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3 Tips To Minimize Flood Contamination Risks

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

flood contaminationFlood contamination risks are a real concern when dealing with home water damage. A toxic brew typically tainted with sewage, bacteria, viruses, pesticides, fuel and other chemicals, outdoor floodwater is a known source of indoor biological and chemical contamination. Residents returning to a flooded house need to be aware of the danger and take appropriate protective measures when spending time in the indoor environment.  Here are three tips to minimize flood contamination risks:

  1. Dress for the occasion. Direct contact with floodwater is the most likely source of illness and infection. Minimize exposure by keeping bare skin covered and wearing protective clothing including long pants, long-sleeve shirt, boots, gloves, eye protection and a face mask approved for protection against airborne pathogens. If you sustain any cuts or puncture wounds, stop working in the house and seek appropriate first aid including antiseptic treatment and bandaging. If you haven’t had a tetanus shot in the last 5 years and floodwater gets into an open wound, you might also want to consider a booster vaccination.
  2. Be wary of foods and beverages. It’s better to err on the side of caution and simply discard all food and beverages in the house, even if it’s unopened and appears to be untouched by floodwater. High levels of  airborne bacteria and viruses are often concentrated inside the enclosed indoor environment after a flood and may contaminate unopened food and drink containers that haven’t gotten wet. Also, the FDA recommends that residents discard prescription drugs in a flooded house, as the original screw-top containers usually don’t provide a waterproof or airtight seal against contamination.
  3. Don’t ignore danger signs. Physical symptoms of bacterial or viral exposure are typically mild to moderate flu-like sickness or gastrointestinal illness.  However, exposure to chemicals potentially found in floodwater may produce very different symptoms including dizziness, headache, visual disturbances, nausea and skin rashes. If any unexplained or unusual physical indications occur, discontinue flood recovery work, leave the house and seek medical advice.

Don’t take chances with flood contamination risks. Erring on the side of caution can prevent unexpected problems later.

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.

3 Flooding Complications Homeowners Should Be Aware Of

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

flooded houseFlooding can cause serious water damage to your home, but water damage may not be the only issue that you have to deal with, which is why you should always turn to a professional for flood restoration in Northwest Atlanta.

Potential additional complications

Here are three additional complications that you may have to deal with if you’ve experienced flooding:

  1. Damage to the foundation – One of the most serious complications that flooding can cause is damage to the home’s foundation. This can happen if the flooding was caused by fast-moving water, which can not only weaken foundations but even separate buildings from their foundations. Additionally, water can easily permeate all types of materials, which means it can seep into the foundation, thereby weakening its structure. If damage has been done to the foundation of your house, it may not be safe to enter.
  2. Electrical damage – There’s always a risk for electrical damage during flooding. Water and electricity do not mix very well, after all. It’s why you should have a flood restoration professional inspect the house to ensure it’s safe. You should never try to begin removing standing water without an inspection since this could lead to an electric shock if there’s been electrical damage.
  3. Mold growthMold tends to grow in areas that are moist, which is why it’s such a problem in areas that have flooded. Even once standing water has been removed from the area, a damp environment can foster mold growth. This can be a serious health issue if anyone in your household suffers from severe allergies or respiratory problems. Because mold can grow fast and in difficult-to-reach areas, a professional is needed to identify the presence of mold and prevent its spread.

These are three of the most serious complications that can occur if your home has experienced flooding. If you need flood restoration in Northwest Atlanta,you can contact us to schedule an appointment to inspect your property for water damage, mold growth, electrical damage and foundation damage.

Cleaning Up After A Flood Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

flood cleanupIs cleaning up after a flood doable for the do-it-yourselfer? Depends on the water source and the volume. Clean water leaking directly from supply pipes or common indoor fixtures and appliances is classified as Category 1. Common examples include ruptured hoses connected to the rear of a washing machine, a leaking water heater tank or water from other supply lines such as a dishwasher or a refrigerator ice maker.

The deciding factor in cleaning up after a flood yourself is how quickly you detect leakage and shut off the source of water. If you act fast and Category 1 water is limited to the floor of a single room, cleanup is feasible. However, if water has spread into additional rooms, saturated drywall or migrated down through ceilings into lower levels of the house—or if more than 8 hours elapsed before the leakage was discovered—seek professional water damage recovery services. In these cases, advanced drying techniques and preventive measures to inhibit toxic mold growth are required.

Here’s how to handle cleanup of smaller Category 1 cases yourself:

  • If necessary to stop leakage, turn off water to the house at the main shutoff valve.
  • Make sure a wet room is safe by shutting off electricity to the room at the circuit breaker panel.
  • Get any saturated throw rugs, cushions or other absorbent materials out of the house.
  • Water pooled on hard flooring can be mopped up or soaked up with towels. If the room opens to the outdoors, you may use a floor squeegee or wide broom to push pooled water out an exterior door.
  • If installed carpet is wet and you have a wet/dry vacuum (or opt to rent one) extract as much water as possible and allow the carpet to air dry with adequate ventilation.
  • High indoor humidity after flooding spreads and causes secondary damage. Ventilate the house by opening windows and running fans. If temperatures permit, running the central A/C also helps lower indoor humidity.

For professional advice and service cleaning up after a flood, 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.


Hidden Dangers: Surprising Sources of Flood Contamination Risks

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

Flood contamination risks may result from both obvious and less-obvious sources. Most people know that surface flood water entering your home should be considered toxic and direct contact avoided. Clean-up is best left to water damage recovery specialists with the equipment and expertise to ensure competent, thorough disinfection of your home. In addition to this primary contamination source, however, flood contamination risks also arise from other sources.

flood contamination risksMunicipal Water

Most people think tap water is safe after a flood event. Maybe so, maybe not. Flooding may affect municipal water supplies in two ways. If the local water is drawn from surface sources such as lakes and rivers, the unusually large amount of sediment stirred up by the storm or other flood event may interfere with proper disinfection at the water utility. Tap water may appear cloudy and its quality may be suspect. Where municipal water is drawn from wells, if the location of the well head is swamped by flooding, the well may be inundated with pollution and biohazards present in surface flood water, making the source unsafe. After flooding, listen to radio and TV news broadcasts for information on the status of municipal water.

Sewage Reflux

If the municipal sewer system becomes inundated with flood water, normal sewage flow may reverse and raw sewage may back up into your home through the drain system, bringing extremely dangerous biohazards. Sewage reflux first appears at the lowest drains in the house—basement floor drains are a frequent entry point. Sewage backup into a home may be extreme if the municipal system is severely swamped, making the house unsafe for occupation until professional decontamination is performed.

Toxic Products Overflow

Common household products like paint, solvents, pesticides and other common substances may contribute to flood contamination risks if they are swamped by flood water and spillage inside the house results. In locales at greater risk of flooding, toxic or caustic chemicals should be stored outside the house, in a garage or separate storage shed.

For more advice on identifying flood contamination risks, contact the professionals at Rytech, Inc.