If you have just had a flood, leaving portions of your home underwater, you will need to work fast in getting the water out of the structure to avoid excessive damage. Depending on the severity and urgency of the issue, you may need to do the job yourself. Here are some tips to follow when trying to clean up after a flood on your own.
If the flood water comes from an outside water source, such as an overflowing river or water from a hurricane, you must be extremely careful in making sure none of the water touches exposed skin. You are at risk for infection due to the high content of bacteria in the water. For this reason, it is imperative that anyone working to remove the water wears appropriate clothing such as waders, rubber gloves, and goggles. Make sure anyone helping to clean up the water has an up-to-date tetanus shot.
Before entering the home, make sure the power is shut off. Turn it off at the main circuit board so you are positive there is no live power within the home.
Do a quick walk through of the area before you start to remove the water. Check for any wildlife that needs to be removed, such as snakes, fish, or insects that have been displaced from their habitats due to the flooding, and remove them from your home if necessary.
Since the electricity should be turned off when removing water, water may need to be taken out via bucket. This is time-consuming, so make sure you have several helpers if possible. If you are able to get an outside power source, hook up a water pump via extension cord to remove the water from the area.
Dry The Area
The best way to dry an area after a flood is through cross-ventilation. Open all windows and both exterior and interior doors so the entire area that was affected will dry out. This may take several days, but with help from area fans and air conditioning when power is restored, the humidity levels will be kept to a minimum and the area will dry. Never use heat to dry a flooded area, as it will increase the humidity, making areas more prone to mold.
Ward Off Mold
Remove any carpeting and carpet pads underneath and replace with new carpeting later. Carpet padding acts as a sponge is will grow mold underneath your carpeting. Cut any wet drywall portions of your walls and replace with new pieces. After the area is completely dry, mix eight ounces of bleach and a gallon of water and place some in a spray bottle.
Use this mixture to spray down all surfaces where water was touching. The bleach will kill mold spores before they have a chance to grow. Allow the bleach to sit for a few minutes and then wipe off with a piece of cloth. Afterwords, use a commercial-grade mildew remover to further safeguard your home against the growth of mold.
If you need further help with water damage restoration after a flood, reach out to a local company, like Central Flood Management Inc, to find out how to proceed.