What Should Homeowners Do First After Flood Damage Hits?
SERVPRO techs can tell Seattle homeowners actions to take before they arrive to help lessen the damage to the home and property
After storms with heavy rains roll through Seattle, the potential for flooding increases around homes. Although SERVPRO crews arrive mere hours after the call, no matter when it gets made, there are a few things homeowners can do to ensure everything in the damaged area is not lost and needs replacement. However, SAFETY FIRST.
- Close off the area if possible
- Turn off the electricity to the home if there is a possibility of water coming into contact with electrical outlets
- Avoid breathing airborne water vapor or coming into contact with the floodwater
- In the early stages that flood water enters the home, move small items and valuables to another area if it is safe to do so
What Can Homeowners Do to Protect Their Homes from Needing Flood Water Removal?
There is a line between what Seattle homeowners can do for flood water removal preparation and the reality of how fast your home can take on a large amount of water. There are some things property owners can do around the outside of the home to minimize the potential for flooding that affects their house. First and foremost, keep the water flowing away when it rains, and that can happen in a few ways, such as:
- Make sure your gutters stay clean and invest in gutter screens if leaves or debris is a frequent issue causing clogs
- Ensure the grade of your property directs water away from the structure and not toward it
- Build up your yard, particularly in areas where water pools
- Inspect your home and make sure thresholds and seals around doors and windows are intact
When SERVPRO tech performs the removal of water from homes, they use a broad array of tools and equipment. Particularly in the case of flooding in a home, the sheetrock wicks the moisture rapidly, and often portions of it require removal to dry the interior of the walls. Even though in many instances, the water appears to recede as quickly as it entered the home, it usually migrates inside wall cavities, behind the baseboard, and seeps under floors. The removal of the deteriorated building materials allows for more significant airflow to occur and helps complete drying.
What does detection equipment do for a flooded home?
SERVPRO techs bring their detection equipment to locate all areas of moisture retention so the structure can get dried entirely. They use penetrating probes, devices that measure the interior humidity levels, and infrared cameras to get a reliable picture of the number of air movers and dehumidifiers they need to dry the area as quickly as possible. This is all part of setting drying goals to determine the amount of time and baseline humidity levels to strive for.
Another big factor that affects drying is the envelope of the structure. In short, it means how much outside factors affect the drying inside the home. There are three basic kinds of envelopes for homes:
- Tight envelope indicating rain or humidity levels outside have no bearing on the drying inside the home
- Moderate envelope can mean certain areas of the house have damage allowing outside air inside, or doors and windows are getting opened frequently
- Loose envelope usually applies to older structures and unless they have received energy-saving upgrades, generally have substandard vapor barriers and insulation
Due to the potential for many contaminants and hazards present in floodwater, SERVPRO techs test the water before beginning the cleanup and treat it accordingly to make it safer to handle during the extraction phase of the mitigation. After drying, which may take days to complete, the techs wipe down the surfaces with antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning agents to leave the area sanitized.
The technicians are alert to the signs of mold growth during the cleanup of a home post-flooding. The setup of an infestation can occur as rapidly as 48 hours after this type of water damage in a home. Mold colonies, in particular, can grow and spread on wood studs and sheetrock, and that is where the techs concentrate the use of antimicrobial agents to inhibit the potential for mold to be an issue. This attention to drying the structure and avoidance of the secondary problems ensures the repairs can start quickly to bring the home to its pre-flood condition.
SERVPRO of Central Seattle at (206) 282-9500 serves the local community for any size flood water removal needed. The certified techs know how to handle this home disaster safely and can restore your home back to normal, "Like it never even happened."