After flood waters subside and cleanup is complete, people will begin rebuilding their lives by returning to their homes or businesses. Unfortunately, the wooden parts of the house or the office absorb vast amounts of water that make it swell or fall off. Likewise, quick rebuilding can bring about mold, infestations, and deterioration on wood and other wall coverings. Also, because floodwaters are dirty, the building materials that had absorbed such water needs to be replaced before proceeding with the rebuilding.
What to check for water damage
Before beginning the rebuilding process, make sure that everyone is out of harm’s way from falling materials, crests, and fire. Since flood water brings contamination, you must remove affected parts and disinfect the area before using them again.
1. Claims for flood insurance
Contact your insurance provider at once if damages caused by floods are part of your policy. Before the adjuster arrives, begin the clean-up process by drying the items that can be saved and takes photos of them for inventory. Then, clear the house of any debris to make it easier for the adjuster to see the damage. Retain damaged materials for proof of loss because they can add to the insurance premium you can get.
2. Electrical systems
Check whether or not all electric and gas services are running before entering the premises. Inhaling the gas can be dangerous to your respiratory system, while the wet area can still cause electrical short circuits. Make sure that you turn off the circuit breaker before the flood reaches the outlets because it can generate electricity to travel around your residence or office.
3. Food and water sanitation
Purify your water until your local water company or the health department declares your water source safe for drinking and cooking. It also helps to keep your water sterilized for taking a bath and washing dishes to avoid diseases.
You can strain water via a clean cloth or filter before boiling it for at least a minute and letting it cool down. If you are unable to boil the water, use eight drops of unscented chlorine bleach on clear water or 16 drops for dirty water. Stir the mix for a minute and let it be for half an hour before using it. Purification tablets and iodine will not work because it cannot scatter throughout the entire water.
Meanwhile, commercially-prepared food in tins cans or pouches is still safe for consumption as long as they do not show any dents or holes. If the can’s shape is still intact, remove the label before rinsing. Then, disinfect the can using a mix of one tablespoon of bleach for every gallon of clean water. Relabel the containers after cleaning using a marker, and don’t forget to include its expiration date.
Finally, wooden cutting boards and eating utensils contaminated by flood must be thrown away immediately. The same goes for infected baby bottles and pacifiers. Meanwhile, wash non-contaminated pots, pans, dishes, and utensils with hot soapy water before sanitizing them in boiling water or soaking them in a mix of chlorine and clean water.
4. Furnishings and carpets
Take out all bedding, furniture, and carpentry to assess whether they are for discarding or restoration. Do not use beddings soaked in flood water anymore and throw them away at once.
5. Check the walls
Even if they don’t look damaged, flooded walls may retain mold and moisture that can lead to structural decay. Open the walls to assess the damage and remove any water deposits at once.
Meanwhile, remove the baseboards and cut holes to drain uninsulated walls. For insulated walls, remove its interior until a height above the floodwater level.
Throw away flooded drywalls and open undamaged panels for cleaning and reinstallation. Likewise, discard wet insulation and replace them with new ones. Remove all mud in the interior and spray the plates with disinfectant to kill prevailing fungi or mold.
After cleaning the walls, dry them quickly using fans and dehumidifiers. You must leave them open for a month to keep them dry. While you are leaving the walls to dry, choose replacement items that perform better against floods like ceramic tile and foam insulations, to name a few.
Hire a reliable cleaning company
You can perform all of the tasks mentioned above by yourself. However, it would be challenging to complete the clean-up itself if you’re juggling time with work and other responsibilities. Therefore, it’s best to hire a water removal company in St Louis MO that uses environmentally-safe materials to get rid of bacteria and mold.