Return to the Blog Home Page

How Do You Safely Get Rid of Water in a Flooded Room?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

flooded roomThe sight of a flooded room in your house can be panic-inducing. Standing water definitely doesn’t belong here and your first overwhelming instinct is to get it out. The consequences of water influx sufficient to flood a room generally require professional water damage recovery methods ASAP, as water damage spreads deep into the structure and mold growth is rapidly triggered. In certain cases, however, DIY methods can successfully remove at least some of the water before turning the job over to qualified pros.

First, note these cautions:

Never enter a flooded room where electricity is still live. Turn off circuit breakers that control power to that room. If the electrical panel is inaccessible due to flooding, call an electrician.

Consider the source. If water came from a ruptured water supply line or an event like an overflowing washing machine, basic personal protection such as gloves and rubber boots are likely sufficient. If it’s a sewage backup, outdoor flooding, toilet overflow or other potentially toxic source, however, leave water removal to qualified professionals.

To move water fast:

  • Before starting, take photos to document the extent of flooding.
  • Use buckets. Flexible plastic buckets to scoop up standing water is a quick way to remove a large volume. It’s also physically strenuous—one gallon of water weighs 7 pounds. Make sure you’re up for the effort and don’t strain yourself.
  • A wet-dry vacuum is better. If you have one, or can rent one quickly, use it. A typical consumer-grade wet-dry vacuum can pump out at least 5 to 10 gallons per minute. Many have suction attachments to skim the floor/carpet, too.
  • Push it out. Once the main volume of water is removed, if there’s an exterior door nearby use a floor squeegee to push remaining puddles outside. A push broom also works.
  • Mop and sop. For residual water on a hard floor, repeated mopping will get most of it. Old towels are also good for soaking up small stuff.
  • Now ventilate. Open windows and run fans to move air continuously through the room. Run the air conditioner to remove indoor humidity if temperatures permit.

When the Flood Is Over, the Damage Has Just Begun…

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

flooring damaged from floodWhen it comes to water damage after a flood, it’s not over when it’s over. Flooding often delivers a one-two punch. First there’s the immediate initial damage to your home and possessions caused by submersion. Once floodwater recedes, however, the aftermath includes a period in which water damage continues to worsen progressively. That’s why rapid response by a qualified water damage recovery team is vital in the immediate wake of flooding. Even though the house isn’t underwater anymore, the damage has just begun.

Here are some examples of what goes on after the water goes away:

  • Mold growth begins within 48 hours following exposure to moisture. Toxic mold growth starts getting a foothold plus releasing airborne reproductive spores. Contamination intensifies rapidly unless/until professional mold remediation techniques are utilized to interrupt the cycle.
  • Health threats multiply. Floodwater often carries disease-causing pathogens such as hepatitis virus, e Coli bacteria, cryptosporidium and giardia which continue to infect the wet, enclosed environment of the house. Disease-carrying mosquitoes may also lay eggs in residual indoor water after a flood.
  • Saturated wallboard and ceilings begin to sag beneath the weight, losing structural integrity and eventually collapsing.  This is another reason why the interior environment frequently remains dangerous after a flood.
  • Corrosion begins forming on electrical wiring, outlets and switch boxes contacted by the water. Certain affected electrical components will require replacement for safe operation.
  • Laminate flooring starts peeling up. Hardwood flooring which has been underwater often begins to warp as it dries, pulling up and away from nails.
  • Soaked insulation inside walls and elsewhere tends to stays wet. In addition to supporting hidden mold growth, wet insulation loses its insulating properties and no longer functions to resist heat.
  • If a flooded basement is pumped out too rapidly, the weight of saturated soil surrounding the foundation may deform or collapse basement walls.
  • A slab foundation lifted by inundating floodwater may crack as soil begins to dry out and settle again. Embedded plumbing pipes may break, cracks may form in exterior walls and the roof may sag.

Remove Clutter NOW Before You Have A Flooding Issue

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

cluttered homeClutter happens, often without occupants of a home even being fully aware of it. Stuff seems to multiply when your back is turned. Sorting out the accumulation and storing or discarding surplus items slips further and further down the to-do list. As the stockpile increases and household disorder proliferates, however, the potential for exacerbated water damage also mounts. Here are three reasons why reducing clutter is a worthwhile DIY project to prevent water damage and its consequences:

  • Clutter makes water damage harder to detect. Stacks and boxes of miscellaneous items in certain rooms like the basement obstruct the view of early signs of impending water damage such as dripping plumbing pipes or infiltration of water from outdoors. By the time the problem becomes visible, damage may be well advanced and other consequences such as toxic mold growth have already taken hold.
  • Clutter absorbs water, making clean-up harder. Often, items stored are paper, clothing, cardboard and other absorbent materials. If a leak or flooding occurs, water can be quickly and efficiently extracted from a clear, unobstructed floor space. If the floor of the room is occupied by clutter that has absorbed large amounts of water, conversely, water damage remediation becomes more labor-intensive, takes longer to complete and is more expensive.
  • Clutter increases the potential for toxic mold growth, even without a significant water damage event. Mold doesn’t require indoor flooding to grow. Residual moisture from any source, including chronic high indoor humidity is sufficient. In a room stacked high with clutter, air circulation is insufficient to evaporate dampness naturally. Residual moisture from humidity may spawn active mold. Paper products and fabrics that are frequently included in clutter also provide cellulose which feeds mold. Because mold growth is typically hidden from sight by the disarray, it can thrive and become an ongoing source of contamination that spreads throughout the house.


3 Tips For Cleaning Up After A Flood In Your Home

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

flood cleanupCleaning up after a flood probably isn’t a job you’ll want to tackle all by yourself. Comprehensive recovery usually requires the services of water damage professionals. In the immediate aftermath however, there are a few steps you can take to begin damage control ASAP. Before you start, make sure the house is safe to enter. Be aware of electrical hazards in the wet indoor environment as well as potential collapse of saturated walls and ceilings. Unless the source of water is a ruptured indoor supply line, assume floodwater is contaminated and wear protective clothing to avoid direct contact.

Cleanup tips

To initiate the process of cleaning up after a flood here are three tips:

  1. Remove standing water. Where residual water is pooled on hard surface floors, you may be able to push it out an exterior door, if one is nearby. If you don’t have a floor squeegee, a push broom can be useful to direct water outside. Removing standing water as soon as possible isn’t likely to undo damage already done. However, it may limit further spread of water into other areas of the house.
  2. Reduce humidity. Open windows and, if possible, run fans to get air moving. Run the air conditioner if it’s still functional as well. If you have a dehumidifier or can rent one, put it into use as soon as possible. Extremely high indoor humidity is an inevitable side-effect of flooding and a major cause of secondary damage, even in areas of the home that were not affected by the initial flood.
  3. Move out saturated stuff. Get soaked items like mattresses, cushions and throw rugs out of the house without delay. These highly absorbent items will never dry indoors and, if the floodwater came from any source other than a broken pipe, they are permanently contaminated and will have to be discarded, anyway. Most saturated materials also become sources of mold growth within just 48 hours after exposure to water, so getting them outdoors sooner rather than later is helpful.

Cleaning Up A Flooded Home – When To Get Help

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

flooded home helpIf you’re faced with cleaning up a flooded home, should you go it alone or call in professional help? The do-it-yourself approach may be the natural first response. After all, it’s your house and possessions, so the urgency to take control with personal action can feel overwhelming.

However, cleaning up a flooded home involves multiple specialties that are seldom part of the typical homeowner’s skill set. Moreover, water damage is a dynamic event that continuous to worsen as hours elapse. Because you can’t afford putting off the decision about what to do indefinitely, here are some guidelines to make the right call ASAP:

  • Did you have to leave the house? This one’s easy: If flooding was severe enough that evacuating all or part of the house was necessary, you need professional water damage recovery to get your home and your life back.
  • Is water limited to just one room? If water is pooled on a hard-surface floor of a single room, you may be able to mop or wet-vacuum the water yourself, then dry residual dampness with fans.
  • How is the water classified? Class 1 is “clean” water, such as inundation from a ruptured household water supply line. Water from an overflowing toilet or other appliance (Class 2) is considered tainted while Class 3 water—outdoor floodwater or indoor sewage backup—is officially a toxic biohazard. Due to health threats, both Class 2 and Class 3 cleanup should only be handled by qualified water damage specialists.
  • Where did the water spread? Water that has seeped into wall spaces between rooms, soaked into drywall or trickled from an upper level to a lower floor through the ceiling always requires professional intervention. Structural damage and toxic mold growth in these inaccessible areas is inevitable.
  • Do you really have time for this? For the homeowner, a flood crisis imposes many diverse and urgent issues beyond cleanup. Turning the complex process of water damage recovery over to skilled, experienced experts helps you keep priorities in order.

The water damage experts at Rytech are standing by 24/7 with professional services for cleaning up a flooded home.

What NOT To Do When You Have A Flooded Basement

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

flooded basementA typical 900-square foot flooded basement with water one foot deep contains about 6,500 gallons. While professional water damage recovery services arrive with equipment specifically designed for this job—as well as the expertise to do it right—some homeowners still elect to tackle it themselves. The “Do’s” for safely removing such a large volume of water are many, but let’s start with some important “Don’ts.” Here’s what NOT to do when you have a flooded basement.

Don’t wade into the basement until household electricity has been shut off. The risk of electrocution is great and deaths occur every year from this cause. Because the main power panel is often in the basement, you’ll need a professional electrician to disconnect power at the meter, then verify that the basement is safe to enter.

Don’t contact water in basement flooding. A flooded basement may contain toxic raw sewage or other toxins from outdoor flooding. Health threats can come from direct contact with contaminated water or from breathing fumes that have accumulated in the enclosed environment. Wear adequate protection.

Don’t pump out deep basement flooding all at once. Outdoor flood water saturates ground surrounding the basement, greatly increasing external pressure against basement walls. If all water is removed rapidly, the weight of saturated earth may cause severe structural damage or complete collapse of basement walls. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends this sequence:

  1. Wait until outside flood water has receded before pumping out the basement.
  2. Pump out one foot of water depth to start. Mark the water level and wait until the next day.
  3. Check the water level mark. If the level rose overnight, wait another 24 hours before pumping again.
  4. Repeat the above sequence, pumping out only one foot per day, marking the level and then checking it after 24 hours.
  5. Once the water level stops rising, pump out water at a rate not exceeding three feet per every 24 hours until all water is removed from the basement.

For more about what to do and not to do about about a flooded basement, ask the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc.


3 Flood Cleanup Tips For Indoor Home Flooding

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

flood cleanupA few flood cleanup tips can be helpful if the amount of water released inside your home is limited. Do-it-yourself methods should utilized only if the water involved is clean—i.e., originating from a broken water pipe or fixture—and restricted to only a single room. Before attempting cleanup yourself, ensure the area is safe to work in and free from hazards such as electrical shock or contaminated water. If you have doubts about handling the scope of the work or any safety issues, contact professional water damage recovery services first.

For small indoor flooding, here are three flood cleanup tips:

Begin ASAP. Indoor flooding is a dynamic event that isn’t over just because the source of water is stopped. Water continues to migrate throughout the structure into inaccessible areas, seeping under baseboards and into walls as well as leaking from upper levels down to lower. Also, mold growth triggered by exposure to moisture begins within 24 to 48 hours after an indoor flood. Water must be removed as quickly as possible to stop spreading damage and active mold contamination.

Get the water out. For small-scale flooding in a single room, utilize whatever’s on hand to remove water: Mop and bucket, old towels, sponges, etc. Absorb as much water as you can and remove it from the house. If the affected room is on a ground floor with an exterior door, push water out the door with a floor broom or large squeegee. If a wet/dry vacuum is available, it can also be used to suck up water quickly. However, take precautions about using electrical equipment and/or extension cords in a wet environment.

Start circulating air. Indoor humidity rises substantially whenever there’s a water spill inside the house. This can cause secondary damage to sensitive materials and possessions. Open windows and run fans to move as much air as possible. In addition to drying out hidden residual moisture from the flood, this helps reduce damaging humidity. If weather conditions permit, running the central air conditioner also helps dehumidify the house.


How To Deal With A Flooded Crawl Space

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

flooded homeBecause they don’t call it a “crawl space” for nothing, venturing into the claustrophobic confines of a dark, flooded crawl space probably isn’t a appealing DIY project for most homeowners. Definite hazards exist in the saturated conditions such as unsafe wet electrical wiring, residual pesticides dissolved in water, vermin infestation, rodent droppings, etc. Getting water out and damage repaired properly usually requires the skills and specialized equipment of a professional water damage recovery expert.

A flooded crawl space could result from inundation due to outdoor flooding during heavy rain, or from a ruptured indoor water supply line that is typically routed through the space. Professional water damage remediation for a flooded crawl space will include the following:

  • Get the water out. Because a crawl space may be below grade, standing water is common following flooding. This will require specialized pumps to remove water promptly. Typically, floodwater inside a crawl space contains floating and submerged debris that will have to be removed to facilitate proper pumping. A dirt-floor crawl space will be very muddy, which also presents issues that hamper water removal.
  • Dry the environment. After standing water and water-sodden debris has been removed, steps must be taken to dry residual moisture from wooden structural components including the sub-floor overhead, as well as dry out the muddy floor beneath. Ventilation fans must be utilized to flush the space with fresh air and specialized dehumidifiers may also be put to use to continuously reduce high water vapor.
  • Sanitize suspect areas. Where mold already exists inside a crawl space, contact with floodwaters usually accelerates contamination rapidly. If an inspection by a specialist reveals active mold in the crawl space, professional mold remediation techniques will be required to remove the mold and treat affected surfaces to prevent spread.
  • Prevent recurrence. If flooding originated outdoors, steps should be taken to seal openings into the crawl space from repeated water inundation. Grading the landscape around the perimeter to drain water away from the house may also be recommended.

For experienced professional service to deal with a flooded crawl space, contact the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc.

Flood Waters Damaged Your Home? Cleanup Delays Can Be Costly – Don’t Wait to Get Help!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

flooded homePost-flood restoration is a time-critical imperative. That’s because water damage to a structure is an ongoing process that continues unabated until specific, scientifically-proven methods are employed to stop it. It’s been observed that water inundation from a flood or other source is often more damaging than a fire inside the house. Once a fire is out, the damaging process is over and done. However, left untreated, water damage may continue long after the flood that caused it has receded.

Here are just a few reasons why arranging for professional post-flood restoration should be top priority as soon as the house is safe to enter.

Your house isn’t waterproof. Water isn’t called “the universal solvent” for nothing. Few building materials incorporated in the typical home permanently resist water. As time passes, water will inexorably soak into and degrade most primary building materials including wallboard, wooden structural components, flooring and even concrete. If professional remediation techniques are delayed, removal and replacement of many materials will eventually be the only option.

Water migration is 24/7. As hours elapse after a flood event, water continues to flow, drip and seep into every recess in the house, often traveling to parts of the structure that weren’t even affected by the initial inundation. As water penetrates deeply into a house, successful restoration becomes increasingly complex.

Wood rots and metal corrodes and rusts. Once triggered by prolonged exposure to water, these time-related processes can be problematic to stop. Wood rot spreads inexorably through a structure and rust and corrosion ruins wiring and other electrical components as well as metal systems such as HVAC ductwork. Drying these components ASAP after exposure to flood water is critical.

Mold won’t wait. Dormant mold spores are activated within 24 to 48 hours following exposure to moisture. When contacted by water, spores shift from an inert state into active growing mold that releases airborne reproductive spores. Mold contamination rapidly spreads throughout the house. Effective mold remediation techniques must be applied side-by-side with professional flood restoration.

For immediate, comprehensive information about post-flood restoration, don’t wait to contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.

What is the IICRC and How Will it Protect You?

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Anyone can claim to be a qualified water damage recovery contractor. Some of those who do, unfortunately, have no credentials whatsoever to prove it. The IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is the governing body for the water damage recovery and mold remediation industry. Restoring your home’s value and reclaiming precious possessions from damaging water inundation, safeguarding your indoor environment from toxic contamination — these are not endeavors for the amateur or inexperienced part-timer. IICRC certification proves the water damage specialist you hire is a qualified, trained professional who is fully informed on standardized procedures and equipped with the necessary technology to do the job.

iicrcWater damage recovery and mold remediation contractors who have invested the time and commitment to earn IICRC certification are proud to display it. Here are some other ways that hiring an IICRC-certified contractor protects you:

  • Access to the most up-to-date methods and technology. The IICRC conducts research to update the science and practice of water damage recovery, keeping member contractors fully current on the latest state-of-the-art practices.
  • Proven standardized procedures. The IICRC formulates and publishes the standards of practice for the recovery industry. This ensures you get service that conforms with consistent, proven techniques utilized throughout the industry — not makeshift methods or cut corners.
  • Trained, qualified specialists. The IICRC trains, tests and certifies water damage and mold remediation technicians. Basic skills, as well as areas of advanced specialization, are included in the curriculum. To maintain certification, technicians must update their knowledge with continuing educations such as annual seminars and training.
  • Consistent business practices. The IICRC promotes a high standard of organized and efficient business procedures that protect the consumer. These include requirements for contractors to be fully bonded and insured, standards for issuing accurate estimates and a procedure for resolving any issues that may arise after the project.

Rytech, Inc. is proud to be an IICRC-certified provider of water damage and mold remediation services. Let us know if we can help.