, carpet, insulation, electronics, and paint. So turn on your air conditioner, dehumidifier, fans, or heating system to dry out your property.
When using an AC or dehumidifier, keep your windows closed to help circulate the air inside and remove excess moisture. But if you’re using fans, keep your windows open and face the exhaust toward the openings.
If the water damage has affected your power supply, you’ll need portable generators. Be sure to place them outside your home because generators emit toxic fumes that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Try to use a moisture meter during the drying process to monitor the moisture levels. Floors, furniture, and wall cavities may feel dry, but they still harbor mold spores, so aim for humidity between 30% and 50%.
Flood damage cleaning isn’t just about rebuilding your home with new flooring and furniture. It’s also about restoring hope and normalcy lost in flood waters. The clean-up process may seem slow, but every step matters when rehabilitating your home.
If you want to maintain a clean, fresh home and business after flood damage, reach out to A1 Cleaning now.