Few things are as alarming as a living room flooded in a foot of water or a basement that looks like a swimming pool. Floods are terrifying and daunting to deal with, but we can help. Whether you’re dealing with a tiny leak, a burst pipe, or a tsunami, act fast to save your home.
We know a flood is scary, but try not to panic. Prioritize your safety and the safety of all household members and loved ones before you do anything else.
This article will offer tips for dealing with the aftermath of a flood and ideas for preventing house floods!
House Flooded With Water
Is your house flooded with water? First and foremost, you need to think about safety. If your house floods, follow these precautions:
- Turn off water
- Turn off electricity
- Collect valuables
- Evacuate the premises
Once everyone is safe, you can follow the instructions below to begin repairs.
How to Repair a House Flooded with Water
After you get over the shock of your house flooding, start thinking about the next steps. Repairing a house after a flood is not a simple feat, but not impossible. So, don’t worry, you can still save your home! Knowing where to start after a flood is the hardest part, but you can follow the clear steps below to begin the repair and clean-up process and move past the horrible flood.
- Call Your Insurance Company
The first thing to do is to call your insurance company. Repairing damage following a flood can be extremely costly. However, most home insurance policies will cover flood damage to some degree, but you need to alert them to the flood immediately. Once you ensure that you and everybody in your home are safe and out of the house, we recommend contacting your insurance agent.
- Assess the Damage
Once the flooding stops, whether from a water leak or rainfall, you should carefully reenter your home and assess the damage. You may get lucky, and the flood water may not invade any substantial areas in your home. You can’t proceed through the following steps until you understand the type of damage and the extent. We recommend using this time to take as many pictures and videos as possible so you can show proof of the damage before you begin any repairs.
- Remove Wet Objects and Valuables
Now, the real work begins. You need to remove all valuables and electronics from the home and clean up what you can. Do so cautiously, unplugging everything as you go, and if you aren’t sure if something is safe to touch, call an electrician for help. Frankly, you need to bring anything outside that was in the flood. The items need room to dry out, and you need space to assess the damage further and make repairs. Setting up a tarp outside can be helpful during this step.
- Remove Standing Water
Once you remove all the objects, you must remove the standing water. Standing water is extremely dangerous, so wear protective gear and use protective equipment, like rubber boots, rubber gloves, and waterproof suits, during this process, especially if you’re unsure where the flood water came from. Rainwater is safe, but sewage water could be a health hazard. You can use buckets or wet vacuums to remove the standing water.
- Begin Dehumidifying
This step is the most intensive and can take over a week to complete. It will be substantially more difficult to dehumidify your home if you have carpeted floors, drywall, and wallpaper, as these hold more moisture and take longer to dry out.
The best way to suck the moisture out is to dehumidify your home with a large dehumidifier. Typically, you need to set up the dehumidifier for at least a few days and let it run the whole time to dry out your floors and walls. During this process, you may pull out and dispose of carpets or items that seem irreparable.
- Look for Signs of Mold Spores and Mildew
As you dry out your home, look for signs of mold and contaminants. Signs of mold include rotten smells, discolored carpets and drywall, fungus, spots, and warped materials. If you find signs of mold, we recommend leaving the home and contacting a professional who can remove the bacteria safely and comprehensively.
- Consult a Contractor
If you dry your home and belongings and determine there is no mold growth, the next step may be contacting a contractor. If you have severe structural damage to your walls, floors, foundation, or even ceiling, you’ll likely need to make substantial repairs. Unless you’re extremely handy, you’ll need to reach out to a contractor.
- Make Necessary Repairs and Replacements
After consulting a contractor, schedule the necessary repairs or replace items that cannot be salvaged. Hopefully, your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover the majority of the repair costs so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Dehumidifying a House After Water Damage
As mentioned, dehumidifying your home can be a long process. Removing all moisture with a powerful dehumidifier typically takes a minimum of 48 hours. However, in severe home floods, large homes, or moist environments, it can take up to ten full days to suck out all the moisture. To speed up the process, we have a few tips for you.
- Move air naturally to speed up the process. Do this by opening windows and doors. Before doing this, ensure the outside humidity is less than 20%, otherwise, the natural air could worsen the situation.
- Move air mechanically by setting up large fans throughout your home. Try to strategically place them in areas where you can circulate more air, so hallways, doorways, and open areas. Try to find high-powered, commercial fans.
- Along with the powerful fans, set up heavy-duty dehumidifiers that will actively suck the moisture out of porous materials, including walls and floors. You can rent a commercial dehumidifier, and the more you use it, the faster it will work. Make sure you empty the water tank frequently, or they’ll stop working.
- Lastly, you can speed up the process by using wet/dry shop vacuums and sump pumps to remove excess water trapped in carpets and other soft materials.
The dehumidifying process is intense, but you must do it thoroughly and quickly to prevent mold and further damage.
Ensuring a House Doesn’t Get Flooded
One of the best ways to increase home value is to install precautions to keep the house from flooding. Unfortunately, preventing floods is not easy and takes substantial forethought. Below are the most popular ways to prevent floods and be proactive:
- Plant vegetation around your home to retain excess water
- Slop driveways, terraces, and patriots to direct water away from your home
- Build alluviums, which are manmade channels that divert water away from your home
- Construct dykes, dams, reservoirs, or holding tanks on your property
- Install drains and grates around your property
- Use sandbags around your property to stop and absorb water
These methods require you to perform construction, but if you fear a flood is coming, you can be proactive by turning off the main water supply in your home and removing valuables and absorbent objects from the floor.
Building Regulations for Elevating a House in a Flood Plain
Building regulations concerning elevating a house in a high-risk flood area vary by location. If you want to raise your home because you believe you are in a flood plain, check your local regulations, which could apply to your state, city, or community.
However, most communities erected in flood plains in the last few decades have building regulations in place to avoid flooding already.
These community regulations mean the property will likely already be elevated to stop floods, and if you plan to build a new house, you’ll be required to raise the home and adhere to basement regulations.
Documenting Any Changes to Your House After a Flooding
We cannot exaggerate the importance of documenting the flood and subsequent damage. Homeowners without flood insurance may end up paying tens of thousands to repair their homes.
The best way to ensure your insurance policy covers the repair and replacement costs is to start documenting when you know your house is in danger of flooding. So, if the rain is coming down hard or a nearby dam breaks, we recommend filming and photographing everything immediately.
You may need to move furniture and turn off the electrical systems first, but document as soon as possible. Take pictures before if you expect a flood, during, and after. Take photos of the dehumidifying and repair process. If the flood was due to a natural disaster, you can save weather reports that mention the storm’s severity.
A flooded home can seem like the end of the world, but it doesn’t have to be. Always focus on safety before you worry about your house. Contact your insurance company ASAP and document everything you can. Practice patience when drying and repairing your home, and know that the sooner you act, the more you can salvage.
It can be hard to live in a home after a traumatic flood. We buy houses in Milwaukee if you’re ready to move on from your flooded home. Believe it or not, you can sell a house fast in New Berlin following a flood if you give us a call!