7 Things to Know When Restoring Your House After a Flood
It is natural for us to want to regain a sense of normalcy after a crisis strikes. This is the reason why a lot of people think about getting their home back to look like its original state after a flood, or even use it as an opportunity to finally do that remodel they’ve been planning for a while now. However, homeowners must keep in mind that there’s more to flood recovery than just restoring the physical appearance of your home. What’s more important, is to make sure that your home is safe. Make sure you have a flood policy as an add-on to a reliable homeowners insurance plan.
Safety First and Always
There are two aspects that you should take a look into. First, is the structural integrity of your home. And second, the water damage’s effect on your indoor air quality. You see, water damage can result in the growth of molds that release air contaminants, putting your family’s health at risk.
These contaminants can potentially cause allergies, aggravate existing respiratory conditions, and even lead to poisoning. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about mold mitigation in a bit.
Recording Flood Damage
For now, what you want to do is to document the extent of the damage. Don’t start fixing or even cleaning things up just yet. Take photos and videos of the damage’s raw state. Even a little bit of cleanup can potentially reduce the coverage you’ll get from your insurance company.
Call Your Insurance Company
After careful documentation, the next thing that you want to do is to contact the insurance company as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours.
In the event that the flood has affected an entire community, then you’d probably find it more convenient to directly contact the insurance company’s headquarters, especially if you can’t contact the local representative given the number of people contacting him, as he’s possibly dealing with the same crisis himself.
Anyway, aside from confirming the extent of your coverage, don’t forget to make the insurance company aware of the cleaning and repairs that you’re planning on doing and ask for their advice. Finally, don’t forget to document every conversation and change (whether in simple cleaning or repairs) that happens. This will help in filing your claims later on.
Dry Out Your Home
Once the legalities have been sorted out, we can now start cleaning. The first thing that you want to do is to drain out all the water that has pooled and dry out the space as much as you can. You will need a sump pump and a wet vac in order to get the water out. Professionals use a moisture meter in order to determine how much moisture is left in wooden fixtures, flooring, and furniture. You can get one yourself to use with a commercial dehumidifier to further speed up the drying process. Don’t forget to use personal protective equipment like gloves and masks to protect you from the contaminants that might be lurking in your air already. You will need them while handling your cleaning equipment as well.
Once the area is ready for cleaning, all of the puddles have been pumped out and dried up, you can now begin removing any damaged items that are beyond salvaging. Again, document along the way and make sure that the insurance company has given you the go-signal to do so. There are a lot of disinfecting supplies that can help get rid of mold. However, you can also make a cleaning solution on your own by mixing one part of bleach with 10 parts of water. If the fumes are too much for you to handle, then you can use vinegar as an alternative as well. Just don’t use vinegar and bleach together as they are not chemically compatible.
There are also other pieces of equipment that you can use in order to make your mold remediation task easier. An air mover, for instance, can be used to lift up excess moisture from damp surfaces, preventing further mold growth. We don’t recommend using an air mover if you haven’t gotten rid of the preexisting mold in your space, though, as it can cause cross-contamination with other rooms in the house.
When in doubt, it’s best to leave mold mitigation to the hands of professionals instead.
Replace Damaged Items and Floor
Once you’re sure that the mold issue has been eliminated, you can now move on with the renovation stage of the process. Find the root cause of the flooding, and deal with that first. Then, move on to replacing damaged items and flooring. Don’t take your chances in attempting to salvage heavily damaged pieces as you might save an entire mold population in the process. It’s better to dispose of and replace them instead.
To Sum Up…
Itching to clean up and start renovating after a flood? Before you touch anything be sure to contact your insurance agent first and document the damage.
It is only after they have given you the go signal can you proceed with the cleanup and renovation process with the help of the equipment and methods we have mentioned above. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help as well, especially when it comes to mold mitigation. If you do not like the way your homeowners insurer has handled your claim. It may be time to switch homeowners insurance.
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