Mold Problems From Flooding and Water Damage
Flooding and flood water damage is insidious. Long after you dry out, you might still suffer flood damage–in the form of mold. After every flood, it’s important to get your mold risk evaluated by an expert.
We hope you’ll never be faced with a flood. But if you ever are, we can help. And there are steps you can take to have more control over the outcome.
Before the Flood – Minimizing the Damage
When there is a flood warning or a flood watch, move as much as you can out of the likely path of the water. If possible, remove furniture, electronics, valuables, important papers, and carpets from basements.
Get all such items as high up in the house as possible. Even placing treasured items on a table or high shelf may keep them out of harm’s way. Keep important papers, like insurance contact information, with you. Gas up the car. Always have bottled water on hand–floods can contaminate your water system. Make sure you have ready-made, non-perishable food in the house. Even minor floods can cause power outages, so get candles, flashlights, and batteries ready. If you have a cell phone, make sure it’s charged and keep it handy.
FEMA offers some resources:
- Preparing for a flood
- What to do immediately after flood
- Bulletins about declared disaster areas
But floods can come without warning–and they can wreak havoc that no amount of planning could possibly control.
After the Flood — Repairing Water Damage
Hurricane Katrina taught us all: Floods are devastating. And adequate assistance is hard to come by. But we can help.
There are two phases to flood recovery, drying and remediation: Drying and Remediation.
First, you need to get the water out. Standing water should be pumped by a professional, as there are dangers in improper water removal. For example, electric pumps pose the threat of shock. Also, removing the water too soon can cause walls to buckle and even collapse. In a pinch, your local fire department may be able to help get the water out, but their equipment and knowledge cannot be expected to equal that of a professional. We can pump your basement with proper care, and can use high-speed fans and other technology to safely and quickly dry your space out.
There are a few steps you can take:
- Remove furniture and everything else.
- Start draining the carpet from the end farthest from the door. Roll the carpet toward the door, wringing out the water as you go.
- Then use the same technique on the padding underneath.
If the floodwaters went above your ceiling, it may need to be replaced. Check for sags and bulges. Remove any wet insulation in the ceiling to allow the joists to dry. (If the insulation passes a mold inspection, you may be able to reuse it.)
Remove any trapped water. To check, take off the baseboard and stick an awl or knife into the wall about two inches above the floor. If you find water, drill a hole and let it drain. (Caution: do not use an electric drill.) In a newer home, you may have metal sill plates. Metal sills act as gutters at the bottom of the wall. If you need to drain the wall, drill a hole at the floor level.
Watch out for the wiring, usually found at the same height as your outlets. If there is wet insulation, you will have to remove it.
Repeat the process to drain all the wall cavities. Make a hole between every stud, usually every 16 to 24 inches. Or call a professional. A flood is a devastating, overwhelming experience. Let us get your water out, and get your home on its way to restoration.
After you dry out, and even if you don’t need structural repairs, there may still be flood damage beyond what you can see: mold. After every flood, it’s important to get your mold risk evaluated by an expert.
Let us come out and give you a free mold inspection. If there’s mold, it’s important to get it removed as soon as possible.
And if there’s no mold, we’ll tell you that. We know you’ve been through a traumatic experience, and we’re not out to prey upon you. We’re ethical. And–trust us–there’s no shortage of real mold out there.