Water, water everywhere… although Florida’s abundant waterfront properties are one of its greatest attractions, an unfortunate reality is that the abundance of water often leads to flooding, especially after a serious storm. In this post, you’ll find some helpful tips on how to prevent damage to your home. However, it must be noted that the following advice is not intended for severe flooding. In such cases, it is best to contact a professional. If your home has sustained only relatively shallow flooding or leaks due to heavy rains, this post is for you.
The first step is to remove as much water as possible. This is more easily done if movable furniture and rugs are off the floor. Mop up as much water as you can and put wet rugs, cushions, and furniture in a place where they can dry out without dripping in the house. Floor squeegees can come in handy for directing water out of the house. Do NOT use a household vacuum to remove water. A wet-dry vacuum is recommended instead.
Once as much water as possible has been mopped up, it’s time to get air flowing through your home to dry up the rest. Turn on your air conditioner, ceiling fans, and, assuming that your electrical outlets have not been exposed to water, plug in any portable fans you may have. If the weather is clear and cool, you can open up the windows instead of using your air conditioner. Dehumidifiers can also be a big help.
This is often the trickiest part. Mold and mildew can start growing after only 24 hours of exposure to floodwater and can wreak havoc on your belongings and, more importantly, your health. Anything that has come into contact with floodwater must be either thoroughly cleaned or thrown out. The Federal Emergency Management Authority (FEMA) recommends using non-ammonia soap, detergent, or a solution of 1-1/2 cups of bleach per gallon of water. Items made of porous substances, such as wood or upholstery, may need to be thrown out if they can’t be thoroughly cleaned. Details are important—mold can easily grow behind baseboards, under flooring, and behind wall coverings. These areas must be cleaned and left to dry. Always be sure to have proper ventilation and wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and a mask, when dealing with cleaning solutions and mold or mildew.
If you are at all concerned about the structural integrity of your home, or if you think the water damage and intense cleanup is too much to handle, don’t hesitate to get professional advice. A building inspector can let you know if your home has become structurally unsafe and recommend the necessary repairs. A water damage restoration specialist can thoroughly assess the damage and help prevent the hidden dangers that floodwater can pose.
Whether your home has sustained serious flooding or only minor flooding, time is of the essence. The sooner it is cleaned up and repairs are made, the more the damage can be kept from spreading.