The 6 Steps You NEED To Take If Your Home Is Damaged By Flooding

Flood damage is an unfortunate reality for many people. If your home is built in a flood zone or a floodplain, you may be in danger of flooding during severe weather – and you need to know what to do if your home is damaged by flooding.

In this quick article, we’ll lay out the 6 home improvement steps you should take immediately if you are suffering from flood damage.

1. Stay Safe!

If you had to leave your home during the flooding incident, make sure you stay safe when you return to your home. FEMA recommends checking for visible structural damage to your home, including:

  • Warping 
  • Loosened or cracked foundations
  • Cracks
  • Holes
  • Downed power/utility lines

You should contact utility companies if you suspect that water, gas, sewage, or power lines have been damaged at your home. You should also turn off all water and electrical sources within your home. Turn off the main power at your fuse box – this will minimize the risk of shocks and electrocution.

2. Take Pictures Of Everything

Document the flooded area(s) of your home thoroughly. Using your smartphone, take pictures of any and all affected areas, objects, and items. This way, you will be able to document the extent of flood damage even if you must do some initial removal of water, or repairs.

3. Protect Your Health

A flooded home can be hazardous. Household chemicals or broken sewer/water lines can negatively affect your health. You should wear rubber, hip or waist-high waders when walking in flooded areas of your home. In addition, use rubber gloves when removing contaminated or flood-damaged items, and throw out any food that’s come in contact with water.

4. Contact Your Insurance Company 

Most standard insurance policies do not cover flooding, but if you live in a flood-prone area, you likely have a specific flood insurance policy through either the NFIP or a private company. 

Contact your agent ASAP after your home has flooded. You need an insurance adjuster to examine your property. Send the photos you’ve taken, and ask if you can start making repairs and removing water. Follow all of their advice and instructions precisely – this ensures that the claims process will be quick and easy.

5. Remove All The Water That You Can

After you’ve cleared doing so with your insurance adjuster, you can begin removing water from your home. You can rent a sump pump ($150-$500, depending on the size/performance) and a wet vac ($40-$130) at most hardware or home supply stores.

Use the sump pump to remove the majority of water from all flooded areas. You should be able to run a house to the outside of your home, but you may also have to use buckets to collect water. After you’ve removed most water using a sump pump, you can use your wet vac to remove water that’s collected in corners, or is otherwise hard to access with a sump pump.

After removing water, open the doors and windows of your home to allow fresh air to circulate – as long as this will not allow more water to enter your home. You may also consider setting up fans in windows and doorways to blow air out of your home – this will help reduce moisture levels more effectively.

6. Control Mold Growth 

Mold is a serious issue after flooding, and can develop in as little as 24-48 hours after a flood. Wet objects like carpeting and bedding should be removed ASAP, and most items that have been wet for more than 48 hours will have to be discarded. Get the “OK” from your insurance company before disposing of these items, and photograph them, just in case.

Use a non-ammonia detergent to clean walls, baseboards, and floors, then use a 10% bleach solution to disinfect these areas. This will inhibit mold growth.

In serious cases of flooding, DIY restoration may not be enough. Contact your insurance provider to hire a professional flood restoration service.

Prevent and Mitigate Flood Damage with this Guide! 

Flood damage is an unfortunate fact of life for many people. But with this guide, you can understand the basic precautions and steps you should take when your home is damaged by flooding. So stay safe, follow our tips, and get your life back to normal after flood damage has affected your home! 

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