Flood Damage 101: How to Protect Your Home

Preparing for a Flood

  • Find out the highest water level your property has ever experienced. Also ask your neighbors the highest they have experienced.
  • Make sure all the home’s drainage is clear and operating properly.
  • Check gutters and downspouts and remove blockages.
  • Check the flow of water around the home.
  • Install a flood sensor.

Sandbags
Sandbags help prevent water buildup in any cracks and exposed areas. (richjem/Getty Images Signature)

Action Items

  • Move as much as possible to higher levels in the home.
  • Use sandbags to help keep water out of crawlspaces and areas with cracks.
  • Turn the power off to the home.
  • Check the sump pump. Have a battery-powered sump pump as a backup.
  • Take pictures and video of the home in its current state.

If Your House Has Flood Damage

  • Remove rugs, upholstered furniture, curtains and any other soft surfaces from the home and get them outdoors to dry out.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to reduce moisture.
  • Keep doors and windows open as much as possible. The goal is to keep air moving through the home.

Mold
Mold can go undetectable to your nose so be sure to check every corner and crack for built up moisture. (3dts/Getty Images Signature)

What You Should Know About Mold

  • Mold can begin developing within 24 to 48 hours after a flood damages your home.
  • If your home floods, immediately begin the drying out process.
    • Toss any porous materials that cannot be cleaned or dried.
    • If you have wet drywall and insulation, remove it. Otherwise, mold can grow behind walls.

If You See Mold Growth

  • Wear protective gear including protective eyewear, non-porous gloves, a respirator mask, long sleeves, long pants and rubber boots.
  • Clean hard surfaces with hot water/bleach, and don’t mix bleach with other cleaners.
  • Spray remaining surfaces with an antimicrobial cleaner.
  • Give the rooms plenty of ventilation.

When To Seek Professional Help

If the main power switch was not turned off before the flood damage, do not re-enter until a qualified electrician has determined it safe to do so.

Further Reading

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