Cleaning Up After A Flood

If you’ve ever been a victim of a flood – whether it’s a little bit of standing water in your basement or your entire community, you know what a necessary evil it is to clean up. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take – and some tools you can purchase – to help you clean up the wet mess. Please keep in mind that while these are steps and tools we’ve found to be useful, if you have a lot of standing water, you may be in over your head (literally!) and should call a professional to help you clean up.

(Note: Entering a room with standing water can be dangerous – there can be structural damage and electricity and water don’t mix well. Make sure you have taken appropriate precautions before entering property that could be compromised.)

Call your insurance company.

Remember that flood insurance policy you had to purchase? This is why you bought it. Give your insurance company a call to start a claim immediately. Make sure you review the rules with them – what are you and what aren’t you supposed to do. You want to play by their rules to maximize the amount of support you’ll get from your insurance claim.

Get remaining water out.

If you have water in your home, the first step is to remove it. You don’t need to do this the old-fashion way, with buckets. Pump it out with a Shop-Vac® Pump Vac. With this vacuum, the pump feature allows you to *pump the water to another location without having to move a heavy vac full of water (we like to call this the modern day bucket method).

*DO NOT leave the vac unattended while in use.

Move the air.

Once you get the standing water out, you’ll be left with wet carpet, or another floor surface of some sort. To dry wet carpet, you’re going to need to start circulating some air. Any fan will do the trick – if the space is big, you’ll probably need several fans. For a larger space with severe water damage, consider purchasing a Shop-Vac® Shop-Air® Air Mover to move larger amounts of air at a faster pace.

Clear the air.

There’s a good chance that moving the air won’t be enough. While it may help to dry wet carpet, often times that water recollects in the air as humidity. Do yourself a favor and purchase a dehumidifier or two. Be prepared to dump the collected water frequently, especially at first. While it may be time-consuming, it’s well worth it, for your wet carpet’s sake.

Disinfect. Again. And Again.

Unlike you, mold and bacteria love flooded areas. It’s the perfect breeding ground for both and they grow fast – usually within 24-48 hours of your house being flooded. Once the area is clear of water you need to immediately begin cleaning and disinfecting. You can start with a standard cleaner and some warm water to rinse. Then, you can apply an anti-bacterial cleaner and even a mold cleaner, that can help you get those salvageable areas and products on their road to recovery.

Schedule inspections.

Unfortunately, there may be more damage that you can’t clean yourself. If the area of your home that was under water contained insulation in the walls, or electrical wires, you’re going to want to have everything inspected. Both of these are behind walls and not in your clear line of sight, so they can be easily forgotten. But, insulation that’s left to “dry out” can lead to a major mold and mildew problem, which has health implications. Electrical wires will also probably need to be replaced, as well as any many major mechanical systems, like your furnace, water heater or gas valves.