What to do after your home has been water damaged by flooding

There are many reasons a home can be flooded – flash flooding from a blocked street drain, heavy rain, river banks bursting due to king tides, plumbing mishaps and damaged pipes that fail. All of which can cause mild to severe water damage in your home.

Is my home safe to enter after a flood?

When a house is flooded it can cause major problems for the structure of your home, your belongings and health of your family environment. As flood water can contain mud, wildlife, rubbish and other contaminants. Cleaning up is a long process and much will need to be sanitised and or discarded. A severe flood may even damage ducts, air conditioning units, the roofing and sometimes even the foundation.

The first thing after a flood is to call your insurance company. If you are covered for flooding they will advise on what they need from you in regards to making your claims. Secondly it is best to get your home checked over by a water damage expert to ensure that it is safe to enter structurally. Depending on the severity of the flooding, major damage can occur to buildings during a flood.

The big cleanout begins

After you have been given the all clear to enter your home you will need to start the big cleanout. The first step is to shovel out all the mud, and wash away from hard surfaces. Most furniture will also need to be moved out of the home. Mattresses should always be disposed of, as well as any soft toys and decor that can’t be machine washed, and upholstered furniture should only be cleaned by a professional if not, they may be too contaminated to be salvaged.

Photographs, books and any important paperwork can be popped into a snaplock bag, frozen and cleaned later on. They will need to dry slowly and carefully, while sometimes need professional cleaning and restoration services.

Clothing, toys, bedding and soft furnishings should all be washed on hot cycles to kill any germs. All kitchenware and harder toys should be disinfected. Cupboards and counters in the kitchen need to be cleaned the same way before kitchenware can be stored again. In fact all surfaces within your home should be cleaned with hot water and heavy duty cleaner.

Mould after a flood

Sometimes after flood waters recede there has already been a significant amount of time for mould and mildew to develop in your home. If you see the tell tale signs of mould, it is best to leave it to a professional to assess the situation. Mould spores spread and scatter so easily within a house, and breathing them in can be harmful to your health. If you do need to keep working on cleaning out your home in the interim, be sure to wear a two-strap protective mask to prevent breathing in the mould spores, and do not do anything that may cause the mould to spread further.

Ceilings and walls after flooding

Sometimes walls will need to be remediated professionally or fully replaced. It depends on the severity and depth of the flood waters and their contaminants. Once again it is best to have your building fully assessed by a flood damage expert to see what needs to be done. Sometimes if flood depths are high enough even roof insulation will need to be replaced. Sometimes it can be salvaged, depending on it’s type and the damage that has occurred. Plaster and paneling can often be saved, but air must be circulated in the wall cavities to dry the studs and sills.

Electrical and appliances in the flooded home

All electricals must be switched off and inspected by an electrician before they can be turned back on. The wiring must be completely dried out, even behind the walls. Mud can be widespread and possibly may have contaminated electrical components.

Appliances may obtain stains, odors, silt deposits, and gritty deposits and will need to be serviced, cleaned and sanitised. Running equipment before it is properly cleaned could seriously damage it and/or shock you. Professional cleaning and servicing is recommended for electronics, TVs and radios, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. The hard exterior can be hand cleaned. All metallic appliances that have been flooded should be properly grounded to prevent electric shock.

Flooded flooring

All carpets must be removed so that a water damage expert can inspect the subflooring and commence professional floor drying services as soon as possible.

Wooden floors should be dried gradually. Sudden drying could cause cracking or splitting. Wood fly drying specialists can advise on the correct procedures and timeframes.

How ventilation systems can help

After a home has been flooded it is extremely important first of all that a structural drying service has been commenced. There will always be an excess of build up in moisture and risk of mould unless you get a specialist in to set up effective ventilation within your home. Roof ventilation will help with completely drying out the roof cavity and ceiling while sub-floor ventilation will ensure that underneath your floors get the drying they need to combat water damage.

Zephyr have a team of ventilation specialists who can visit your home and provide professional advice on the best ventilation system for your type of property. Give us a call and one of our staff will assist you with your questions on water damage today.