Floods are one of the most common natural disasters. They cause devastation as they destroy your home, your belongings and the surrounding area. After the flood waters have passed, it is important to return to your home and inspect it before repairs can be made. Check out these five tips to help you and your home recover after a flood.
Do Not Reenter Until it Is Safe
Even after the flood waters have receded, it may not be safe to return to your home, so wait until authorities have confirmed it is safe to return and inspect your home. Fire is a major threat to a home after a flood because electrical appliances and outlets have been exposed to water. A professional electrician can determine if it is safe to enter your home. Before you start your inspection, make sure the power if off, reducing the risk of fire and electrical shock.
Examine the Structure of Your Home
Start outside your home and examine the structural integrity. Examine the roof for any signs of instability like bowing, holes or a crooked chimney. Check the support beams and overhangs to ensure they are still intact. Lastly, determine if the foundation has any cracks or if the house has actually shifted off the foundation. If the home does not look secure, do not enter and contact a professional contractor.
If it does look secure, enter to continue studying the structure. Make note if you see any of the following as they are signs of severe structural damage:
- Gaps or holes in the walls, floor or ceiling
- Buckled walls or floors
- Walls separating from the floor
- Leaks from the ceiling or in the attic, which may indicate roof damage
Start Cleaning to Prevent Mold
Even after the water is gone, there may be some pools of stagnant water left in your home. This water is highly dangerous because flood water is contaminated with sewage and other chemicals and pollutants, so do not touch it with your bare hands.
Cleanup is best done by professionals, but it should also be started as soon as possible to prevent the growth of mold. So while you wait for the professionals to arrive, help them get started by using a pump to remove water from your home. It's important to remove the water slowly as the ground outside is already soft from the flood water. Throw away items that absorb water like books and upholstered furniture.
Ensure Utilities Are Intact
Besides studying the structure of your home, you must check all the utilities to make sure they are still intact. Flood water may have contaminated your drinking water, so inspect the color and odor. If you smell gas or hear leaking gas, leave your home and turn off the gas or contact the gas company immediately. Examine the electrical system and units like the heating system. If electrical appliances have been affected by water, clean and dry them while you wait for a professional electrician to come and inspect them.
Hire a Professional Damage Contractor
Even if you choose to do the clean-up on your own, any repairs are best done by a professional damage contractor, especially those that affect the structure of your home. Take pictures of any damage and use the notes you took on your inspection to help give the contractors a head start.
Dealing with the aftermath of a flood is a stressful situation, but by following these 5 tips, you'll stay safe while inspecting and repairing your home. If your home has flood damage, contact a local flood damage repair contractor today and start saving your home.