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What NOT to Do After Flooding in Your Home

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

If flooding from any source inundates your home, numerous measures need to be taken without delay. The to-do list is extensive and can be, frankly, overwhelming. That’s where professional water damage remediation services play a critical role, arriving on-scene 24/7/365 fully prepared to take control of the situation with proven techniques and specialized equipment.

But what about the things you shouldn’t do? After a flood, several items on the don’t-do list are vital for safety and to minimize damage as well as help expedite recovery. Here are just four:

  • Don’t enter a flooded house with electrical power still connected. The risk of electrocution is high inside a wet, enclosed environment. Even if only a few rooms are affected by water, make sure power to those circuits is shut off at the main breaker panel. If the entire house is flooded—or if access to the breaker panel is unsafe due to presence of water—have a professional electrician disconnect power by removing the meter.
  • Don’t pump out a flooded basement too rapidly. After outdoor flooding, heavy, saturated soil exerts hydrostatic pressure against basement walls. The basement water level acts as a counteracting force to prevent wall cracking and even potential collapse. Water should be pumped out gradually, beginning with one foot per day until the water level stops rising in the basement, then two to three feet per day until the basement is dry.
  • Don’t postpone mold remediation. After widespread indoor water damage, toxic mold contamination is inevitable. Even as water is being extracted from the house and soaked items such as carpeting removed, the mold clock is ticking. The window of opportunity to prevent spread of active mold after contact with water is 48 hours, at most.  Preventive mold treatment must be concurrent with water damage remediation—not a separate, wait-and-see event.
  • Don’t forget to take photos. To ensure adequate compensation for insurance purposes, you need accurate photos of affected areas before substantial water damage remediation or repair takes place. Try to document all aspects of damage to the structure and belongings inside as soon as possible after re-entering the home.

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 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.

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.

The Flood Is Over… But Is It Safe To Go Home?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

flooded homeReentering a flooded house is a priority for most homeowners as soon as the water recedes. However, it’s important to consider this: Any structure affect by floodwater must be considered a hazardous environment. Injuries and death frequently occur after the main disaster event has subsided—just when the occupants thought it was safe to come back again. Before hastily reentering a flooded house, stop and think about these factors first.

  • If evacuation was mandatory, you shouldn’t even be in the vicinity until local authorities have given the green light for residents to return. You may expose yourself to law enforcement sanctions if you come back to an area before it is officially permissible.
  • Don’t enter a flooded house if the electricity is on. Shut off electricity at the main panel only if the area of the house where the panel is located is completely dry. If it is wet, you’ll need an electrician or a technician from the utility to disconnect power at the meter. Even if the local power grid is down, stay out of the structure until house power has been shut off. Grid electricity could be restored without warning at any minute and result in electrocution.
  • If you smell natural gas, shut off the gas at the main shutoff valve. If you are unable to access the shutoff valve, stay out of the house and call the gas company.
  • Floodwater is contaminated and toxic. Take precautions to avoid direct contact with floodwater including proper clothing, gloves, eye protection and a breathing mask.
  • Be aware of structural hazards. Stay out of rooms with sagging, saturated walls or ceiling. They may collapse at any time.
  • Don’t wade into deep standing water such as a flooded basement.
  • Be aware that animals including venomous snakes may inhabit flooded premises.
  • Open doors and windows to initiate ventilation.
  • Once power is safely restored, don’t turn on any major appliances or your HVAC system if these components were contacted by floodwater. They should be inspected by an electrician first.

Ask the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc. for more about safely reentering a flooded house.

 

How a Mold Problem in Your Home Could Be Making You Sick and What Can Be Done About It

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Could a home mold problem be contributing to health issues in your household? Mold exists everywhere in nature, playing an important and usually harmless role. However, mold growth confined within the enclosed environment of a house subjects occupants to daily doses of airborne mold spores in concentrations not encountered outdoors. Reproductive spores released by active growing mold can accumulate to toxic levels inside today’s tightly-sealed, energy-efficient homes.

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