Once flood waters have subsided, the first thing all homeowners want to do is rush in and start cleaning up. However, that may there are a few important elements to consider before you start drying out water damage and cleaning up operations.
Here are few things to keep in mind after your home has been flooded with water.
Floodwaters are usually made up of many toxic water sources such as sewage, gasoline, household chemicals and not just rain or river waters. It is important to remove these contaminants from the surfaces of your home once the waters have drained. Remember to always wear waterproof boots and rubber gloves to protect you from toxins that can get absorbed by the skin. Always work with hot soapy water or sanitizer nearby and clean your hands constantly. Be sure to invest in a respirator and not just an ordinary dust mask, as well as safety glasses.
Ventilation is key
There is a great chance of extensive damage to your home the longer the water and moisture stay after the storm. This could result in major health risks to you and your family. Mildew, fungus, and mold can start to grow as soon as 48 hours after the floodwaters have receded. These growths can cause a lasting stale and musty smell to your house, as well as result in serious health risks such as respiratory problems. Added to that, long-standing water can cause extreme damage to any wood or wallboard you may have in your house. It can also warp wooden flooring, ruin insulation and electrical systems.
After the floods, on dry and warm days, make sure to open all the windows and doors. This will ensure that the drier air from outside will help dry out the interior of your house. It is important to close them at night or when there is an increase in humidity. It is far better to allow the interior to dry using natural elements than to force dry it with central heating or conditioning system.
Remember to open all wooden closets and drawers. Some drawers may become stuck due to swelling, just remove the backs of the cabinets to allow for air to circulate.
Should you have a fully working electrical system, you may use fans, dehumidifiers, and window airconditioners to dry out. Using central system could be counterproductive as it may blow dust and mold into the air from contaminated pipers. Make sure the ductwork is completely cleaned out first.
Unfortunately, most drywall or wallboards must be discarded after flood damage. Wallboard materials will disintegrate after it has been soaked by flood waters and it will absorb toxins. To ascertain wall damage, you will need to drill holes about 2 inches from the floor and check for water or signs of damage.
Regrettably, carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture will be ruined by floodwater and will need to be cleared out and replaced. However, the upside is that by the time you get to cleaning up and drying out the household goods, you will be well on your way to rebuilding your life and house.