A flood can be devastating. Failing to understand the reasons why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately could be fatal. Biological pathogens, fecal matter, mold spores, dead and rotting animal flesh, can and often are brought into your home during a flood. Exposing yourself and especially young or older family members to an improperly sanitized home is not worth delaying the repairs.
Start in the basement and work your way up. Upon first returning to your home after the hurricane or flood you may experience a variety levels of devastation. If there is still standing water, and by some miracle you still have power, wearing rubber gloves and rubber boots, get the power off immediately. The power should be turned off regardless of standing water to avoid further damage to appliances or your HVAC system.
Once the power is off a thorough investigation of the entire home foundation to roof must be completed. After this investigation you will have a better understanding as to why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately and to the extent of the damage; how much, not if, professional help will be required. If you are unsure as to the extent of the damage contact a licensed professional in your area; the Red Cross often has a comprehensive list or you can use a specialty contractor such as Service Master.
First reason why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately is function, starting with appliances; remove anything electrical that came in contact with water, regardless of how slight. Carefully allow all appliances to air dry, wipe all exposed surfaces with a 25% bleach solution and test using a generator or extension cord. Any appliance that has been submerged may not survive. Cleaning with the bleach solution not only removes visible dirt and mud but removes the germs and mold spores that were carried into the home with the flood waters.
Second reason why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately is health. Exposure to flood waters brings unknown biological elements into your home. Sewage, trash, mud, feces, dead animals, mold spores, all get widely dispersed during a storm. Always wear rubber gloves and a breathing/dust mask when working in a flood damaged area of the home. By not carefully removing any and all items that may have come in contract with flood waters you are exposing you and your family to potentially deadly germs. When in doubt, throw it out. Any soft goods that cannot be thoroughly cleaned with a 25% bleach solution should be thrown away; this includes mattresses and box springs. Mold spores can develop unseen and cause significant breathing issues long after the flood has passed.
Third reason why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately is structure. Water is a powerful force; if it can carve canyons in granite it can damage the structure of your home. All foundations and load bearing walls must be exposed and properly inspected and repaired before anyone can live in the home. It may take no more than a strong gust of wind to shift a home from its footing and cause serious injury or death to the residents. Wood structural supports may appear fine at the moment but without proper air circulation and drying the moisture will remain and cause rot to weaken the structure.
There are a whole host of reasons as to why it’s important to get water or flood damage fixed immediately, but the safety and health of your family upon returning to live in the home are among the most vital. Never enter or attempt to live in a structure until you are sure it is safe to do so.