Posted on April 26, 2017
Serious floods in our homes are not something to be taken lightly and generally it is important to bring in a professional to help restore your home after severe flood damage. Check your home owner’s policy for flood damage cover and if this is not in place, you should perhaps have this added on to your policy for peace of mind.
What are the most important things to check after a flood?
The most important things to remember when looking at restoration of your home after a flood would be items in your home that could be damaged and suffer long term effects due to the water getting into them. These five items include:
• HVAC – when your air-conditioner and heating units get filled with fluids, the pilot lights go out automatically. They could also contain dirt and contaminants. This system may need to be professionally cleaned and overhauled for it to work properly again without being a health risk.
• Appliances – some household appliances may be able to be saved and if they are only wet on the surface may be salvageable. Other items that get full of liquids might short circuit, causing power outages and possibly even release harmful gasses.
• Drywall and wallboard – these may need to be completely removed and replaced as they tend to soak up liquids as well as any contaminants and tend to lose strength. It is best to replace these completely if they get wet to reduce the chance of mold, mildew and other contaminants remaining within these surfaces
• Electrical wiring and piping – check all of your pipes for damage to prevent further problems later on. Inspect electrical wiring in your house to ensure there is no stripping and no liquids have got inside the cable casing.
• Wooden items – Floors and furniture that contain wood may end up becoming rotten, warp, bow and crack if they are not dried properly. Veneered furniture may need to be discarded if water has gotten inside it as it will swell and rot from inside.
What do I check on when I can enter my flood damaged home?
Once your home has been declared safe to enter after a flood, you can check on the following to ensure that your home is relatively safe for occupation:
• Ensure no furniture is at risk of collapse or falling over
• Check that you have safe drinking water
• Check walls, floors, stairs and pilings for structural damage
• Check for damaged gas and power lines and ensure no gas is being leaked
• Ensure there are no rodents or reptiles in your home, washed in by the flood
• Take inventory of the damage, write notes and take photos
While you are waiting for a cleanup crew or for your insurance to give the go ahead, you might want to start removing rubbish and debris from your home. Make sure you and anyone helping you are wearing protective gear such as boots, gloves and possibly hard hats if needed. Cover holes in the walls, windows, doors and roof with tarps and plastic. Open all the windows and doors to help start the drying out process. List all of the items that need to be discarded and replaced as well as which items may be able to be saved.
Once you have done what you can, wait for a professional to deal with the clean-up, especially if there is a chance of contamination of the flood water with sewerage water, chemicals or other harmful substances.