Return to the Blog Home Page

What Types of Items Can be Restored After a Flood?

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

After flooding strikes your home, a major part of the ensuring recovery process is deciding what to keep and what to discard when it comes to items that have been contacted by water. Not all things are worth the effort or cost of cleaning and restoring in the aftermath of a flood. Other items, like photos and mementos, may well be priceless.

Professional water damage recovery services can advise you on what to expect when it comes to attempting to salvage possessions, as well as refer you to specialists in saving/restoring specific articles such as electronics. Here’s a general rundown of typical contents in a household and if/when these items can be saved.

  • Clothing affected by Category 3 “black” water containing raw sewage or toxins from outdoor flooding should be discarded due to health risk. If clothes were contacted only by Category 1 flooding—i.e., “clean” water from a ruptured indoor water supply line—washing with detergent and bleach or professional dry cleaning, according to the fabric type, should be sufficient.
  • Solid wood furniture may be saved if wiped down, then air-dried. Laminated wood doesn’t withstand water exposure well and will usually be discarded.
  • Padded furniture exposed to Category 2 or 3 toxic water usually isn’t worth saving, given the expense of replacing contaminated padding. If it’s an unreplaceable antique or item with sentimental value, consult professional furniture restoration services.
  • Photographs saturated by clean water and not affected by mud or other substances can be carefully separated while still wet, then allowed to air dry. If photos have dried and stuck together, or incurred other damage, contact a photo restoration specialist if the pictures warrant the expense.
  • Consumer electronics saturated or completely submerged aren’t likely to be a good candidate for salvaging—if it’s even possible. Replacement is the best option. If a particularly valuable component is deemed to be worth the cost of a specialist in electronics restoration, however, make sure you don’t power up the unit at any time before it’s turned over to the technician. Unplug it now and leave it unplugged.

6 Types of Crucial Documents to Store Safely In Case of Emergency

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

important documents for storageAmong the most important items people want to protect from a disaster like fire, flood, hurricane or other extreme weather are vital personal/family documents. There’s a very good reason – in the wake of a genuine disaster, you’ll probably be needing at least some of them, ASAP. Unfortunately, paper documents are among the items most vulnerable to water damage, fire and other destruction during catastrophes.

Experts tell us that one extra copy of vital documents should be stored outside of your home in a secure location like a bank safety deposit box. Another alternative is to scan all important papers to a flash drive or DVD, then send it to a trusted relative residing in a different locale for safe keeping. Remember to update stored copies if/when any changes are made.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests making copies and arranging safe off-site storage for the following important documents

Vital Personal Records
These include photocopies of personal identification such as drivers licenses, birth certificates, and Military I.D. cards, if applicable. Social Security cards, passports and marriage licenses should also be copied.

Insurance Policies
Keep copies of your homeowners insurance and flood insurance policy. Also include health and life insurance coverage information as well as contact information for your local agent.

Financial Information
Record relevant account numbers for all financial matters. Include bank contact information as well as investment firms such as brokerages, retirement accounts and credit card companies.

Property Records
Copy the deed to your home or the mortgage documents provided by the title company. These should state the value of the house at the time of purchase. If you are a renter, retain a copy of the lease or rental agreement. Also duplicate all automobile, boat and RV titles and registration papers.

Medical Information
Make copies of all ongoing prescriptions plus records of immunizations, health insurance I.D. cards, and names and contact information for primary physicians. If you have a living will, include that as well.

Estate Documents
Include a copy of your will, instructions for funeral, documents for power-of-attorney designation and contact information for your personal attorney.

How To Keep Documents Safe From Water Damage

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

water-damaged documentsBecause water damage is one of the most common homeowner’s insurance claims in the United States, how to keep documents safe from water damage is a well-founded concern. In addition to destruction caused by water itself, wet paper inevitably spawns destructive mold growth, as well. The fact that certain documents may frequently be considered irreplaceable adds additional urgency to this topic. While techniques for salvaging and restoring wet documents, books and photos have advanced in recent years, effective prevention is still far and above the preferred course of action. Here are some recommendations from professional archivists to keep documents safe from water damage:

  • Don’t store important documents or photos in close proximity to water supply pipes, drain pipes or heating/steam pipes. Documents should never be placed directly above or below these components.
  • Avoid using top shelves for document storage, which exposes them to greater risk in the event of roof leakage. If you store important papers on bottom shelves, make sure the shelf is at least six inches off the floor to make contact with water less likely in the event of indoor flooding from a pipe rupture.
  • Purchase quality storage boxes and containers, purpose-built for storing documents and other paper records.
  • Monitor humidity inside rooms where important documents are stored. High humidity may migrate from areas such as a chronically damp basement or flooded crawl space into living and storage spaces, causing secondary damage to paper products.
  • If you’re going to be away for an extended period, consider turning off the main water shutoff valve to the house. This prevents major water damage from a ruptured pipe occurring in your absence.
  • If you have a choice, store valuable documents in a room with a pitched roof which sheds water and is less likely to leak than a flat roof.
  • In rooms where important documents are stored, install flood alarms at floor level to alert you to the presence of water.

For more about how to keep documents safe from water damage as well as professional techniques to salvage wet documents and records, contact Rytech, Inc.

Tips for Salvaging Important Books and Documents After Water Damage

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

wet booksWhile substitutes for many household possessions can be acquired at a price, salvaging documents after water damage often takes high priority because of the frequently invaluable and irreplaceable nature of these items. Vital financial records, items of family history, photographs, books and other printed material are particularly vulnerable to water inundation and very hard to replace. Water damage recovery professionals who confront these scenarios routinely have developed these workable methods for successfully salvaging documents after water damage. (more…)

Dealing With Water Damaged Documents? Myths About the Drying Process

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

wet documentsExpertise in document drying is an important part of water damage restoration because some of the most vulnerable and irreplaceable items in your home or business may be made of paper. The process of getting back to normality after severe water damage usually includes retrieving and drying important documents in an organized, effective manner. Yet, even though it’s a common part of restoration procedures, many myths persist about document drying. Here’s some myth-busting to separate the known facts from the “not necessarily so.” (more…)