Surviving a First-Floor Flood
Imagine starting your day by heading downstairs to brew that first cup of coffee. As you reach the first floor, you’re met with an unexpected and unwelcome sight: a flooded space. This situation can throw a wrench into even the best of days. Whether it’s due to a burst pipe, heavy rainfall, or some other unforeseen circumstance, knowing how to respond if your first floor floods is crucial to minimizing the damage and keeping things under control.
As far as water damage goes, first-floor floods are a common occurrence. If you find yourself having to deal with flooding in your home, the best thing to do is call the professionals. The reason? Water damage is one of the leading causes of mold in many homes, especially if you live in South Florida, where there is a high level of humidity. A professional knows what to look for and how to remedy, restore, and repair even the worst water damage. Things like drywall, insulation, and flooring need to be checked for water damage to avoid future mold growth. As the leading mold remediation company in Florida, Rapid Restoration Recovery, Inc. compiled a 12-step guide for homeowners so they know exactly what to do if they are victims of first-floor flooding.
12 Vital Steps to Save Your Home When Your First Floor Floods
1. Identify the source of the flood
Most people think of first-floor flooding in the aftermath of a natural disaster. However, first floors can flood for many other reasons. The first thing you need to do is find the source of the flood.
The following is an abbreviated list of possible sources:
- Leaky water heater
- A broken pipe
- Faulty dishwasher or washing machine
- Clogged drains in the shower
- Overflowing toilets or backed-up sewers
2. Stop the flow of water
Once you’ve identified the source of the flood, you need to stop it. So, if your water heater is leaking or there’s a busted pipe under the sink, you may need to shut your water main to stop it. When you buy a home, it’s essential to make sure you know where your main shut-off valve is in case of such a situation. Once you have shut the source of the water off, it’s best to wait for the professionals to come in and survey the extent of the damage to determine the next steps.
3. Cut the power
If your home is flooded, first, shut off the water at the source. The next step is to shut off all your electricity at the panel box. This protects you from the possibility of electrocution since electric currents can easily pass through water.
4. Inspect for damage
If the flood is due to a hurricane or other natural disaster, a thorough home inspection is in order. Keep an eye out for damage to electric, gas, sewer, and water lines. Look for structural damage, and check your home’s foundation for cracks and warping.
5. Document the damage
After thoroughly inspecting your home, you need to document the damage for your insurance company. Take videos and pictures with your smartphone, and keep a folder so that everything is in one place and easily accessible. This will come in handy when dealing with the insurance company.
6. Call the insurance company
This is when you should call your insurance company or public adjuster. If the flood is due to a natural disaster, then expect long hold lines, so the sooner you call, the faster you will speak with a representative. Your second call should be to a professional restoration company specializing in home damage, mold remediation, and flooding to find out the best way to deal with the situation.
7. Hire restoration professionals
Hire water restoration professionals to survey the damage, provide estimates, and offer cleanup and restoration services. Some insurance companies may send their own contractors to your home for an estimate. Know your rights. You are also at liberty to choose your own adjuster.
8. Water removal
Remove as much water as you can from your home as soon as you receive the go-ahead. Rent a sump pump or wet vac to begin drying out your home. Only once all the water is gone can you really see the extent of the damage and determine the best protocol for remediation and repair.
9. Remove wet and damaged items from your home
Removing any wet or damaged items from your home as soon as possible is important. These are things that absorb water, like area rugs, clothes, or furniture. This will prevent mold growth and uncover areas that are damaged and need to be fixed.
10. Dry out the area
Use a dehumidifier to ensure the area is dry. Commerical-grade dehumidifiers may be necessary for larger areas. This is an important step in the process, one you don’t want to skimp on.
11. Replace materials
Replace drywall, insulation, and any other structural parts of your home that may have water damage. This expense should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.
12. Ventilate properly
Ventilate your home to improve air quality. If you cannot open windows, consider installing HEPA air filters. This is the last step as far as professional remediation is concerned. Once your home is restored to its original condition, you can begin to fill your home with items that need to be replaced.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when inspecting and repairing your home after the first-floor floods:
- Always turn off the fuse box before venturing into floodwaters, even during a power outage
- Store all your documents in the cloud for safekeeping
- Wear protective gear when entering the home due to potential water contamination
- Use proper lifting techniques when moving heavy items to prevent injuries
- Board up windows and doors if they were damaged during a natural disaster to safeguard your home.
Rapid Restoration Recovery Inc. has the tools, skills, and team to provide professional restoration services if your home has recently had first-floor flooding. We specialize in ensuring no home is left exposed to harmful mold or the potential for mold contamination. To get started, call 800-430-5838. Our emergency service is available 24 hours a day.
Q & A
Q: What are the most common causes of first-floor flooding?
A: First-floor flooding can occur due to various reasons, including burst pipes, faulty washing machine hoses, leaking appliances such as water heaters or dishwashers, overflowing toilets, or sewer blockages. Identifying the cause is the first step to mitigating damages.
Q: Why is it important to document the damage?
A: Documenting the damage is essential for the insurance process. Your homeowner’s insurance policy should provide coverage for damage/remediation. Without proper documentation and evidence of the purported damage, you may not receive the proper compensation for repairs and restoration services.
Q: Can I handle water removal and cleanup on my own?
A: You can start the removal process for minor water issues, such as using a wet vac or a sump pump. However, first-floor flood damage is best left to professionals with expertise in dealing with extensive flooding. They have the necessary equipment on hand to ensure a thorough and proper dry-out to prevent mold growth.
Q: How do I prevent mold growth?
A: Preventing mold growth requires thorough drying of the affected area. Using dehumidifiers and proper ventilation is essential. Removing wet and damaged items, such as carpeting, furniture, drapes, and drywall, also helps eliminate potential breeding grounds for mold and bacteria.
Q: What should I do if I’ve experienced first-floor flooding due to a natural disaster?
A: If your home has been flooded due to a natural disaster, prioritize your safety. Turn off the power and avoid wading through floodwaters if possible. Contact your insurance company immediately and consider hiring a water restoration professional to effectively assess and address the damage.
At Rapid Restoration Recovery, Inc., our professional team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to handle all of your water damage, flood restoration, storm, sewage, and mold remediation emergencies.