If your Atlanta house floods, your first concern should be your safety and that of your family and pets. Even if a flood seems minimal, remember that water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and even low floodwaters put you at risk of electrical shock.
Those floodwaters can also contain hazardous bacteria and germs, and even sewage waste! Don’t overlook the dangers of a flood in your home or allow your children near the flooded area. Instead, after getting your family and pets to safety, note a quick step-by-step guide of what to do if your Atlanta house floods.
If you can safely reach the home’s main water valve, shut it off completely. This valve is typically located in the basement or attached to a pipe running along an exterior wall. Never assume that shutting off a valve near a toilet or other source of flooding is sufficient, as clogs or burst pipes can put pressure on other pipes in the home, leading to more flooding and added water damage in an Atlanta home.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, as said, and floodwaters touching an outlet or other power source can put you at risk of shock or even electrocution. If you can safely reach the home’s main circuit breaker without walking through a flooded area, switch off the home’s power. Leave the power off until those floodwaters recede away from outlets and other sources of electricity.
You might think that you should first start removing water and cleaning flooded areas before taking pictures, but it’s suggested that you take photos of the extent of flooding. Pictures of floodwaters covering your furniture or entire flooring support a claim you might file for personal property damage and the need for mold remediation in the home, so take photos before floodwaters recede or you begin cleanup efforts.
Insurance companies require you to notify them of a potential claim within a reasonable amount of time, so don’t assume you can wait a few days after a flood and then deal with your policy provider. You don’t need to start filing paperwork while your home is flooded; you can simply leave a voice mail or otherwise notify your agent of a burst plumbing pipe or outside floodwaters covering the living room rather quickly. Doing so will protect you from their argument that you didn’t notify them quickly enough to support your claim.
Because floodwaters often contain lots of harmful bacteria and other contaminants, avoid trying to remove floodwaters with a household mop, sponge, or other equipment and tools you might need to touch with your hands! Instead, rent a sump pump or heavy-duty wet-dry vacuum to remove standing water from your home.
When cleaning your Atlanta home after a flood, avoid turning on fans and opening windows near the area of flooding. Circulating air around the flooded area can stir up that hazardous bacteria and other contaminants! Dehumidifiers and heavy-duty dryers aimed at flooded carpeting or drywall will remove excess water without spreading harmful agents around the home.
It doesn’t take long for drywall, wood floorboards and wall studs, ceiling tiles, carpet fibers, and other building materials and surfaces around your home to absorb floodwaters. In some cases, those materials become ruined just as quickly, and cannot be salvaged. Don’t hesitate to cut away softened drywall and baseboards and remove damaged carpeting, as it’s often better to replace such materials than assume you can clean and repair them or that they’ll become structurally sound again after drying out.
Washing walls and other surfaces with hot water is insufficient for removing bacteria, germs, and other harmful residues. Instead, use a bleach-based cleaner or mix household bleach with water and use a spray bottle to saturate flooded areas. Change your wash rags often so you’re not simply spreading contaminated materials around your home!
After a flood, it’s vital that you clean germs, bacteria, and other harmful agents trapped in upholstery, drapes, carpet fibers, and other materials. Invest in a high-quality furniture cleaner and ensure you rinse and extract those shampoos properly. Have the carpets steamed or shampooed as soon as possible, to ensure they’re clean and free of harmful contaminants.
It might be tempting to use air fresheners to mask pungent odors after flood restoration in an Atlanta home, but strong smells usually indicate mold, mildew, algae, bacteria, and even sewage that needs professional cleaning. If you notice unpleasant odors in your home after your cleanup efforts, call a water damage restoration company in Atlanta for a professional cleaning.
A humidity meter allows you to read moisture levels in the air and ensure materials are dried thoroughly. Rent or buy a meter and check the moisture levels behind walls and under floorboards before replacing drywall, carpeting, and other materials. Trapped moisture and humidity encourages the growth of mold and mildew, so it’s vital that a home be dried properly before it’s rebuilt.
Check the area of flooding often to monitor for potential mold growth and the need for mold remediation in your Atlanta home. If you notice growing mold along baseboards or even the smell of mold, algae, or mildew, call a mold cleanup company in Atlanta for a thorough inspection and cleaning. A mold remediation services company can also determine the reason for mold growth and note if areas need added ventilation or drying, to prevent mold from returning.
Your insurance agent will walk you through the process of filing a claim for water damage Atlanta, but be sure you provide him or her with receipts and all other paperwork as well as those photos! While it’s an inconvenience to work with your insurance company during this time, remember that the only way you’ll be reimbursed for the cost of damages is if you provide your insurance carrier with the forms they need, so don’t overlook contacting your agent and getting a claim to them as quickly as possible.