If you are unfortunate enough to experience flooding in your home, it can be a very upsetting, worrying and anxious time. Though do be aware that there will be procedures put in place by your local authority, emergency services, Citizens’ Advice Bureau to assist you in removing flood water, dealing with waste and providing temporary accommodation.
Following a flood, there are some basic precautions and actions you can take to get your home on the road to recovery. Most importantly though, remember to stay safe and always listen to the advice of the emergency services.
Before re-entering your home, you must check with the emergency services that it is safe to do so.
Contact your insurance company and follow their advice. They may arrange to send someone out to you to take stock of the damage.
Switch off your mains gas and electricity supply. You may need to speak to your power supplier to get this done.
Wear appropriate safety equipment such as rubber boots and gloves, as well as an apron. It is also advisable to wear a face mask and goggles, as cleaning can cause water to splash from scrubbing, hosing or pressure-washing. You should treat flood water as contaminated water, so you should take appropriate precautions when dealing with anything that has come into contact with the flood water.
Take lots of pictures of your home and property once you return and during the cleaning up and drying out process, as evidence for your insurance company.
Removing flood water from your home
Please be aware that the flood water levels outside your home must be lower than those inside your home before you can use a flood pump.
Use a shovel to remove any sludge and mud that may have entered your home during the flood.
Open any doors and windows to allow a flow of air through the home – this will aid the drying process.
Cleaning up following a flood
Once the flood water has been removed from your home you can begin the cleaning up and drying out processes.
Thoroughly clean all surfaces, walls and floors, especially the underside and inside of cabinets and cupboards.
Before using any water from your taps, you should check with your local authority that the water supply is safe to use. Then clean and disinfect your taps thoroughly and allow them to run for a while before use.
Also clean and disinfect plates, pans, cutlery, chopping boards etc. before using them again. Throw away any wooden chopping boards and utensils if they have come into contact with flood water.
Wash any soft items (eg clothing, bedding and children’s toys) on a 60°C cycle with detergent. If your drainage system has problems, or if you suspect it may, then it is advisable to wash soft items in a laundrette until your waste water system has been checked.
Use a pressure washer to clean the external area around the house, including driveways, walls and patios. Though remember that this causes a lot of splashing, so you must wear protective clothing to prevent coming into contact with any flood waste.
If you come across any damaged photos or documents during the clean-up process, don’t try to dry them straight away. Place the documents in a plastic bag and store them in a fridge/freezer until you can get them to a specialist.
Drying out your home following a flood
Establishing a flow of air around your home is important following a flood, to aid the drying out process. As discussed earlier, you should open doors and windows at every available opportunity.
Use a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air as it flows around the home. Air movement pulls water from damp surfaces such as walls, floors and dehumidifiers draw the moisture out from the air and deposit it into a water collection tank, or they can pump it away from the area. You can also use heaters and floor dryers to speed up the drying process.
If your central heating has been checked and approved as safe to use by an engineer, you can set a temperature between 20°C to 22°C to aid the drying process.
Before moving back in
Completely drying out a home following a major flood can take a long time. You must not move back into your house until your local authority has deemed it safe to do so and once the water supply has been inspected and declared safe. Every flood-contaminated room must have been thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and surface-dried. All contaminated dishes and utensils must have been thoroughly washed and disinfected. Adequate toilet facilities must of course also be available.
Remember that the most important thing is to stay safe. Take appropriate precautions and follow the advice of the emergency services, your insurance company and local authorities.
If you are affected by flooding and need any of the pumping, cleaning or dying equipment mentioned in this blog, we have stores all around the country and we can deliver to your door. Speak to our Hire Team over the phone for any advice or enquiries.