After a Flood: How to Get the Water Out of Your House
Reclaim Your Water-Damaged Home
Destructive, widespread floods are regular news stories these days. But, reality is even scarier when our own homes fall victim to the floodwaters—when it’s our own submerged houses that are being shown on the news.
What’s to be done after the flood waters have gone down? What can be done to fix the damage caused to our buildings and belongings?
It can feel overwhelming, for sure. But by following specific steps, and putting in some elbow grease, it is possible to remove the water from your house, repair the damage, and once again live comfortably in your home. Although, we always suggest relying on a professional water damage restoration company to help.
Flood Water Do’s and Don’ts
- Treat flood water as if it’s contaminated, because there is a good chance it could be.
- Wear waterproof boots and gloves.
- Disinfect all surfaces when flood water has abated.
- Protect cuts on your skin and wash them after contact with flood water.
- Do not keep any food that has come in contact with flood water, including canned food.
- Do not touch flood water, unless necessary. If it is necessary, wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not let children, seniors or pets come in contact with flood water.
How to Remove Flood Water from a House
Removing standing flood water from your home is the first priority. Take action by removing water as soon as possible.
There are three ways the average homeowner can remove flood water. The first is with a shop-vac; the second is with a water pump designed to draw in water, and the third is by hand with buckets and containers.
When using a shop-vac, be aware that the filter may need to be removed before employed to suck up flood water. The instruction manual or online instructions will contain this information. Be sure to follow any and all safety instructions on any tool or equipment you use.
Clear Drainage Areas
While the ground around your home may be saturated, it may not take long for the moisture to settle and the ground be again able to receive more water. In preparation, clear your home’s drains. Additionally, if there is standing water around your foundation, create channels for this water to run away from the house and into nearby sewage systems.
Flood water can deposit leaves, dirt, and garbage into gutters along the street. Be proactive about removing this debris to free gutters to drain water. Unblocked gutters will expedite the movement of water into sewers and drains.
Getting Your House Dried Out
When all flood water has been sucked out, bailed out, and mopped up, the task of drying out the house begins.
Harness the power of the sun. Take as many items as possible outside and allow the sun’s rays to dry them. Open windows and doors to allow moisture to escape and fresh, drying air to enter.
Run a dehumidifier. Most people employ as many fans as they can find to help dry the house. Position fans to point toward windows and doors so that moist air is drawn outside. Run ceiling fans simultaneously to circulate air and help the drying process. When it comes to properly drying a space after water intrusion, you should contact the professionals – since water might still be present in places not visible to the eye.
Find Areas of Trapped Mud or Water
There may be hidden areas in your home where mud or water is trapped. Be diligent about finding these places and getting rid of mud or water. Pry off baseboards, remove outlet covers, and check under appliances, built-ins, and cabinets. Remove mud. Mop out water. Direct fans into the spaces to dry them out.
While it is tempting to by-pass hidden spaces, these very areas provide a friendly environment for mold. Mold can be dangerous and very difficult to eradicate.
The Dangers of Trapped Moisture
Damage caused by floodwaters is usually painfully obvious, and most homeowners are highly motivated to clean up and initiate repairs. What sometimes gets put aside, as we mentioned earlier, is attention to the less-than-obvious places where damage has occurred. Water or moisture in hidden places creates great risks.
Trapped Moisture Compromises Structural Integrity
Water or moisture that gets stuck between walls may lead to rotted posts and supports. This has a direct bearing on the ability of the walls to hold up the house and the roof.
Mold Growth Poses a Health Risk
Some kinds of mold produce spores that are toxic to humans and cause serious illness. Identify hidden areas of moisture and dry them out. Mold on those surfaces may be killed with bleach and removed. Any moisture left untreated provides a hospitable environment for mold growth. When it comes to mold, the smartest thing to do is to contact a professional mold removal and remediation company. You should never try to remove mold yourself.
Home Values May Drop
Homes that have endured floods sometimes see a reduction in their sale value. However, this can be minimized when homeowners take rapid and thorough measures to remove all water, including areas of trapped moisture. Homes that have not been so treated, and instead are hazardous to live in, will be very difficult to sell.
Your Restored and Dry Home
A flood can be a terrifying and devastating event to go through. However, by following the steps above, homes can be fully restored. It is possible to remove floodwater, clean and dry out possessions, and successfully address areas of hidden moisture.
A few pieces of the right equipment—such as a dehumidifier, water pump, and a few fans—will make all the difference.
You can make your house safe and comfortable for your family again.