When the Home Floods

Posted in: Household Cleaning

Cleaning up a flooded home

With the chances of flooding in the Midwest always on the rise, it’s paramount that homeowners understand the dangers of flooded basements and know what steps to take to mitigate further damage once the waterworks a make their way into their home. We’ve laid out some of the top concerns when a home experiences flooding. Take a look and ensure you know what steps to take should flood waters invade your home:

Shut Down The Juice: If your basement unexpectedly floods and  water has electrical chords or has risen above the level of power outlets, it’s imperative you leave the home and contact the power company immediately to have the power shut off. Never go down into a flooded basement where the electrical supply is live and compromised. The water may be electrically charged and contact with it could be fatal.

If your furnace is flooded, water may have drowned the pilot light, which could cause a build up of natural gas. Call the utility company to haven the gas shut off right away. And in this case, and the case of compromised electrical wiring,  reach out to a local damage-restoration firm to deal with the problem.

Stop The Flow: If there’s no electrical or gas risk (as in the case of an unfinished basement, perhaps) or if the flooding has not reached a considerable level, try stopping the flow by finding the source. If it’s a sump pump that’s out of whack, try ensuring the intake valve is not blocked.

Call a Pro: There are several circumstances that will require professional damage mitigation and repair when flooding occurs.  First off, for finished basements, where there is drywall and furnishings that can foster mold, drying is of chief concern. But flood waters can be hazardous due to the accumulation of bacteria. So calling a pro might be best. You don’t want to add sickness to the problems flooding brings.

Drying Up The Place: If your basement is unfinished, a shop vacuum and a fan and ventilation may be all you need to clean up the excess water. If not, you should remove the furniture and any carpets you have. Furniture with wood stain can leak stain and once that gets on your carpet, it’s pretty much there to stay.

Be Prepared: When you do clean a basement up after a flood, be prepared. Always use rubber gloves and boots, and clean hard surfaces with a solution made up of 1 1/2 cups bleach and one gallon of water. (Never use ammonia in combination with bleach. This produces a toxic gas that can be deadly). This will help prevent the spread of bacteria and mold.

Make sure you weak a protective mask and goggles to cover your skin a eyes. And ensure that the work area is well ventilated too.

Wear a mask, protect skin and eyes, and work in a well-ventilated area. Let the solution sit about 15 minutes, then dry it thoroughly. Don’t use any product containing ammonia in combination with bleach because the fumes can be deadly.

Finally, if the flooding affects appliances or furnaces, call a contractor to inspect them before turning them on again.


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