So, you’ve got water damage. Now what? If you’re a motivated homeowner who wants to take charge of the situation, it’s important to understand what you’re about to experience. Water damage cleanup involves more than simply drying out soggy carpets. You’ll also have to deal with all kinds of flood-related problems including malfunctioning electrical systems, replacing damaged drywall, and preventing mold growth.
First, when returning home and discovering water damage, your first concern should be for your safety. Remember, water and electricity are a deadly combination. If the power is still on, the risk of electrocution is extremely high. If the power is out, make sure to keep it off until the home has been inspected by an electrician. Either way, contact your electrical utility before entering the home.
Is the home structurally sound and safe to enter? If not, don’t go in. It’s not worth risking your life. Another danger comes from gas. If you smell gas or hear hissing sounds, get out. Do not use any open flames until you can be sure that there aren’t any gas leaks or trapped gas. Contact your gas utility – after you’ve safely exited the home.
Once your home is safe to enter, the drying out process begins. Be careful entering as hidden damage is common, including damage to foundations. If you have flood insurance, take extensive pictures to document the damage. Everything that got wet must be either thrown away or cleaned and disinfected. Remember, floodwaters often contain sewage and chemicals. Throw away all food, even canned food, that has come in contact with the flood waters.
If you have a flood-damaged septic system, cess pool, or leaching system, get that serviced right away because these damaged systems are serious health hazards.
Get Rid of the Mud – Before drying out the home, get rid of the mud. This is best done before it dries. Shovel out as much as possible and then hose the home down – making sure that the electricity is off. You will later need an electrician to replace any damaged outlets. Don’t forget to hose out any heating or air conditioning ducts that have been.