Monday, June 14, 2010

Flash Floods in the Midwest and DIY Water Damage Remediation

One of the big stories today was about the flash floods in Oklahoma - and I can't help but think about the other recent disastrous floods in Arkansas and Tennessee. It's a topic that, after the oil spill, has dominated the news for the past month. We're fortunate here in Northern California not to be regularly subjected to flooding (albeit earthquakes and wild fires take their place). As we learned post-Katrina, the biggest issue after the people have been rescued from their flooded homes is dealing with the effect of water damage on homes and other property. It can be a tedious and extremely expensive process. Today I'd like to talk a little about tips for minor flooding incidences and how you can clean it up yourself.

A quick look on the National Flood Insurance Program's website will show you the estimated cost of just 2 inches of water in your home is $7800. This includes floor/moulding replacement and remediation. In my opinion this figure is on the low side of what the cost would be here in the Bay Area. To help save money many homeowners come to us for the specialized equipment to do it themselves instead of hiring a restoration company. Here are some tips from various Government Agencies, Dri-Eaz a leading manufacturer of drying and remediation equipment and our staff.

Drying a Flooded Home

Step #1 Remove the Puddles
Remove the standing water - now! Just after the flood, this step is the most critical. Remove the water as soon as possible in any way you can, ideally with a large Wet/Dry Vacuum for ease of use and efficiency.Sometimes a carpet cleaner or vacuum with sump pump will also do the trick.

Step#2 Clean up the Mess
Thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with disinfectants. The CDC also recommends laundry or dish detergents in their cleanup guide.

Step#3 Take out the 'Mold Factories'
Remove all items that can't be dried out within 48 hours. Unfortunately, wet teddy bears and carpet should probably go if they can't be cleaned and dried ASAP.

Step#4 Thoroughly Dry Your Home
After flooding, flooring and drywall are typically not just wet on the outside but within and underneath as well, especially if the water has been standing for some time.

Using the same high-volume dehumidifiers and specialized fans that remediation companies use will greatly decrease overall drying time and increase the effectiveness of doing it yourself. Depending on what the climate is like outside your home, there are a few good options:

a) If there is dry, warm air outside your home sometimes all you will need are specialty fans that help wick the moisture up off the floor or walls. You'll want to open all the windows and doors and get a strong cross-flow of air. The key is to blow the dry air across the affected areas to dry.

b) If it is raining or there is wet, humid air outside your home, a combination of fans and dehumidifiers will be needed to remove additional moisture from the indoor air and wet areas. But remember, never use heaters to dry wet floors or drywall - this will cause permanent warping.

Step#5 Clean the Air (if you have mold)
When everything is dry, use an "Air Scrubber" with HEPA filter to remove mold spores, dust, pollen and other particles that may have polluted your indoor air during and after the damage. Per Dri-Eaz the HEPA filter is 99.7% effective on particles to 0.3 microns when used correctly. The Negative Airflow part of this unit can also help remove any lingering odors from the water damage and should be used in a closed environment.

To see what Remediation Equipment you can rent at AAA Rentals Redwood City, click here