So my house flooded, now what?

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This is written on the second day of flooding in Nashville Tennessee.   Personally, I am still reeling viewing first hand, and seeing the pictures of the flooding happening here.  My home has survived with minimal basement water intrusion, but for many it is far more.   If you have a flooded home, know that many are willing to help.   So, what to do if your home floods. For all of those with a dash of water, to feet of water in their home, I hope this helps in some way.

Here are the cliff notes, and then you can check out some sites I have linked below.

1.  If returning to a flooded home, make sure your electric and gas are off for safety.  Both of these should be able to be shut off at the meters. Older homes may have the disconnect for the electric at the main panel. Don’t touch any electrical panel though if you are standing in water.  For the gas, there is a valve that can be turned off the street side of the meter. You will need a wrench for this.   If the valve is inline with the gas pipe, it is on.  It should form a cross when the gas is off.

2.   Call your insurance company to find out what you should do first.  Try do document everything either video or pictures what is lost or ruined. If your remove anything, check to make sure it is okay to dispose of first before it leaves the premises.

3. If there is standing water, the need is to eliminate.  As a note, if basement is completely flooded as in 8 plus feet, removing all of the water at once can cause the foundation walls to cave in.  Pump out a few feet a day.  For the DIY, pumps can be had at most DIY stores.  Borrowing one can be a good method as well.  When it is too low for a pump to work, if you can squeegee the water outside, that is best, a wet/dry shop vac is the next best alternative.  Borrow one, but remember to frequently empty them.  They can get very heavy!

4. Removal of all fabric and water holding items.  Carpet is a must to remove.  If only a small section of carpet gets wet, try vacuuming up as much water as possible, and then pulling up the section that is wet so a fan can dry around and under the affected areas. If you have quite a bit of waste, many times a dumpster is much cheaper in the long run to have around than carting the waste back and forth to a landfill.  Here in town, Demo Plus and Waste Management both supply dumpsters.  My favorite is Job Site Recycling.  Their phone number is 1 931-840-5716.

5. Here is a great tip.  For delicate items that you don’t have time to deal with right now, try freezing them.  Although if your power is off, that may be a problem.  Pictures, heirlooms etc.  When you have time to deal with them, then thaw them out.

6. Sometimes, real wood floor can be salvaged.  I have seen many old wood floors settle down after a few weeks with a dehumidifier.  As for wet drywall, drilling holes in the drywall inbetween studs can be a great way to see if there is moisture.  Sometimes cutting a few inches up on the drywall and removing it can let the cavities dry.  If water did find its way into the stud walls, making sure the moisture comes out is key.  Wood framing dries well, insulation and drywall not so well.

7. Add a dehumidifier to the scene. This can be a big ongoing help to any basement that has seen water.  You will be amazed at how much they can pull out.  Keep fresh air and a fan going until humidity settles down.

8.   Feel free to ask neighbors and friends for help.  This is the right time to do so.

9.  Be aware of what you are signing if you have a professional remediation company come in.  They sometimes will include a contract for re-construction.  Some companies can get very expensive as well.  Try and get a fixed bid if you go this route.

10. If in need, email or call someone for helpful information.  My contact information once again is chris at crimminsconstructionllc dot com and my phone number is 615-586-9450.  As able, I am more than willing to answer questions, and even look at your own situation and point you in the right direction.

Here are a few links with additional information.

What are your tips and cleanup methods?




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12 Responses to So my house flooded, now what?

  1. @LaureeAshcom May 2, 2010 at 8:15 PM #

    i have watched from afar and prayed for you guys…

    this is a GREAT summary of recovery steps!!!!

  2. Laura Hamm May 2, 2010 at 11:38 PM #

    I shared this information with my daughter – Their family was evacuated by boat from Miami Ave in Donelson after spending the day helping the neighbors on the other side of the street who were in real danger. It is really bad up there – If they open the dam it will be tragic. As of now they will probably lose everything on the main floor and they thought they were safe except for the basement. They moved their cars to higher ground but then the road was closed. Thanks for posting this information

    • chriscrimmins May 3, 2010 at 5:42 AM #

      Thanks Laura. My heart goes out to your family. Keep us posted!

  3. Jessica Turner May 3, 2010 at 4:10 AM #

    I would also recommend contacting if you are going to have a big insurance claim. They will work with your insurance company on your behalf and have a very high success rate of securing more money. They are amazing. My firm works with them and I am always impressed by how much they help people.

    • chriscrimmins May 3, 2010 at 5:43 AM #

      Thanks Jessica. I really appreciate that added information. Should be a crazy week for the insurance world!

  4. Ashley May 3, 2010 at 2:23 PM #

    I found this post via Mary’s Facebook page.

    Thanks for the info, Chris. My crawlspace and detached garage are flooded, and we got a small utility pump that is ever so slowly getting rid of the water. My concern is that once we finally get all the water out there will still be major potential for mold. Do you have any advice for post-flood mold prevention?

    • Chris Crimmins May 3, 2010 at 6:56 PM #

      Thanks for the question Ashley. Sorry for the trouble. I will try and post more on the blog, but I will try and answer your question. Your crawlspace should dry out rather well, and if dried well shouldn’t present a problem with mold. Wood will dry rapidly if air is exchanged with the outside. One of the main concerns in a crawlspace is the air ducting for the HVAC. If water has infiltrated the insulation, more than likely you will have to remove the affected ducting. Insulation in particular will hold moisture. As far as your detached garage, the wood should dry nicely. Just make sure to allow air to move in and around everything that was wet. Any fabrics etc should be removed immediately. Do let me know if you have any other questions.

  5. Michele May 6, 2010 at 9:59 AM #

    Jarvis Property Restoration * legitimate co registered with Gov’t in Nashville Metro Smartrac and Federal * Duns #109189829 Central Contractor Registration and ORCA. 250 crew members in Nashville, 20 semi’s of flood pumping, generator, structure drying equipment. 30 years in disaster response. Call them at 866-452-7847 Toll Free. or check their website at Honest and reputable. They give their pricing up front. They handled all 24 Govt bldgs when the entire city of Cedar Rapids flooded just like we are experiencing now.


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