It only takes moments for your home and personal items to be covered by flood waters. But it can take weeks to salvage your possessions. The key to saving as much as possible is getting items up out of the water as quickly as you can. Here is what you need to know about saving your home and personal items from water damage.
The Flood Water Source is Important
Water restoration companies categorize flood water based on the number and type or hazardous organisms contained within:
- Category 1 - This water is clean and has no microorganisms in it that could make you or your family sick. An example is water from a broken water pipe coming into your house.
- Category 2 - This water contains microorganisms that could make you or your family ill if you drank the water. An overflowing toilet is an example of this type of water.
- Category 3 - This water has bacteria in it that could infect you if it comes into contact with your skin. A backed up sewer line is an example of this.
The flood water can change from being harmless to harmful, depending on how long it sits. Standing water collects more microorganisms, so clean water can turn into a contaminated source in a few days. The dirtier the water source, the more difficult and expensive it is to save an item.
How Long an Item Stays Wet Affects Recovery
The longer an item stays submersed in water, the more likely it will be affected by mold, making recovery difficult. Standing water in your home soaks into drywall material, requiring a mold removal company to treat the walls to prevent the growth of mold. Walls and flooring left under water may have to be torn out and replaced to make sure you're safe from a mold outbreak.
If carpeting is left underwater for longer than 24 hours, the risk of mold and mildew increases. This carpeting would need to be pulled up, shampooed and disinfected to make sure that mold doesn't set it. Throw rugs can be dried and cleaned to save them.
Saving What You Can From a Flood
The sooner you get items up out of the water, the more items you'll be able to salvage. Even when dry, you may discover that it's too costly to save an item and have it be safe for you and your family.
- Books - Most books cannot be saved. The paper swells as it gets wet and glossy pages with photographs will stick together. Unless it is a rare and expensive book, the cost to even partially recover it will be prohibitive.
- Personal papers - Allow these to dry, then photograph or photocopy the originals and throw the originals away.
- Photographs - Some of these may be salvageable. Dry them slowly so the edges don't curl.
- Furniture - If an upholstered item was submerged, there is a high risk of mold growth. Replacement is your best option. If an item became only slightly damp, a water restoration company can clean and disinfect the item to prevent mold from developing.
- Window drapes - If the drapes hung down into the flood water, they can be cleaned by a professional cleaner to make sure there is no mold growth.
- Electronic items - Allow these items to dry thoroughly before turning them on. As long as the flood water was clean, the item may work again. But if the water contained mud, sand or other contaminates, the items may have a deposit of unhealthy dirt in it that could make your family ill.
If you're in need of flood damage restoration and mold removal, visit Allied 24/7 Restoration.