Exercise caution when first entering your home. If there is still standing water, it is prudent to wear rubber boots and gloves. Turn the electricity off at the breaker box and get all electrical appliances and extension cords up on higher ground dry them out. Make sure your home is structurally safe, which means looking out for broken sharp objects on the floor and anything you might trip over. |
Boil all drinking water or use bottled water. All drinking water should be either boiled, put through a water purifier or use bottled water. Areas that are dry but have been exposed to sewage should be thoroughly washed down with a solution of household bleach and water. We recommend a 25% bleach to water solution.
If in doubt, throw it out. Toss out all water damaged rugs, particle board furniture, mattresses, suitcases, food, even photographs and books, and follow your local authority guidelines for disposal. Many electrical appliances will not survive if they have been submerged in water. Dishwashers, refrigerators and vacuum cleaners are cheaper to replace than repair. Use rubber gloves and mask to clean loose debris to not inhale any toxic particles.
Wash and dry everything you can. This includes water soaked bedding, towels, drapes, cushions and clothing using the hot sanitizing cycle on your washing machine. Dry clean heat sensitive textiles. Put dishes through the dishwasher on hot cycle.
Remove remaining water and dehumidify damp areas. Clean up the last standing water with a portable submersible sump pump and a wet dry vac. Then use a high capacity, low temperature dehumidifier to take care of the rest. An auxiliary or built in pump makes this task a lot easier. It is important to open windows and ventilate rather than turn on the heat high about 50°F in the house or use fans, which is an invitation to grow mold spores and spread them around the house. Do not try to dry out the house too quickly, because if you do it will cause wood floors to warp and buckle.
Clean all surfaces thoroughly. Wash down all surfaces, such walls, cabinets, basement floors including those which were not in direct flood contact with your bleach solution. Then wipe down with clear water. Using a vapor steam cleaner on all surfaces to disinfect is an even better solution.
Check for interior and structural damage. Remove dry wall up to and 2 feet above flood levels on walls and remove all insulation which came in contact with flood waters. It is imperative to do this if you want to avoid future mold problems. We have heard too many horror stories from people whose houses became infested with toxic mold - so it is not worth taking a chance and skipping this step. Replace hardwood flooring especially all sub floors if they have been flood soaked. Keep ventilating with fresh air until the house is completely dry. Have the duct work professionally cleaned after the house has dried out.
Inspect your electrical and plumbing systems. Have an HVAC professional inspect your electrical systems and appliances. Replace all filters and switches. Check your furnace, as a burnout of the motor may be imminent. Make sure your plumbing and toilet facilities are working.
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