Preventing Damage After Flood
Sometimes, even with all the preparation water can still find its way into your home. And something as small as an inch of water in the home can cause extensive - and expensive - water damage. The most dangerous issue that can be caused by water? Mold.
Mold needs a damp, moist environment to grow and thrive. Roof and foundation leaks, high interior humidity, overflowing washing machines and most importantly flooding are all common sources of mold growth in homes. Mold can lead to many health-related problems, like allergies, asthma, and lung irritation. Once water starts evaporating into the air, especially in humid or rainy conditions, the mold will thrive and grow rapidly. That’s why it’s so important to immediately clean water damaged areas.
Quiz Answer: C! Given a moist environment, mold can start to grow only 24 hours after the first contact with water.
Preferably, the best way to fix water damage is to work with a water damage restoration company immediately after a flood. We have a list of all approved vendors on our website under the ‘Claims’ tab or you can view it by clicking HERE.
But you can use the time in-between the flooding and the water restoration company arriving to help, there are a few ways you can mitigate the damage and prevent mold from growing.
Immediately Clean and Dry the Flooded Areas
Time is crucial when working to prevent water damage. The longer water sits, the harder it is to repair. Make a plan to start cleaning within 48 hours of the flooding (if you can safely do so).
Using your phone, go through the house and check every room for water, spills, and leaks. If you find areas of flooding, take pictures. Once you’ve identified the flooded areas, start cleaning and drying them up.
If you have wet floor carpets or rugs, dry them first using the vacuum cleaner and then use a fan to complete the drying process. Keep the fan on for 24 hours or more.
Check Your Home’s Exterior
Once you have completed the initial check of your home’s interior it is time to move to the outside. Look for pooling water near the foundation or areas on your property that have large pools of water. Make note of any pools that you see as they can cause cracks and other damage to your foundation, including mold growth.
Dehumidify the House & Watch the Humidity Levels
Right after a storm or flood, moisture in the air can lead to rapid mold growth. Getting the house as dry as possible is key to keeping mold at bay:
- Open all the windows in your home.
- Turn on all fans.
- Use a dehumidifying machine to keep the air dry, clean, and cool.
- You can also use a humidity monitor to keep an eye on humidity levels. The ideal level is below 60 percent in the summertime, while 25 to 40 percent is normal for winter.
All water-damaged areas, furniture, and things should be completely sanitized after cleaning. For your sofa, beds, and other furniture, use a steam cleaner or a wet and dry vacuum cleaner. If you do not own one, talk to the restoration company as they either have that service available or could assist you in rent the machine for yourself. For surfaces like floors and walls, use soap and water to clean and sanitize them using a water-chlorine bleach solution.
Throw Away What Can’t Be Cleaned (After Your Claim Is Approved)
Some materials can’t be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Others, like electronics, might be beyond repair if they’re waterlogged. Before throwing away these items, make sure they are accounted for in your insurance claim. Your claims professional will need documentation of all damage to your belongings to approve your claim.
Keep paying attention to your home and surroundings even after you’ve done all these steps, especially throughout flood season and hurricane season. If you smell something musty, err on the side of caution and start cleaning.