After a flood hits, you could be looking at major repairs if your home was in the line of fire. Before moving back in, and before calling your insurance company to talk about rebuilding, you’ll need to do a bit of cleanup to make sure you have a sense of the scale of the damage. If you’re not ready to do the cleanup yourself, there are plenty of water damage northern va services that will help do most of the heavy lifting for you, as well as giving you tips on how to prevent water damage in the future. However, if you plan on taking on the job without help, you’ll need to prepare yourself before starting. Getting the right tools and preparing yourself for what you may find is part of the process. Before you make all the necessary calls, here are a few tips for cleaning up your home area after a large flood.
1. Check the Area for Safety
To reduce the amount of water damage in your home after a flood, it’s best not to let too much time go by before cleaning. However, you don’t want to simply barge into your home after a flood. There are a few reasons why this isn’t a good move. First, your home’s infrastructure could be affected. If you see large parts of the firmament caving or falling apart, stay out of there. It’s not worth the risk to try and do damage control by yourself, especially if your roofing and floors aren’t stable. Secondly, you don’t know what’s gone down since you left your residence. A flood brings a lot of unpleasant aspects with it, such as snakes, insects, and other critters who may have coasted in on a wave. Some of these may be dangerous, and you certainly don’t want to walk into an infested or unsafe home without protection. If you’ve checked your home for infestation and safety hazards and sounded the all-clear, you can start your cleanup.
2. Do a Water Check
Even if your home was lucky enough to suffer minimal damage, there are other factors to consider. For instance, since floods can affect electricity, piping, and other concerns, you may find that your water either isn’t running or isn’t safe to drink or use yet. If your water isn’t safe to use, you’ll probably be able to tell from the smell or look of it. Your best bet is to stay clear of your residence if you believe that the water is toxic. It won’t do you any good to try cleaning your home with unsanitary water. If the water has been shut off in your area, you’ll need to hold off on cleaning as well.
3. Drain Flooded Areas Slowly and with Caution
During a flood, home basements and first floors may suffer a fair amount of damage. If your basement or living area is flooded and needs to be drained, use caution. While you may want to find the quickest way to let all the water out, this actually isn’t the best or safest method. Since flooding creates a fair amount of pressure, you want to take the job of draining extremely seriously. Letting the water out too quickly could create a pressure shift that causes your home to collapse. Needless to say, you don’t want to take chances with this. If you’re worried about draining an area of your home, call in the professionals to help out. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to do something you’re not 100% sure about.
4. Wear Protective Materials
While cleaning and taking stock of the damage, keep yourself protected at all times. That means wearing full-body gear, protective eyewear, and gloves while cleaning and inspecting the damage. Remember: You don’t know what kinds of things you’re going to find in your home. In addition to bugs and snakes, you could be looking at downed electrical wires, contaminated water, and a whole lot of other dangerous things you just don’t want to make contact with. You’ll also be using your hands to clean more than anything else since you won’t be able to use electricity and should stay away from household cleaning tools like vacuums. Keep yourself as dry and protected as you can while cleaning your home.
5. Make Lists and Take Photos
One of the best ways not to get overwhelmed by the amount of damage you’re looking at is to keep a running list of all the items, big and small, that have to be tended to. This will also be helpful to cite when speaking to your insurance. Take as many pictures of the damage as you can so that you can keep a record and get your claim filed more promptly.