Few worse things can happen to your house than a flood, regardless if it’s caused by a natural disaster or a plumbing catastrophe. If you’re lucky, the flood will be isolated in your basement, and water damage is minimal. But that is rarely the case, especially in flood-prone areas.
If your house gets flooded, here are the things that you should check first to prevent any further damage and ensure that the house is safe to be in:
Visible structural damage
If the flood was bad enough for it to have forced you to evacuate, ensure that it’s safe to go back inside upon your return. Check for visible signs of structural damage, such as warping, cracks, loose elements in the foundation, and cracks or holes in the walls and utility lines. Depending on the severity of the damage, you might be able to get it fixed with a water damage restoration service.
Turn off the main breaker from the fuse box as well as the individual fuse switches. This is crucial because when the power comes back on, there is no risk of electricity coming in contact with standing floodwater. After the remaining water is removed and if your power box has gotten wet, get an electrician to examine, clean, and dry your fuse box before turning off the power.
If the flood has been caused by a burst pipe or a faulty appliance, turn off the main water supply immediately.
In case of flood caused by natural disasters, call your city office to ensure that the storm drains are cleared and functional. This will help the water to subside faster and will prevent further water damage to your home.
Even if the floodwater is crystal clear, it can still be contaminated by sewage, bacteria, mold, and harmful chemicals. That said, always make sure to wear proper footwear when wading through the flood. If you have to touch water-damaged items, don’t forget to wear rubber gloves to avoid coming in contact with contaminants.
Food and drinks
If you weren’t able to store away your food items before the flood happened, check to see if they have been water damaged. Produce and food with non-secure packaging (e.g., paper, cardboard boxes, unsealed plastic bags, Tupperware, etc.) should be thrown out if they have come in contact with the floodwater. For food in cans, sealed plastic bags, and other types of secure packaging, you must sanitize them before storing or consumption.
Hidden water damage
Floodwater might have penetrated into the structural cavities of your home, which could mean that you have water damage underneath your floors, above your ceilings, and inside your walls without manifesting in visible signs. Needless to say, hidden water damage can eventually cause more problems for your house, such as the formation of mold and the weakening of wooden structures.
Hidden water damage can be detected using a moisture meter. Call a water damage professional to inspect your house and determine if there is water damage hidden in your floors, ceilings, or walls.
Important documents and valuables
Find your important documents and valuables as soon as possible. If they haven’t been water damaged, finding and keeping them in a safe place will prevent them from falling into standing water. Otherwise, finding these items early can increase the chances of salvaging them.
If your windows have been broken by the powerful storm winds, clear the glass as soon as possible to prevent anyone from getting hurt by the shards. If you cannot replace the windows immediately, a tarp or wooden panel can serve as temporary protection against winds and rain.
The roof might also have sustained some damage due to the storm. In severe cases, the damage might even be enough to make the roof cave in. To avoid further problems for your house, have someone inspect the roof as soon as the flooding subsides.The earlier you find issues, the better, and the less likely it will be for the damage to worsen.
Never plug in or turn on an appliance if it has been flooded. Get a professional to inspect, clean, and dry it thoroughly before using it again. Otherwise, you can get electrocuted when the moisture inside the appliance comes in contact with electricity. For severe flooding, however, it might be better to replace the appliance entirely.
If your house gets flooded, these are the first few things that you should check up on first. In doing so, you can ensure that your house is safe before returning with your family again. Furthermore, this will help you prevent any further damage to your home.