Why Immediate Water Removal is Necessary
After a flood occurs in a building, professional water damage cleanup is required to remove debris efficiently. Invading water travels through a building quickly to trickle down into lower levels such as crawl spaces or basements where it begins to erode the cement foundation and wooden frame. Fiber items are saturated immediately by moisture that often contains raw sewage. Wall-to-wall carpeting absorbs the liquid, helping the moisture to spread to underlying tile surfaces and along baseboards before it creeps up drywall to destroy electrical wiring and insulation. There are several steps that individuals must follow to begin the flood water extraction process.
Step One: Contact Power Companies
As soon as people are out of the flooded structure, it is time to take additional action by contacting utility companies to make sure power is turned off to avoid electrical shocks or natural gas explosions. Do not attempt to turn power off on your own due to the dangers involved.
Step Two: Call Insurance Agents
Contact insurance agents concerning the process of cleaning after a flood to get full reimbursement for damages. An insurance carrier may send an inspector to the building to take photographs or videos to document damage. It is also a good idea for the homeowner to document additional damage as the water removal progresses.
Step Three: Hire Knowledgeable Technicians
Hire technicians with training in restoring a property to its previous condition. Several certifying bodies have developed step-by-step processes designed to remove flood contamination from a building and its contents safely. By categorizing and classifying the damage, the water damage cleanup team is able to use appropriate methods to minimize mold growth and mildew odor.
Step Four: Buy Protective Gear
A professional team of remediation experts will wear protective gear while cleaning to avoid pathogens such as bacteria and viruses that are in the invading water, sewage and mud. Homeowners assisting with the process must have sturdy gloves, water-resistant boots and breathing masks to avoid contamination.
Step Five: Use Heavy-Duty Equipment
When lower levels of a building have standing water, immediate installation of sump pumps is required as part of the water removal process. Because electrical power is turned off in the building, the remediation team uses portable generators instead. The generators are necessary to operate heavy-duty fan systems to improve air circulation in the building while reducing humidity levels.
Step Six: Begin Shoveling Mud
When a flood carries in massive amounts of dirt, floors are covered with mud after the water is removed. Before additional sanitizing can begin in a home, technicians must shovel the filthy mud into hazardous waste containers for removal and disposal at hazmat locations to avoid contaminating soil and water in landfills.
Step Seven: Remove Damaged Furniture
Remove large furniture such as upholstered couches, beds and tables from the home to access the floors and walls. Water-soaked mattresses and furniture is typically beyond repair and is thrown away as hazardous waste. In some cases, wooden furniture is repairable but is often not an affordable option unless the items are antiques or have sentimental value.
Step Eight: Photographs and Documents
Collecting paper documents and photographs quickly after a flood is essential to avoid degradation. Cleaning photographs and documents requires a professional restorer, but there are ways to protect the items. Clean major debris from these items carefully before placing the documents and photographs in plastic ziplock bags before freezing to prevent mildew and mold.
Step Nine: Suction Wet Carpets
One of the most important reasons to call a professional remediation company is to have an efficent flood water extraction process on carpets. The technicians lift wall-to-wall carpets from the floors to remove moisture underneath with suctioning devices before applying chemicals that destroy mold spores and pathogens.
Step Ten: Walls and Ceilings
If flood water has invaded the walls and ceilings of a building, then removing wet materials is necessary to reach electrical systems and insulation. Remediation companies understand how much drywall or wood paneling to remove to ensure there is no contamination from mold spores that will spread throughout the building.
Step Eleven: Repair Electrical Items
Many appliances and electronics are ruined by water due to contamination that shorts wires or corrodes components. Have an expert electrician check expensive items such as refrigerators or cooking stoves to determine if repairs are possible. It is often less expensive to replace televisions, computers and small appliances with the reimbursements from an insurance company.
Step Twelve: Clean and Disinfect
After the major flood water extraction process is completed, it is time for the smaller restoration tasks, including sanitizing surfaces with disinfectants and washing everyday items such as clothing, bed linens and dishes. Either boiling water or chlorine bleach is required after a flood from sewage to destroy dangerous bacteria.