Dealing with restoration after a flood
Water from a storm or a flood, or even from a burst pipe, can be a formidable force, leaving behind dangerous debris, contaminated water and food, and conditions which must be attended to in order to prevent future health problems. What are the basic steps in water damage restoration and foundation restoration? How do you know when it is time to call in a professional to deal with flood damage?
There are two types of water that can damage your home, and each needs to be treated differently. If the water is fresh or clean (rainwater and sometimes water from a burst pipe can fall into this category), quick action and slight drywall repair may be all you need. On the other hand, contaminated sewer water, known as black water, will require a meticulous cleanup and disposal. If there is carpet involved, prepare to remove all of it and the pad underneath, as the multitude of dangerous organisms that live in black water cannot simply be eradicated from the material. If you're dealing with black water, you'll need the help of professional water damage contractor.
Time is a key factor in water removal when your home has been flooded, as the longer the building and contents remain wet, the more extensive the damage will likely be. Remove any standing water with pumps or call in flood restoration specialists to quickly eliminate the standing water. Open all doors and windows, as cross-ventilation is very effective in drying out a flooded structure. If the water damage is extensive, your best bet is to consult a professional water damage service company. Be sure to obtain a written estimate before any work is performed and check references to ensure you are hiring a quality provider.
In addition to the complications of water removal from the home and its contents, there are considerations specific to flood situations. Flood debris removal is critical, as debris can be dangerous due to sharp edges, or it may contain hazardous materials like lead or asbestos, or it could be contaminated with germs or toxic substances.
If there is any question about the safety of your drinking water after a flood, be sure to use bottled water for drinking or preparing foods, or boil the water for at least one minute and let cool before using. If you aren't able to boil water, disinfect it with 8 drops of regular household liquid bleach for every gallon of water and then let it sit for at least 30 minutes before using. Make sure your storage containers for the newly disinfected water are clean and have tight-fitting lids.
The potential damage caused by a hurricane can sometimes be limited thanks to weather forecasting, because you may know up to several days before the arrival of a hurricane. This time is well spent in home preparation activities before a hurricane, such as:
- Checking roof sheathing and gables to ensure they are properly secured to the roof
- Ensuring that double entry doors are secured at both top and the bottom
- Protecting windows with storm shutters
- Securing the garage door.
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