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Floodwaters are Coming – What NOT to Do…

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

Over 75% of Presidential disaster declarations are issued due to flooding. While more dramatic natural calamities may draw more media coverage, inundation by water from one source or another leads the statistics for damage and dislocation in this country. Information about positive steps to take in case of a flood is widely available and applicable to scenarios in most locales. However, now and then it’s helpful to take the reverse approach and pass along advice from various experts about what not to do.

Here are some things to avoid when floodwaters threaten:

  • Being out of touch. If potential flood conditions are present, keep a radio or television on and tuned to a channel that provides current coverage and emergency information.
  • Engaging in denial and delay. If official warnings are issued by authorities, don’t put off taking proactive steps to ensure your safety. Past experience with floods that didn’t materialize doesn’t mean you’ll get lucky again.
  • Not having a plan. Every household should have an evacuation plan including routes (and alternate routes) to get out of the area as well as the location of nearest high ground for emergency escape.
  • Staying home to “save the house.” Occupying a house during a significant flood does little or nothing to prevent water inundation nor limit the extent of damage. What it does do is expose the occupant to unnecessary dangers and often require first responders to rescue the trapped individual if/when things get really bad.
  • Wading into floodwater. Moving floodwater is more powerful than you think, deeper than you expect and usually highly toxic due to raw sewage and chemicals picked up along the way. Stay out of it if at all possible.
  • Coming home too soon. Even if local conditions appear to be moderate, don’t return home before an official announcement that it’s safe. Severe weather remote from your location may still swell rivers and lakes and trigger a flash flood.
  • Entering a wet house with power on. Electrical power may still be live in flooded houses. Fatal electrocutions are a frequent post-flood danger. Contact an electrician to disconnet utility power before entering the house.

4 Ways to Prevent Residential Flooding

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

How bad can it get if your house is flooded? Consider these insurance industry statistics: Just one inch of water loose in a home can inflict over $8,000 in water damage. Nine inches raises the total damage above $18,000. Of course, there’s no figure available for the irreplaceable family possessions that might be ruined, too.

While you can’t do much about water inundation from outdoor sources like a hurricane or overflowing river, indoor causes are more predictable. Here are four ways to prevent indoor flooding in your home:

Maintain and repair plumbing.

Don’t let risky plumbing issues persist. Even minor pinhole leaks in water supply lines or seepage around pipe joints may be indicators of internal corrosion that might trigger a major pipe rupture at any time. A broken 1/2-inch water supply line will typically release over 100 gallons of water into your home every hour until the supply is shut off.

Know where to shut off the water.

Know the location of the house main water shutoff valve and how to operate it. Shutoff valves that aren’t turned occasionally may eventually stick. Test the valve at least once a year to make sure it still operates freely. If it doesn’t, don’t force it—call a plumber. Also, locate the individual supply valves to each toilet, usually near the floor behind the toilet tank. Test each valve to ensure it turns freely. If a toilet overflow should occur, turning off water at that valve is the fastest way to limit flooding damage.

Inspect appliances.

Check the icemaker water line and its connection at the back of the refrigerator. Make sure it’s secure. Replace rubber washing machine supply hoses with braided stainless steel lines that are much less likely to rupture. Remove the kick plate at the bottom front of the dishwasher. Use a flashlight to look underneath for any signs of ongoing leakage.

Take precautions if you’re going away.

A broken pipe can be catastrophic if nobody’s home to notice and take appropriate action. Turn off the house water supply at the main water valve before you leave.

Effective Ways to Prevent Flooding in Your Home’s Garage

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019

flooded homeA typical house sits atop a raised slab or foundation that positions it above the level of accumulating groundwater during inclement weather. The garage, however, is generally several inches lower and nearly even with ground level. In times of heavy rain or snowmelt, garages may experience flooding, from temporary puddles that are a nuisance to several inches of standing water.

Since many garages today are not just a vehicle parking place but also serve as storage space for belongings, valuable items may be at risk from water damage. Likewise, wooden garage structural components may deteriorate due to repeated water contact and toxic mold growth may also be an issue.

Here are some suggestions to keep the garage dry even when its wet outdoors:

  • Maintain the garage door. Make sure the rubber or vinyl weatherstripping along the bottom of the door is intact, pliable and forms an effective seal. If it’s worn or stiff with age, replace it. Also verify that that the garage closes properly and tightly seals against the floor surface. If a gap exists, have a garage door technician make adjustments or repairs as necessary.
  • Seal foundation cracks. Small cracks in the concrete garage foundation are common and may provide a route for water outside to seep into the garage. Sealing small cracks with commercial sealants or even just waterproofing paint may be sufficient to stop minor influx. If there are large cracks, talk to a contractor about more permanent remedies.
  • Install French drains. Also known as perimeter drains, these are basically perforated pipes buried in a narrow trench filled with gravel. The system collects groundwater and effectively conveys it away from the structure. Installing French drains reduces the amount of pooling on the ground adjacent to the garage and helps eliminate water intrusion.
  • Alter the landscape. If the contour of the ground in your yard directs pooling water toward the garage during rain, flooding may be a common event. Talk to a landscaper about re-grading portions to divert water toward another part of the yard and/or create berms or install retaining walls to block the flow.

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.

What To Do First When You Suddenly Have A Flooded Home

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

flooded houseThe need for emergency service for water damage often comes as a surprise: Just ask the approximately 37% of U.S. homeowners who’ve experienced losses due to water inundation. Because these incidents aren’t scheduled events, it’s a good idea to know the initial steps you’ll need to take before you require emergency service for water damage. Advance planning helps prevent mistakes at a stressful time and can also mitigate the extent and severity of losses.

Stop The Source
If indoor flooding is caused by a ruptured supply pipe, defective fixture or other source that you can safely shut off yourself, do so ASAP. Be aware of the locations of individual shut-off valves for fixtures such as toilets, washing machines and sinks. Also know where the main water shutoff valve for the entire house is and how to operate it. Test all valves once a year to make sure they turn easily.

Take Care
Avoid flooded areas in the house until you’re sure electricity has been shut off. If you can access the main electrical panel, turn off circuit breakers to affected rooms or to the entire house before entering flooded rooms. If the main electrical panel is in a wet area, don’t attempt to reach it. Contact a qualified electrician and discontinue attempts to access flooded areas until the electrician has declared the premises safe.

Make The Calls
Two priority phone calls need to be made: to your homeowner’s insurance company and to a professional water damage restoration firm. Because water damage is an ongoing process that continues to worsen as hours elapse, some insurers suggest summoning emergency service for water damage first—even before notifying the insurance company. Whichever priority you choose, notify both of these critical players ASAP after water damage occurs.

Document Damage
If you have safe access to the house, begin documenting the extent of flooding while it’s still evident and clearly visible. Take photographs of all affected rooms as well as damage to structure and possessions contacted by water.

 

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.

Staying Safe: What You Need to Know About Reentering a Flooded House

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Before reentering a flooded house, make the safety of yourself and others your first priority. Anyone who’s been the victim of flooding knows the feeling of anxiety: you want to get back inside your home ASAP and check on the extent of damage to the structure and irreplaceable valuables. However, houses aren’t designed to hold water. Flooding from any source turns that familiar, safe environment into a danger zone for several reasons.

Here are some hazards of reentering a flooded house to be aware of.

reentering a flooded houseElectricity

Electrical power and a water-saturated environment mean danger from electrocution. If the electricity is still on, it should be shut off by an electrician. If local utility power has been interrupted by the flood, the house should still be considered unsafe because power could be restored unexpectedly at any moment. A professional electrician will shut the power off by removing the meter, then verify the safety of the system before restoring power.

Structural Collapse

Gypsum wallboard and composite ceiling panels can act like sponges and absorb water volume weighing hundreds of pounds. Typically, walls or ceilings bulge or sag under the weight and may collapse suddenly, injuring persons in the room. Stay out of rooms where walls are bulging or ceiling panels are sagging and/or dripping.

Gas-Fired Appliances

According to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, exposure to floodwater can make gas-fired furnaces, water heaters and stoves unsafe to operate. If there is any question whether water has contacted these units, don’t attempt to relight or use the system until it has been checked by a qualified HVAC contractor or plumber.

Toxic Sewage

Raw sewage is a biohazard. Overflowing sewage elsewhere may be swept up in floodwaters that inundate your home, or a flooded municipal system may reflux sewage back into your house through drains and other entry points. Take steps to protect yourself from raw sewage by wearing gloves, eye protection and waterproof boots. Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with contaminated water.

Before reentering a flooded house, ask the professionals at Rytech about more ways to stay safe.