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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.

Flooding Aftermath: Cleaning up When the Unexpected Occurs

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

flood damaged carpetWhen flooding strikes your home, what can you do yourself and what should be left to experts? In most cases, an inundation by outdoor flooding calls for professional water damage recovery to protect your house and belongings—not only from the immediate damage but from long-term consequences such as toxic mold contamination. That’s one reason homeowner’s insurance companies typically require clean-up to be performed by a qualified water damage recovery firm with the training and specialized equipment to mitigate losses in the aftermath of significant flooding. However, that doesn’t rule out a few basic, do-it-yourself efforts to expedite the process:

  • First, don’t enter the house until it has been declared safe. If electricity is on, be aware of electrocution hazards in the wet environment. Wear a face mask for breathing protection, gloves and boots to avoid contact with flood water.
  • Remove as much pooled water as possible by pushing it out the door using a floor squeegee or, if one is not available, a wide floor broom. Don’t wade into deep standing water such as a flooded basement, however.
  • Excessive indoor humidity from flooding can damage parts of the house that aren’t directly contacted by water. Open doors and windows throughout the house to allow humidity to escape. If you have electricity, run fans to enhance ventilation but don’t use in wet areas.
  • If water inundation is due to widespread outdoor flooding, consider all water inside the house to be contaminated with sewage, toxic chemicals and/or other health threats. Any items contacted by flood water thus need to be disinfected with a mixture of 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach per one gallon of clean water. Items you elect not to disinfect should be removed and discarded.
  • Carpets soaked by outdoor flood waters should be considered contaminated and can be removed from the house immediately if practical. If water contacting the carpet came from a clean indoor source like a ruptured pipe, leave it in place for water damage professionals to extract the water. Throw rugs can usually be washed and disinfected.

For qualified professional water damage recovery services, contact Rytech, Inc.

 

Drying Out After The Storm

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

flooded neighborhoodDrying a water damaged space after a storm may seem like a haphazard process, particularly if the home has been affected by substantial flood water. Actually, it’s an established, well-researched science that is continuously being refined with new techniques and technology. That’s why one of your first tasks should be contacting a water damage recovery professional to respond to the scene, ASAP. In the meantime, however, you can initiate the process of drying a water damaged space yourself by following a few guidelines in a very specific sequence:

First, Reduce Humidity

Concentrated humidity trapped inside a water-damaged structure rapidly infiltrates and damages other areas of the house that were not actually contacted by flood water. Contain the spread of secondary damage by thoroughly ventilating the premises. Open all exterior doors and windows. Utilize fans to keep air moving through the house and run portable dehumidifiers if you have access to them.

Move Indoor Water Out

Turn off electrical power to affected areas of the house. Don’t wade into standing water. Where water is pooled on hard surface floors, push it out of the door with a floor squeegee or broom. If the basement is flooded, leave that to the professionals.

Relocate Mud

If the flood left behind deposits of wet mud indoors, it should be considered contaminated with toxins. Wear a mask and gloves and shovel out as much mud as you can, depositing it in a identified pile outside, well removed from the house.

Sort Water-Damaged Items

Identify stuff you want to save/recover versus that which must be discarded. Pull the discards outdoors ASAP to reduce the amount of waterlogged material indoors. Carpeting soaked by floodwater should be considered contaminated and removed, as well as wet mattresses, cushions and other absorbent items. Take photographs of all damaged items you don’t intend to retain for the insurance record. Relocate things you plan to save to a dry place such as an upper level of the house or a sheltered secure area like the garage.