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A Description of Typical House Flood Damages and Cleanup Requirements:

If your house has ever been deluged by a flood or water damage event, it water can devastate the structure of the house, your personal belongings, and air quality of the indoor environment. Floodwater can contain disease-causing bacteria, pollutants and other undesirable contaminants that a flood can cause in your home. Very expensive personal items can be completely destroyed in a flood, with just an inch or two of water. Even carpeting, drywall, appliances, and furniture can absorb enough water to become unsalvageable within just minutes. Severe flooding in a home whether on the East Coast, West Coast or Central America from a storm such as a hurricane or category 5 storms may add damage to even more expensive systems such as ventilation system ducting, roof systems, septic systems, utilities, and the foundation of the building.

Post flood and water damage cleanup can be a difficult and complex process. The following is a partial list of common practices and advice for handling flood damaged items:

  • Contact an emergency water damage and restoration company right away like a company located in Los Angeles such as Mold Masters.  Early detection and cleanup will significantly reduce the amount of time and expense involved in a water damage event.
  • Your insurance agent. will cover 99% of water damage by your insurer. Whether or not your policy covers water damage, your agent will have an adjuster will contact you before they contact a Certifield Mold Removal Company like Model Masters Inc. Be sure to photograph the damage as you discover it. Insurers require complete records for all claims, applications for disaster assistance and income tax deductions. The more complete the documentation, the easier the process will be.
  • Contaminated Soil:
    Get a shovel to remove as much wet soil as possible, then use a hose or pressure washer to remove wet soil from hard surfaces.
  • Clean and Disinfect: Clean surfaces with very hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner. Disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water or a store-purchased disinfectant will also work just as well.
  • Kitchen Contents:
    • Soak glass, porcelain, china, plastic dinnerware and enamelware for at least 10 minutes in a disinfecting solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per gallon of hot water.
    • Disinfect all silverware, metal utensils, and pots and pans by boiling in water for 15 minutes.  Bleach should not be used in this instance due to the chemical reaction with many metals that causes them to discolor and possibly get ruined.
    • Cupboards and countertops should be cleaned and rinsed with a 10% bleach solution prior to storage.
  • Furniture and InteriorContents:
    • Furniture, rugs, bedding and all clothing should be allowed to dry outside as soon as possible. Turn on air conditioners or dehumidifier to remove moisture that can turn into mildew later.  Be sure to open at all windows to ventilate with outdoor air. Turn on fans to circulate air throughout the house. If mold has already started to develop, brush off items outdoors to prevent cross-contamination inother areas of the house. Vacuum floors, ceilings and walls with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter vaccum to remove dust, then wash with disinfectant. Be sure to wear a protective mask that covers your mouth and nose at a minimum to prevent breathing mold spores and wear googles too. Mold can be very dangerous to your health, so if you are unsure about mold cleanup in any way, call a professional mold removal company such as Mold Masters Inc.
    • Mattresses that have been water damaged should be discarded.  Absolutely No Exceptions!
    • Upholstered furniture is porous and soaks up contaminants like a sponge.  These items should either be cleaned by a professional or discarded if they are unsalvageable.
    • The cost to repair and or salvage wood veneered furniture is usually exceeds it worth, and therefore should be thrown away if damaged
    • Solid wood furniture can usually be restored by a professional restorer, unless the damage is severe enough to warrant its disposal.
    • Toys, stuffed animals, and any item used by children should be thrown away if they have been exposed to contaminated water.
    • Photographs, books and important documents can be frozen  in place and cleaned later. They can be dried carefully and slowly. Any soil should be cleaned off andthe contents should be placed in plastic bags and placed in a frost-free freezer.  Freezing protects from mold and additional damage until the decision is made whether to thaw and clean them or take them to a professional restorer.
  • Interior Ceilings and Wallboard:
    • Drywall and Plaster wallsare porous and similar sponge when wet. Water will “wick up” a wall as much as 8 to 10 feet.  It is important to remove drywall, plaster and wood paneling to the flood level. If building materials have been saturated by contaminated water, it can pose a permanent health hazard and should be removed. If most of the wallboard was soaked by “clean” water, it is advised to cut a 6”- to 12” high section from the floor and from the ceiling top of walls. This creates an environment of circulating air movement for faster drying. A reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade works well, but use only the tip of the blade and watch out for pipes, ductwork and wiring.  This type of work is usually performed by professional, certified water damage and mold abatement companies, so if you are unsure of performing this work yourself, you should contact a company in your area.
  • Electrical
    For obvious safety reasons, electricity must be shut off and inspected by a licensed & bonded electrician before being put back in service, ask Mold Masters to recommend one to you. All electrical wiring must be completely dry prior to reuse; these include switches, convenience outlets, light outlets, panels, and junction boxes
  • Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning Ducts (HVAC)-
    These systems require inspection by a licensed tradesperson to determine usability
  • Appliances
    For your safety, appliances should not be used when if they have suffered water damage. Running equipment before it is properly cleaned could cause additional damage possibly electrocution. Professional cleaning is recommended for electrical devices and appliances. The hard exterior can be hand cleaned.
  • Basement or Crawl Space Flooding:
    Standing water in a basement should be removed by a certified water damage or flood abatement company.
  • Flooring:
    Wood subflooring, hardwood flooring, and other coverings such as vinyl, linoleum, and carpet must be removed if saturated.
    • Carpeting:
      Carpets and rugs should be dried as quickly as possible.  Padding should be discarded and replaced, no exceptions.  If sewage-contaminated water has come in contact with your carpeting, it should be disposed of for health and safety reasons.
    • Wood floors:
      Wooden floors should be dried gradually. Sudden drying could cause cracking or splitting. Water damage restoration companies can accelerate drying time by forcing air through the understructure of the homeso that hardwood floorboards can dry. If buckling occurs, they should be removed and replaced.
  • RoofingDamage from Water Intrusions-
    • A licensed roofing contractor should be called to thoroughly inspect a water or storm damaged roof.
  • Septic systems-
    The overflow of water due to a flooded septic sewage system is very hazardous. It may lead to a back-up of sewage in the home, contaminated drinking water and lack of sanitation until the system is fixed. When flooding or saturated soil conditions persist, a septic system functionality is compromised. When the soil is saturated, bacteria can enter the groundwater and contaminated a home’s drinking water.
  • If all else fails and you are unsure about any of the above, call a professional mold removal and company like Mold Masters today!


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