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What Types of Belongings and Furniture Can Be Saved After a Flood?

Friday, February 8th, 2019

What belongings do you want to save after a flood? Most people would answer, “Everything.” Any home contains a range of valuable items, from appliances to expensive consumer items to cherished personal belongings. Most are vulnerable to water exposure.

In the wake of a damaging flood, certain items that can be reasonably saved or restored must be identified while others that are not salvageable should be discarded. Here are some guidelines for typical flooding scenarios:


  • Solid wood furniture may be sanitized and refinished if necessary. Careful drying techniques may be needed to prevent warping, however.
  • Upholstered furniture might be worth salvaging if the piece is antique and highly valuable. However, in most cases, ordinary furniture with cushions or fabric that has absorbed tainted, toxic floodwater is usually not worth the expense of restoration and should be discarded.
  • Inexpensive wood veneer furniture is generally not salvageable as exposure to water usually triggers delamination.


No appliances should be operated after a flood unless checked by a qualified technician first. Most units contain water-sensitive electronics and motors. Gas appliances utilize burners and other metallic components that are degraded by water contact. If flooding in the house exceeded more than a few inches in depth, the high cost of replacement parts and labor means many affected appliances aren’t good candidates for repair and should be replaced, instead.

Consumer Electronics

Water and electronics don’t mix. Critical circuit components may be damaged by water exposure and/or resultant corrosion. However, water damage remediation experts may recommend professional drying services where particularly expensive electronics can be treated in a humidity- and temperature-controlled environment to minimize damage.

Paper Valuables

  • Professional services to salvage water-damaged photographs including specialized freeze-drying techniques are available. Time is critical—action must taken ASAP following water exposure.
  • Important paper documents must be separated into individual pages and gently dried before damaging mold growth occurs. Soaked books must be blotted with absorbent inserts between pages and allowed to air-dry.
  • If floodwater was tainted by toxins such as raw sewage, restoration of absorbent paper items may not be advisable due to health issues.

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.

Can Flooded Hardwood Floors Be Saved?

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

flooded hardwood floorNot all parts of a house are equal when it comes to recovery after a flood. Hardwood flooring presents its own set of specific challenges when affected by water damage. Successfully drying out a hardwood floor in place requires professional techniques and specialized equipment. Because wood is particularly prone to mold growth, rapid intervention to prevent mold contamination is also critical.

Moisture content of a hardwood floor in a dry environment varies from 6% to 12%. Following exposure to flooding, however, the moisture content may rise to 40% or more. Left alone, this high level may persist for weeks and even months, causing irreparable damage to a wood floor.

What Are The Options?

Simply plugging in a fan and attempting to air-dry the floor while hoping for the best isn’t a viable strategy. It’s a fact: In certain cases, hardwood flooring can’t be saved and must be removed. For the best chance of recovery, however, here are some of the techniques that may be applied by qualified water damage pros:

  • Water-soaked carpeting as well as all furniture must be moved from the room.
  • Utilizing a professional-grade extractor, standing water will be removed from the floor surface. After standing water is removed, as much residual moisture as possible will also be extracted from the porous surface of the wood.
  • The floor is scrubbed with a disinfecting cleaner to remove flood water residue, then dried with the extractor again.
  • An industrial strength dehumidifier set to the highest setting should run continuously in the affected room during recovery. Floor fans may also be utilized to move air.
  • A professional panel drying system may be adhered to the floor to inject dehumidified air directly into the flooring material and accelerate drying.
  • Moisture measurements must be made at predetermined intervals to chart the progress of drying and determine when goals have been met.

An experienced water damage remediation specialist can assist in making an informed decision to salvage a hardwood floor or to replace it.

Post-flood Hazards To Watch Out For In Your Home

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

flood hazardsCarpet mold after flooding is just one of the issues that confronts a homeowner as the water recedes. Once-familiar surroundings can seem like an alien environment following major water damage. Before you’ve even come to grips with what’s already happened, you have to make decisions about what needs to be done next.

Not so fast. A flooded home is a source of hazards you need to be aware of. Before you enter the house and spend time on the premises, keep in mind these ongoing safety issues.

Utility Issues
Make sure power is turned off at the main electrical panel before you enter any wet areas of the home. If accessing the panel is unsafe due to residual water, leave the house and call an electrician. Natural gas lines may have ruptured as appliances were shifted by floodwater, posing fire or explosion hazard. Turn the gas off at the meter before entering the house.

Toxic Hazards
Outdoor floodwater is contaminated by raw sewage, pesticides, fuel and other substances. Communicable bacteria like E. Coli commonly infects floodwater, too. Avoid contact with bare skin and wash thoroughly before handling food or eating. Residue such as mud left behind is also tainted.

Air inside a flooded house may be hazardous. Within 48 hours after exposure to water, toxic mold growth is triggered, releasing airborne spores that may cause severe allergic response or illness when inhaled. Carpeting and padding are highly absorbent so carpet mold after flooding is a virtual certainty. Because toxic water may have inundated HVAC ductwork, the system should be inspected and cleaned if necessary before operating the A/C or furnace.

Structural Danger
Water-saturated drywall is heavy and may collapse under its weight without warning. Stay away from bulging walls or sagging ceilings. Buckled flooring may cause trip and fall hazards. The home’s foundation may be compromised due to severe flooding, as well. Tilting walls or a shifting roof are signs that could indicate a potential structural collapse.

Whether its carpet mold after flooding or structural dangers caused by water damage, Rytech professionals are ready to respond.

Beginning To Recover From A Flooded Home

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

flood damageHow do you recover from a flooded home? One step at a time. At this point, the task before you might seem overwhelming: flooded rooms, soggy possessions and related issues like mold contamination. So, maybe the very first step to is to take a deep breath and collect yourself. Realize that professional water damage experts as well as your homeowner’s insurance agent have seen it all and are experienced to help you successfully recover from a flooded home with proven methods and a predictable time frame.

Now that you’re focused, here are some suggestions to begin the recovery process:

  • Call your insurer. You want to establish your losses and begin the claim process ASAP. If flooding is widespread in your area and many homeowners are filing claims, the sooner you get in line, the better.
  • Contact water damage recovery services. If the damage extends beyond minor pooling water on the floor of a single room, you’ll probably need professional help to recover. Your homeowner’s insurance may well require it and provide recommendations. Because water damage is an active process that continues to develop even after the flooding event is over, rapid intervention with proper techniques and equipment is critical to minimizing damage.
  • Take photos now. Before beginning any clean-up or removing items from the house, document the condition of every room as well as all water-damaged possessions with a digital camera.
  • Start ventilating. Open windows and, if electricity is safely restored, run fans. Flushing the house with outdoor air is important to prevent secondary damage caused by high indoor humidity after a flood.
  • Identify and discard unwanted items. Any contents of the home affected by water that you don’t wish to retain or attempt to restore can be removed from the house without delay. This could include water-saturated bedding, mattresses, pillows, and upholstered furniture. Also food, medicine, cosmetics and other personal items that have been in contact with flood water should be discarded due to contamination hazard.


Home Repairs After A Flood – What To Expect

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

flood-damaged houseThe extent of necessary home repairs after a flood can seem overwhelming. Because of the diversity of expertise required for effective flood recovery—not to mention safety factors that pose real hazards to the inexperienced—most home repairs after a flood are not a do-it-yourself project. Professionals in water damage recovery and mold remediation, as well as qualified local contractors for structural issues, form the necessary team to achieve restoration after major flooding. To remove some of the X-factors, here are critical repair issues you can expect after a flood.

Ceilings, walls and floors. Sagging, saturated ceilings should be punctured and drained, then replaced. Wallboard that has been water-soaked typically disintegrates, requiring new material. Affected walls need to be opened up and drained. Wet insulation inside walls usually must be discarded. Vinyl or linoleum flooring installed over wood sub-flooring may need to be taken up in order to dry the floor.

Structural issues. While concrete block usually dries well, the foundation of the house may be affected by flooding. Water is very heavy and a flooded basement often imposes damage on concrete foundation and basement walls. Also, a wet basement generally requires professional drying techniques to fully eliminate residual moisture that will trigger mold contamination.

Electrical matters. Water and electricity don’t mix. Electrical system components contacted by water including the main electrical panel, wiring and individual outlets will require, at minimum, inspection by a professional electrician. While modern plastic-covered wiring can withstand exposure to water, many other elements of the electrical system will probably require replacement.

HVAC systems. If your gas furnace was contacted by water, it must be inspected by an HVAC professional before being turned on again. Indoor air conditioning components including the blower in the air handler should also be checked before electricity is restored to the unit. Flooded HVAC ductwork can retain moisture as well as wet mud and silt. Draining and cleaning ducts is necessary to prevent mold growth and deterioration.


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.


Flood Damage: Protect Yourself In Advance

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

flood damageIs flood protection something you needn’t worry about because you don’t happen to live on a coastline or near a river? Not according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA reports that flooding from one source or another can happen virtually anywhere in the country. No state or locale is 100 percent immune to the possibility of flood damage. Maps are available from FEMA that depict your potential flood risk including estimates of how high the water level could potentially rise. With that information you can plan safeguards appropriate to your specific area. However, wherever you may live, these general flood protection guidelines can be applied to reduce the potential and extent of water damage due to flooding.

  • Check the gradient of your property. Is the landscape graded to divert water away from the house? When the foundation of the house is the low point on the lot, flood water flows toward it, greatly increasing the potential that damaging water will enter the house. Ask a landscape contractor about grading to divert water away.
  • Install a sewer backflow valve. When localized flooding strikes, the municipal sewer system is often swamped by water. This excess pressure backs up through residential sewer pipes and floods the interior of homes with toxic raw sewage. A sewer backflow valve automatically diverts sewage reflux out a port installed in the sewer line so it doesn’t enter the house.
  • Raise mechanical systems. Basements typically accumulate deep standing water in a flood. If you have HVAC equipment, water heater, electrical panels and other critical systems installed in your basement, consider having these permanently raised to a level high enough to avoid potential contact with flood water.
  • Look into flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance provides zero coverage for flood damage. To protect yourself against devastating losses, evaluate your risk and consider affordable flood coverage provided by the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It’s sold and administered by local private insurance agents.

For more about what you can do to increase flood protection in your home, ask the water damage professionals at 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.


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.