If you have flooding, please call ITS Environmental Services for immediate assistance. We offer free inspections and estimates. We are leading experts in flood cleanup in the basement and restoration. Let us restore your home or business with our expert care.
At ITS Environmental Services, the safety of our customers is our number one priority. Information is crucial when it comes to protecting your family, loved ones and your employees. We have included several resource pages on our website to provide information concerning various natural and environmental disasters.
Cleaning Up After a Flood
After a flood, you will want to begin cleaning and restoring your home or business. Learn about some of the health & safety risks when returning to your home or office after a flood, how to protect yourself, what you’ll need to begin the cleanup, and how to prevent injury and further damage.
Try to return to your home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.
Do not re-enter the home unless it is safe. Your local police or fire department should evaluate whether your home is safe to re-enter following a flood.
When returning to a home that’s been flooded after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, be aware that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage, which can cause health risks for your family.
In addition, there may be other risks to your health and safety such as exposed wires, structural damage and other potentially harmful hazards. Strong winds and flood waters can down power lines. Rushing water can erode the ground around buried utilities, potentially causing breaks in gas mains. It’s important to check for the smell of gas outside your home, as well as any dangling electrical wires, and call the gas or electric company, or the police or fire department if you find evidence of either, or if you’re uncertain.
Once you are able to safely enter your home, you’ll need to begin taking steps to restore your home. If you have flood insurance, contact your insurance carrier to file a claim. In addition to the emotional toll, there can be significant health & safety hazards when trying to cleanup your home after a flood. You may want to call a professional environmental mitigation company to assist you in the cleanup and restoration. At minimum, it’s a good idea to obtain advice from experts with the experience and knowledge on how to safely begin the cleanup process.
Only once your home is declared safe, here are some of the steps to take to clean out your home:
Flood waters carry biohazardous substances from storm drains, ditches, and sewer lines. When they recede, they can leave mud and toxic substances behind in your home and pose serious health risks.
To protect yourself, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. To shield your hands and face, and to avoid breathing in mold spores and toxic fumes, the EPA recommends wearing an N95 respirator, goggles tight enough to keep dust and small particles out of your eyes, and long, tight-fitting protective gloves.
Those with a weak or compromised immune system should not enter the house until it is safe and free from mold, cleaning chemicals, and the home has been thoroughly cleaned of any other toxins.
Dry Out Your Home as Quickly as Possible
Excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings. A flood in your home or business, whether it’s due to a pipe burst, overflowing toilet or indoor malfunction, or it’s caused by an external event such as heavy rain, a hurricane or other natural disaster, can lead to mold.
You should consult with a professional water damage restoration company due to the health risks involved when exposed to mold.
Before you get rid of contaminated debris, be sure to put on your respirator and other protective gear.
After use, thoroughly clean and sanitize your clothes and shoes, and clean any tools with bleach after you use them.
For insurance purposes, you may need to save pieces of carpet, flooring, and walls, and take photos of the extent of the damage. Contact your insurance carrier if you have any questions.
If any household items, such as pieces of furniture or carpeting, have been damaged and you can’t clean and dry them within 24 to 48 hours of your house being flooded, discard them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Chances are these items already harbor mold and can’t be saved. If there’s any item of value that has to be discarded, take a photo of it for your insurance claim.
Ask your town’s sanitation department about how to dispose of household items from your cleanup.
Remove Damaged Drywall
If the drywall in your home has more than 10 square feet total of water damage, the EPA recommends hiring a contractor with experience handling water damage to remove it. Any area smaller than that, however, you can deal with yourself. You’ll want to cut the drywall 15 to 24 inches above the visible water line.
Check with your local sanitation department to see whether you need to take the drywall to a dump yourself, or if you can just pile it up on your curb for trash pickup.
If the insulation behind the drywall is damp, you’ll need to remove that, too. Nonporous materials, such as metal and glass, can simply be cleaned thoroughly with water and detergent and sanitized with a bleach and water solution. The CDC recommends 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water to remove mold on hard surfaces.
Don’t seal any walls up with new insulation and drywall until everything is completely dry.
Even if they appear dry, ceramic tile, sheet vinyl, laminate, and solid wood floors should be removed because moisture and silt collects underneath them and cause bacteria or mold to grow.
Once you discard these, ensure that everything is clean and dry before installing new flooring. Maintain your home’s humidity at 30 to 50 percent, and use a moisture meter to check that subflooring is at or below 16 percent moisture content before installing new flooring (for wood floors, manufacturers advise that the subfloor’s moisture content should be 13 percent or less).
If you’re unsure when you can reinstall flooring, the EPA recommends that you consult with a contractor or home inspector who has experience with flooding.
Check Appliances and Countertops Thoroughly
Do not plug in or otherwise provide power to your appliances right away because their components could be corroded or damaged by flood waters.
If an appliance, such as your washer or stove, has been submerged in flood water, Consumer Reports recommends discarding it to be safe. If you think an appliance can be saved, make sure to hire a professional repair person to inspect it before putting it back into service.
You still want to wipe down everything to sanitize and kill any possible mold.
If there’s no visible mold, the CDC recommends using a solution of 1 cup of bleach to 5 gallons of water for cleaning most nonporous surfaces, such as the metal on appliances. If you see mold growth, use 1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Be sure to rinse or wipe items and allow them to completely air-dry before you use them.