What To Do When Your House Floods - Expert Tips

September 14, 2018

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When water starts coming into your house, the natural reaction to have is panic. That is entirely normal because water can cause some severe and costly destruction. You can eliminate some of that feeling by knowing ahead of time what to do when your house floods.

As soon as you notice that your home is filling up with water, there are steps that you should take. First, make sure you and your family aren’t in any danger, and then see if you can stop the flow of water. If you can’t, do what you can to minimize it and the damage it’s causing. After the water has finished coming in, you can start working on clearing it out, or you can call a water damage restoration company like 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte to do it for you.

What to Do if Your House Starts Flooding

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There are several reasons that your house may begin to flood, and it’s not always expected. With a hurricane or other severe weather on the horizon, you may get a bit of notice about precipitation coming your way. That’s when you have time to take precautions to protect your property somewhat in hopes that it will keep the damages to a minimum.

Sometimes Mother Nature can dump an enormous amount of water in a few moments seemingly out of nowhere. Other times you may have a pipe burst, a toilet might overflow, or your water heater can cause significant water damage problems. In any event, your immediate and swift reaction is what’s going to help in saving what may be your biggest investment ever.

If you are dealing with a flooded house inside, your first step should be stopping the flow of water whenever possible. When fighting against outside water coming in, that may be a feat that cannot be accomplished without having the necessary sandbags and other apparatus to block the force. Severe storms are something that you should never try and take on alone. Water coming in at a fast rate from a hurricane or overflowing river are cases when you should evacuate until the water recedes on its own. Your local news channel or weather reporter will tell you when you need to leave your home. If they suggest it, you should do it to protect yourself and your family. Your house is something that you can worry about later.

If it’s something within your home that’s causing the issue, locate it and do what you can to fix it, even if it’s only temporary until an expert can come and look at it. Shut off the water source to the appliance if you know where it is. If that isn’t something that you can do, you have to shut off the water to the entire house to keep the problem from getting even bigger. After you have done that, you should shut off the electricity at the fuse box if possible. Do not wade through water to get to it. When it looks as though you aren’t going to be able to reach it safely, call an electrician to come in and do it for you. They have the proper knowledge and experience to do it without getting harmed.

 Document Flooding For Your Insurance Company

Now that you have ensured that everything has come to a stop and you are safe, you should make a record of all the damages that have already occurred for your insurance company. Not all insurance policies cover flooding, so check to make sure that yours does. If you're located in an area where flooding is likely, you most likely have coverage as a precaution especially if you purchased your home through a mortgage company or bank. It's something they require to protect theirs and your investment.

Take pictures of everything that has been damaged. Smartphones or digital photography is going to be your best method so that you can quickly upload the images and send them directly to your insurance agent. The faster you get your claim into your provider, the quicker they can start working on it so that you can get your repairs done.

You should not start making any repairs to your home until you have successfully discussed with your insurance provider precisely what kind of reimbursements you are qualified for. If you cause more problems by trying to fix something, you may void your coverage, and it could cost you more money in the long run.

If your house flooded with no flood insurance, unfortunately, you are not likely to get any reimbursement from your homeowner’s policy. There may be ways to claim the issue another way, depending on how the flooding happened. That’s something that you will want to discuss in detail with your agent if you don’t have the appropriate coverage. They can talk you through any options that you may have.

Start Your Flooded House Clean Up

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After you have confirmed with your insurance company that everything is in order for your claim, you can start your flooded house cleanup process. If you plan to do the work yourself, you are going to need:

  • Industrial fans
  • Sump pump
  • Wet vacuum
  • Rubber gloves and boots
  • Disinfectant cleaning solution
  • Broom and mop
  • Sponges
  • Scrubbing brushes
  • Dust mask
  • Trash bags
  • Dumpster
  • Shovel
  • Tools

Your primary objective is to get all the water out of the home and dry it out as much as possible before starting any restoration. There are companies like 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte that can come in and take care of the entire job for you with their professional equipment and many years of experience in doing so. They will work with your insurance company, and you may be able to have the service covered by your policy. Then, you can have the job done exactly how it’s supposed to be without having to do any of the work yourself.

When repairing your flooded home is a task you want to tackle on your own, you have to use your equipment to get as much of the water out as you can. Open the windows and doors if possible to start airing out the residence. Remove any possessions that have been damaged. Heat or air conditioning can be utilized to make the process faster if you are capable of turning on your electricity.

Following the water removal, check these areas for damages:

  • Walls
  • Carpet
  • Floor padding
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Rugs
  • Furniture

Some of them, certainly those that haven’t been in contact with water for over 24 hours, are  likely going to be salvageable. If the water has been sitting for longer than that, there is a higher risk for mold growth. In any case, make sure that you protect yourself from what could be contaminated items by wearing rubber gloves and a mask.

When your belongings are questionable as to whether or not they are going to be able to be saved, take a picture of it and document how long you’ve had it and what the original purchase price was. These are things that can be added to your insurance claim. A lot of times your best bet is going to be throwing them out.

Repairing Your Flooded Home

water damage repair in Cornelius NC

So, your house flooded from a pipe that burst, a malfunctioning appliance, or a weather incident. You have contacted your insurance provider and filed your claim and completed the drying out process. Now, you look around, and you can see much more clearly everything that has occurred. You stand back asking yourself where to begin with the repairs.

The level of repairs necessary is going to be dependent on how much water entered your home and how long it sat there. That’s why it’s essential to get it dried out as soon as possible. If you had to evacuate because of severe weather for a lengthy period, you are going to be better off calling in a water damage and restoration company like 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte if you are located in the Charlotte, NC area. It’s a massive job that’s going to be handled appropriately when left to the professionals.

Perhaps one of the most significant concerns, when there is sitting water, is mold growth. It can start forming after just 24 hours. A small amount of mold can be removed and disinfected possibly saving whatever has been in contact with it. You will want to use a non-ammonia cleaner or a mixture with at 10% bleach in it to ensure the complete removal of the mold and prevent it from it coming back. You can do this on walls, floors, and possessions that were caught up in the flood.

You have to check all subfloors for water damage. Expose as much of it as you can to get them thoroughly dry if the damage isn’t extensive enough to require replacement. Your hardwood flooring needs to be dried slowly to prevent any buckling or cracking. Carpets and rugs should be cleaned by a professional if you plan to keep them.

With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte knows the proper procedure for cleaning and disinfecting whatever you plan to hold on to so that you aren’t dealing with safety issues in the future.

What to do After a Flood Occurs: Final Steps

Your house flooding is an emergency situation no matter how it happens. Storms may be a bit more traumatic for some people, but regardless of the way it occurred, the primary focus is getting things back to your version of normal. You can’t expect that to happen overnight, so you have to be patient with the process. Following all the appropriate steps is key to getting back to a true normal, but it’s going to take some time. Even when there is only minimal damage that merely requires a dry out and nothing else, you can’t rush the process.

There may be a reconstruction or a remodel of your property that is required. That’s something that could take weeks or even months, depending on what has to be done and how long it takes your insurance company to come up with a dollar amount they are going to grant you. Reconstruction will involve updates to your home, which can be nice when they are completed, but you have to keep the cost in mind. Replacing floors and walls can get costly, and unless you are a construction-type, you’re also going to have to pay for labor.

If you’re going to hire the work out, first, you should explore contractors in your area that specialize in water damage restoration. Have them come to your home and do an evaluation of your damages. There may be problems that you don’t see at first. Water can seep into just about any spot, so you’re want an experienced professional that knows what they are looking for.

Be careful, however, that you haven’t selected someone that is going to go through and do replacements on things that haven’t been affected just to increase your bill. Bring in a friend or family member that you trust to be there with you when you get your evaluation and estimate if you are concerned about not knowing what to expect. The contractor should be able to give you a complete run-down of the damages and how much it’s going to cost you to fix them.

Feel free to get several estimates so that you can compare prices and choose the one that is best for what you want and your price range. Remember that cheaper isn’t always better. This is your home, and you’re going to want it as close to what it was before. Never sacrifice quality for a lower price.

Timing Is Everything for a Flooded House Cleanup

Above everything else, you want to be certain that you react quickly after flooding in your home occurs. The longer water sits, the more chances for mold, rot, and bacteria. Each of these, when cleaned up swiftly, can prevent more costly problems for you down the road. A professional company like 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte knows how crucial it is to get to work quickly when your home is under water. Call them if you are in the Charlotte, NC area right now if you need assistance or you want to learn more about the emergency flood services they have to offer you.

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