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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.

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:

Furniture

  • 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.

Appliances

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 Is Emergency Service For Water Damage Really Needed?

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

water damageCan a do-it-yourself approach take the place of professional emergency service for water damage? The impulse to act on your own is understandable—it’s your house and possessions at risk; it’s your responsibility. While resourcefulness and a “get-it-done” attitude definitely have a place in home ownership, there are good reasons to leave emergency service for water damage to qualified, certified experts, instead. Here are some occasions when DIY methods may not be the best way to handle this:

  • When it’s not “just water.” All outdoor floodwater that enters a house is tainted by toxic pollutants and requires professional clean-up. Category 2 water, from a fixture like an overflowing toilet or washing machine, harbors proliferating microbes that may contaminate the indoor environment and pose a health hazard if proper disinfection is delayed. Category 3 water—raw sewage from a backed-up sewage line—is a dangerous biohazard that requires professional measures like protective clothing and breathing equipment, and may necessitate evacuation of the house.
  • When time isn’t on your side. Toxic mold growth is triggered in less than 48 hours after exposure to water. Once active mold has infiltrated into a structure, long-term consequences like health issues to occupants of the house and repeated, more complex treatments to eliminate it are likely.
  • When you wish certain things could be salvaged. Fast action by properly-equipped, trained personnel can often make the difference between saving items such as saturated carpets, soaked hardwood flooring and wet furniture versus having to discard them.
  • When your insurance policy requires it. For full coverage, homeowner’s policies may stipulate that only qualified professionals perform water damage remediation and that mitigation procedures must be initiated within a specific time frame after the event.
  • When you might not be up for the job. Fact is, water damage recovery can be a stressful and physically strenuous task. That’s why professional water damage recovery firms dispatch full crews, 24/7, with the necessary manpower and specialized equipment to take on the task.
  • When you just want it over with, ASAP.

 

Does Your Furniture Have Water Damage? Do This First…

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

furniture water damage

  • Consider the source of water. If the damage is due to outdoor flooding that has inundated the house or from a sewage back-up, affected furniture should be considered contaminated. Certain items will therefore not be salvageable for this reason.
  • Furniture with stuffing and/or cushions which have absorbed contaminated water must be discarded. Even in cases where Category 1 “clean” water is involved, mold and mildew issues will likely make drying cushions and thick padding very problematic and likely not worth the effort.
  • Furniture constructed of veneered particle board that has been substantially soaked is usually damaged beyond repair due to the absorbency of particle board. These items will need to be discarded.
  • Move salvageable solid wood furniture outdoors. Take out all drawers, open doors and remove back panels if possible.
  • Spray down the furniture with a hose to remove mud and other residue.
  • Don’t allow wooden furniture to dry in the sun. Rapid drying usually causes warping and deformation. Instead, furniture should be moved to a sheltered storage area with good ventilation and allowed to dry slowly.
  • Be prepared for mildew or mold to form on wooden furniture until moisture content drops. Spot treatment with soapy water or wiping down the surface with mineral spirits will usually eliminate it.
  • For damaged items with sentimental value and which are irreplaceable, it may be worthwhile to consult a skilled furniture repair expert for issues such as loosened veneer, joints that have become unglued, discoloration of finish and other consequences of exposure to water.

Minimizing furniture water damage is an important aspect of restoring your home to normal.