In the last couple of years, we have witnessed some of the most devastating hurricanes to ever hit our land. From Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Harvey and other devastating natural disasters, the damage done is measured in billions of dollars. Not to mention all the lives it claimed.
When it comes to hurricanes, the biggest concern in your home is the flooding. But flooding is not restricted to hurricanes. In fact, flooding may come from inside or under your home. Burst pipes or slab leaks can cause immense damage to your home and your budget, which is why it’s important to act quickly and have them fixed.
Flooding can also come as a result of heavy rainfall, appliance malfunctions, sewage back-up, flooding rivers and other sources. Experiencing a flood inside your own home can be confusing and terrifying, both during the disaster and in its aftermath. It’s understandable that homeowners are devastated after such an event that they don’t know what to do and where to start first.
Indeed, recovering from any disaster is no easy task. That is why, in this article, we’ll walk you through all the steps of braving through flooding and the aftermath of the disaster.
Put Safety First
Your primary concern during any disaster should be to ensure your safety and the safety of your family. In some cases like during intense hurricanes or severe flooding, you may be forced to leave your home. Before you return to your home to evaluate the damage and start drying everything out you need to make sure it’s safe to return.
First and foremost, make sure to turn off the power to your home. Electricity and water are a dangerous mix, which is why you need to shut down the main circuit breaker. However, if it’s located in the flooded area of your home, you should leave it to an expert.
To protect yourself from electricity and chemicals that may have mixed with the water, make sure to wear protective gear, including rubber boots, gloves and gas masks.
Since the water is likely contaminated make sure to thoroughly wash any items you might use later such as glasses or dinnerware.
If the flooding only covered the ground you can protect your wooden furniture by lifting it off of the wet carpet or flooring and isolate it from the moisture using a tin foil. Remove any wet rugs and leave them out to dry.
Stop the Source of the Flood
In most cases, flooding comes from a burst pipe, pressurized water line or burst hot water heater. Therefore, it’s important to know where the shutoff valves in your home are in order to stop the water before the situation goes out of control and damage becomes extreme.
Of course, if the source of the flood is natural and is a result of heavy rainfall or flooding sadly there are no shutoff valves. However, in some cases, you can redirect at least some of the water by digging a ditch or building a dam to prevent the water from flowing towards your home.
Drying Out Your Home
Even if you somehow manage to remove all the water from your home, you’ll still be left with a lot of damp surfaces, especially if you live in an area with high humidity. If it’s safe to use power in your home, your air conditioner can help you get rid of some of the humidity. Make sure to keep your air conditioner in the fan position.
You can also use dehumidifiers and both portable and ceiling fans. They won’t help you dry your home completely but can help you control mold that’s desperately waiting for a chance like this to spread.
When drying your home, time plays a major role. The sooner you start drying your home, ideally in the first 24 hours after the disaster, the more you are likely to prevent mold growth and other infestations lurking in the water.
Get in Touch with the Insurance Company
Depending on the policy you have the homeowners’ insurance coverage will vary. The company will send a representative to assess the damage and determine whether your homeowners’ insurance can cover the loss.
To make sure you get compensated for everything, make sure to document the value of any damaged item, furniture piece or another item of value. Take a lot of photos before you start cleaning up, as well as during and after the cleanup. This will help the representative get a clearer picture of the scope of damage. In some cases, insurance company representatives may suggest hiring a professional water damage restoration service to help you during the process.