What to do if your house floods
Experiencing a flood in your home can be a devastating and overwhelming situation. Water damage can wreak havoc on your property, and belongings. However, staying prepared and knowing what immediate actions to take can make a significant difference in mitigating the damage and getting your life back on track. We'll show you what to do if your house floods, ensuring you can act quickly and effectively during this challenging time.
Prioritize Safety First
The safety of yourself and your family should be the top priority when dealing with a flooded house. Before entering the property, ensure the following:
- Turn Off Electricity. Water and electricity are a deadly combination. If it is safe to do so, switch off the main electrical supply to prevent electrical hazards.
- Check for Gas Leaks. If your house uses natural gas, smell for any gas leaks. If you suspect a leak, leave the premises immediately and contact the gas company.
- Wear Protective Gear. When entering the flooded area, wear rubber boots, gloves, and a mask to protect yourself from potential contaminants.
Stop the Water Source (If Possible)
If the flooding is caused by a burst pipe or any other controllable factor, try to stop the water source as quickly as possible. Locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it off to prevent further water damage.
Document the Damage for Your Insurance Company
Before starting any cleanup or restoration efforts, document the flood damage thoroughly. Take photographs or videos of the affected areas, including damaged items and structural issues. These records will be invaluable for insurance claims and assessing the extent of the damage.
Notify your insurance company about the flood as soon as possible. Most homeowner's insurance policies cover certain types of water damage, but the specifics may vary. Discuss the situation with your agent and inquire about the coverage and claim process. Be sure to provide them with the documentation you gathered to support your claim. They may recommend a few water damage restoration companies, but you can also search your local area as well to see who has good reviews!
Call a Water Damage Restoration Company
Once it is safe to do so, contact your local SERVPRO team to begin the cleanup process to prevent mold growth and further damage. SERVPRO of Lee and South Chatham Counties will typically follow a system like this:
- Remove Water. Use pumps, wet-dry vacuums, or buckets to remove standing water from your property.
- Dry Out the Area. Utilize fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process. This step is crucial in preventing mold and mildew growth.
- Dispose of Contaminated Items. Discard any items that have been in contact with floodwater and cannot be properly sanitized. This includes food, cosmetics, and some porous materials.
- Sanitize and Disinfect. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces, floors, and belongings that come in contact with floodwater to eliminate harmful bacteria and pathogens.
Preventive Measures for the Future
Once your home is restored, take steps to minimize the risk of future flooding:
- Elevate Electrical Systems. If you live in a flood-prone area, consider elevating electrical outlets, switches, and appliances above the expected flood level.
- Install Sump Pumps. Sump pumps can help remove water from your basement during flooding incidents.
- Seal Foundation Cracks. Regularly inspect and seal any cracks in your home's foundation to prevent water seepage.
- Proper Landscaping. Ensure the ground slopes away from your home's foundation to direct water away from the house.
Experiencing a house flood can be an overwhelming and emotionally draining experience. However, by following these steps, you can take control of the situation and minimize the damage caused. Remember, safety should always come first. Seek professional help from a water damage restoration company when necessary and take preventive measures to protect your home from future flooding incidents. With a proactive approach and the right assistance, you can overcome the challenges of a flooded house and restore your home to its former beauty.