One of the biggest challenges homeowners face after dealing with a flood-damaged home is not the cleanup but the process of drying out the home itself. It might seem like an arduous task at first, but armed with the proper know-how, airing out your home and restoring it back to a livable and dry status is easier than you may anticipate.
When partaking in any type of home renovation, whether it’s a full restoration project or a simple clean-up, safety is your number one priority. When dealing with a flood-damaged home there are a number of situations and instances you want to look out for. If you live in an area or region that was exposed to large amounts of standing water, it’s in your best interest to contact your power company and have them temporarily disconnect your service if this wasn’t already taken care during outages caused by the flood. If you are completely unsure whether your home is safe electrically, contact a licensed electrician to get a professional opinion. There are appliances in your home such as the water heater or an electric stovetop that are connected to the electrical system and could have been affected by the water. Another safety issue to consider is bacteria. If your home is located next to a river, the water could contain sewage. Bacterial content isn’t a huge issue here, but it could be if the conditions are right. If you find yourself worried or in need of some peace of mind, most surfaces can be disinfected with a solution made from one part (10%) bleach and nine parts (90%) water. Your walls will need to be handled in a different way because of the material they are made of.
Once the flood water has subsided, you have approximately 48 to 72 hours before mold can start to reproduce and spread. To help prevent this, follow these 5 five easy steps to securing a dry and water-free home:
1. Move air naturally
If the humidity in your area isn’t too high, open all the windows and doors in your home to begin moving air around. Do not forget to open both closet and cabinet doors and remove any drawers.
2. Circulate air using fans
If your HVAC ducts were underwater during the flood, it is ill-advised to use your central air conditioner to aid in drying your home. To circumvent this, you can buy or rent high powered fans to push air around and really speed up the process.
3. Remove moisture with a dehumidifier
The evaporated water that’s leaving the materials and surfaces in your home are likely to stick around in the air and really become a nuisance when you’re trying to dry out your home. Purchasing a portable humidifier can help aid you in getting rid of the moisture on all fronts. When dehumidifying a room, be sure to close all windows and doors to help prevent any additional moisture from getting inside.
4. Using wet/Shop Vac
Using a high powered commercial vacuum will help in removing the water and moisture from furniture and carpeted floors. If you don’t already own a wet/Shop Vac, try your local hardware store to purchase or rent one. These vacuums are designed to withstand large amounts of substances that a normal vacuum can’t handle. This is perfect for the water that has been absorbed by your carpet or your area rugs.
5. Absorb It
We’ve all seen them before, those small little packs of beads that sometimes show up in your shoe boxes or a shipped delivery. It’s not a pack of sugar, although it resembles it. It’s actually a group of substances called desiccants that come in the form of silica gel, clay or calcium oxide, which you may have seen printed on the side of these packets. What these little guys do is soak up moisture like a super sponge. Place your soiled linens, curtains and towels alongside the gel packs in an airtight container or a sealed area like a closet. Depending on how much moisture your items contain, this process could take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. If you need them immediately, you can easily head to the fastest online retailer and have some delivered. It might also be a good idea to begin saving any silica gel packets you encounter in your packages. You never know when these little guys will come in handy.