The weather is grabbing America by the throat. 15 climate disasters have created more than $1 billion worth of losses in 2022 alone. Many of these events involved flooding.
Flooding can destroy your home and uproot your life. Yet knowing what to do if your house floods can help you cut your losses.
What should you do as soon as you notice water in your home? How can you start house cleanup? How can you salvage your damaged items?
Answer these questions and you can survive hurricanes and floods without breaking a sweat. Here is your quick guide.
Stop the Source of Water
It may not be clear where the water is entering your house from. A burst pipe may leak through the floor or walls, or rain may seep in through your roof and down into your house. Try to figure out where the water is.
If you have a burst pipe or an overflowing toilet, you should shut off the water supply running through there. You may need to turn off the water supply in your house, which you can do by turning off the shut-off valve.
You can also prevent water from seeping through doors by placing strips or objects around the doors. Rolled-up towels or pieces of plastic can keep the water from coming in.
If you can, you should turn off the electricity. Electricity can travel through water and electrocute someone, and it can start a fire.
Once you’ve stopped the source of water, you need to evacuate your flooded house. You should evacuate right away if your home is flooded due to a natural disaster or if your home has a lot of water in it.
Do not hesitate or try to take items with you. Get out and find an area where you will be safe. Call 911 and report the flood, and tell the responder where the water is.
Do not go back inside your house. Water can contain deadly pathogens that make you sick. It can also knock you down, causing you to fall or drown.
Provide Proof of the Flood Damage
Once the emergency has passed, you should ask a first responder to inspect your home. They should go inside wearing protective equipment and see if your home is safe to enter.
If it is, you can go inside, but you should wear your own protective clothing. You should wear high boots that cover your legs and have strong heels that grip the floor. You should wear pants and shirts with full sleeves and gloves that cover your fingers, wrists, and forearms.
As you move around the house, you should take photographs of everything you see. Do not worry about cleaning a home just yet. Leave everything in its place so you can show an insurance adjuster what you need to repair.
You can also go outside and take photographs of the damage to the exterior of your property. You can claim money for damaged shutters, fences, and gardens.
If you have receipts or bills for your damaged property, you should obtain them. These documents provide clear figures to your adjuster and let you develop a precise compensation claim.
Talk to your insurer as soon as possible. If your compensation is denied, you can examine other companies like Better Flood Insurance and find coverage specifically for your situation.
Get Rid of the Water
Standing water can pose a number of problems. Pools can seep through your floor and damage the flooring materials and foundation. They can spread bacteria or provide sustenance for mold spores and pests.
You can do this by yourself if it’s safe to go into your home. You can use buckets if you have small pools, but you will need hoses and vacuums to clean up large ones.
Keep your eye out for signs of structural problems. If the walls in your home are warped or if your foundations are cracked, you should not remain inside your home. Call a water damage company that can clean up the water and make repairs to your property.
Once the pools are gone, you need to find any hiding water. Water can slip into structural cavities in walls or floors, so you should look inside these cavities and remove the water in them.
Dry Your Items
As you are removing the water, you should take items out of your home and dry them out. You can hang them on clotheslines so gravity pulls the water out. Make sure the clotheslines are exposed to sunlight so the heat of the sun will remove the water.
If your items have been exposed to water for more than 48 hours, you should throw them out. They likely have mold spores or germs that will be harmful to you. Never eat food that has been in the water for any period of time.
You can ask the water damage company to clean your items for you. But you can disinfect certain items using dish soap or other antibacterial products.
Understand What to Do if Your House Floods
Knowing what to do if your house floods means knowing several things. You need to know where your shut-off valve is so you can turn off your home’s water supply. You must evacuate your home after this.
After you call first responders, you need to document everything that’s broken. You also must get rid of the water in your home, including pools in your walls. Dry out and clean your items before using them again.
After the situation is over, you must learn about preventing a flood. Read guides on flood prevention by following our coverage.