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?