Experiencing a flood or water damage to a home is truly devastating. In some cases, floods can be anticipated, but that’s not always the case. Although heartbreaking, any belongings which were substantially damaged by water might need to be tossed. We hope that’s not the case! ServiceMaster by Rice crews have extensive experience in handling water damage caused by sump pump failure, sewer backup, flooding, overflow of water, leaking appliances, and frozen pipes.

Returning home to the aftermath of a flood and determining what, if anything, can be salvaged is a daunting task. Additionally, when something of sentimental value becomes damaged, knowing what to clean or toss becomes even more challenging. Luckily, your home and furniture will most likely be recoverable.

Re-Entering a Home After a Flood

First and foremost, you should never leave your safety up to chance. In major disasters especially, it is best to leave re-entry to experts. Do not enter your home to salvage materials until you have assurance that it is safe to do so. Never attempt to shut your electrical system off in standing water, enter a house that smells of gas, or address other hazards yourself.

Before re-entering your home, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set a few helpful guidelines regarding air quality post-flood/water damage. Inhaling hazardous mold can cause various health concerns, including allergic reactions. Additionally, the flood water itself may contain microorganisms, such as bacteria or chemicals that may also affect your health. Before returning to your home, make sure it is safe to re-enter and wear appropriate attire. Protective clothing, boots, gloves and masks are recommended by the CDC.

Be sure to look for hazards when re-entering, including:

  • Downed power lines: Avoid walking through nearby puddles or standing water to avoid risk of electrocution. Don’t touch any dropped lines — just to be safe!
  • Inspect exterior utility lines: Take notice of any exterior gas lines with leaks or cracks. If you suspect a leak, call the fire department and move away from the structure immediately.
  • Be cautious of wildlife: Insects, snakes and other animals may have drifted into a home after a flood, so use caution while moving around objects.

General Property Salvaging Tips

After your home has been cleared as safe to re-enter in order to inspect furniture, belongings and your home – survey the damage as quickly as possible. Photograph everything, you’ll most likely need to file a report for insurance.

Move furniture to a dry area as soon as possible to facilitate drying. When items remain in a damp or wet area for more than two days, they will begin the molding process and continue to get worse.

To help decide whether a belonging is worth salvaging or not, you need to evaluate the extent of the damage. Take into consideration the cost of the item, cost of having it repaired as well as its sentimental value. If it has family value, you may want to consider keeping that item to repair despite the damage.

What Can Be Saved?

Solid surface materials can be easily cleaned and preserved, such as metal, glass or plastic. Simply mix antibacterial dish soap and water or try a mixture of ½ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water. The bleach water mix is a great way to disinfect hard surfaces.

Clothing or fabrics are easy to save by washing in regular laundry detergent – unless it has been damaged already. The sooner you are able to clean the material, the less likely it is to have irreversible damage.

Learn how to identify types of mold, but then make sure to contact a professional mold specialist to assess a potential infestation for the safety of your home and your health.

What Needs to Be Thrown?

If a belonging has a spongy surface and is already moldy or submerged in floodwater, you’ll probably need to throw it away. This includes mattresses, box springs, cardboard, stuffed animals and padding. Carpet, upholstery and furniture are on that list too but we may be able to help! Request a quote today to let us do the dirty work for you.

Paper products, including books, need to be thrown away once they are moldy. Items with sentimental value, like wedding albums or a family Bible, can be restored through a pricey but effective freeze-drying process that preserves items. Pro Tip: place any paper product items into a freezer as soon as possible, then contact a contractor to preserve them.

ServiceMaster Recovery & Restoration Procedure Guidelines:

  1. Identify the Water Damage Source: If the source is unknown, we conduct a thorough examination of the structure to detect any moisture.
  2. Evaluate Carpeting, Flooring, Walls, Ceiling and Cabinets: We then determine the salvageability by inspecting each item to identify the level of need for drying.
  3. Structural Drying: Finally, we perform an extensive inspection to dry the affected areas with moisture measurement control.

Seek Help for Water Damage Recovery

Recovering from a flood or water damage is no small task, but if you take it step by step it’s not impossible. Staying organized and acting quickly will benefit you in the long run. ServiceMaster by Rice has a thorough process to help you make this process easier. How can we help you? Get in contact with us for emergency water & flood damage repair right away!