What to do After a Flood
Every residential area runs the risk of natural disasters. If you are in Egypt, you are most likely wary of drought and sandstorms. And if you live in Kansas you’re most likely used to dealing with tornadoes that may or may not send you to a magical world filled with witches, munchkins, and magical shoes. However, if you are living in the Chattanooga, TN area, your biggest problem is bound to be flooding. And, if you are wary of it in the area, then it is for a very good reason. Nashville, TN alone had two major floods, once in 1926 and again in 2010, and that one was bad enough to displace 10,000 people from their homes. So, it would come to reason that citizens from that area would know what to do when a large scale disaster like that reoccurs.
So, what do you do when a flood hits your home? That is where advice from the top experts on home repair come in!
Once you take care of yourself and get your insurance paperwork all in order, you can focus on reparations. Whether you are helping with a relief team, or you are working with hired contractors, there are steps that you can take that can make things easier for cleanup and recovery.
Dehumidify the House
One of the things that will linger after the waters recede is humidity. Trapped moisture in housing materials is a breeding ground for things like both mold and fungi. However, it can not only cause a health hazard but can cause injury by causing short outs to electrical parts. So, it is important that before you start salvaging your home, that you get the proper equipment and take the proper time to let your house dry.
When dehumidifying your house, the most important thing to do is to keep the house as open as you possibly can. That means leaving the doors, closets, windows, and cabinets exposed to the open air. The best time to do this is when the humidity in the Chattanooga, TN area is lower outside than it is inside the flooded home. Usually, that happens during the day. Use a humidity gauge if you aren’t sure.
If you have running electricity in your home, and the flooding is only minor, you can use fans and dehumidifiers. Fans help dry your home by moving the air around. However, you should be wary before you use any air conditioning units, especially if the ducts or the furnace blower were under water.
Another useful thing to help reduce the moisture in a formerly flooded area is the use of desiccants. Desiccants are materials that naturally absorb moisture, such as cat litter with clay components, calcium chloride pellets, and chemical dehumidifier packs. These are useful for areas where it is harder for are to cycle through like closet doors and other enclosed areas. Make sure you read the directions for desiccants before you use them because some of them might cause skin irritation.
Clean up Debris
Once you have sorted out what mementos you wanted to keep and what garbage you need to toss, you need to asses the parts of your home that cannot be saved and remove them immediately. It will take several weeks for your home to dry out, so you will need to be patient and savvy if you want to preserve the right parts of the damaged house.
- When dried naturally, wooden foundations will regain its original shape and expel excess moisture.
- However, hollow wooden doors with cardboard spacers can warp and will likely come apart during flooding.
- Wood with different layers of laminate (like plywood) may dry at different rates. This causes the layers to naturally separate and warp beyond repair.
- Most ceilings and walls are covered with wallboard.
- Wallboard is fragile if it stays wet for a long period of time.
- If it has been soaked with floodwater, it is trapped with contaminants. Throw it out.
- If it has been soaked with clean rainwater, it might be salvageable enough to dry in place.
- Plaster, while more durable will take a long time to dry in comparison to other materials.
- If it separates itself from the wood laths on the wall, then the wall will need replacing.
- Styrofoam is the strongest contender, and may only need to be hosed off to remove any debris.
- Fiberglass batts should be thrown out if they are muddy. If they are just wet, you can remove it from the wall so that both of them can dry separately.
- Cellulose should be replaced immediately since it absorbs water for a long time.
These tips and more came from the Red Cross booklet for flood relief. It is a book full of rich details of which I have barely scratched the surface. There are more ways that you can help your home recover, too many for me to list in one article alone. However, if you are in the Chattanooga, TN area then you might not have to worry about remembering everything if a flood ever happens.
Allied Crawlspace repair is local to the Chattanooga, TN area. This company has the training and tools necessary to help repair your foundation. They also know what to do when it comes to mold removal. So, if your basement is flooded, give them a call.