House Flooded: What to Do?

Aerial view of a flooded residential area with houses partially submerged in water.

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Experiencing a house flood can be overwhelming and stressful. Whether caused by a natural disaster, burst pipes, or other issues, knowing what to do immediately after your house floods can help minimize damage and ensure your safety.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with essential steps, safety precautions, and helpful tips to navigate the recovery process effectively.

Immediate Steps to Take

Ensure Safety First

When your house floods, your immediate priority should be safety. Follow these steps to protect yourself and your family:

  • Avoid Contact with Flood Waters: Flood water can contain hazardous materials, including sewage, chemicals, and debris. To prevent health risks, avoid direct contact with flood waters.
  • Turn Off Electrical Systems: If it is safe to do so, turn off all electrical systems at the main fuse box to prevent electrical hazards. If you must walk through water to reach the fuse box, do not attempt to turn off the power; instead, call a professional electrician.
  • Turn Off the Gas: Turn off the natural gas supply to prevent leaks and potential explosions.
  • Wear Appropriate Protective Gear: To protect against contaminants and mold spores, wear waterproof boots, gloves, and a face mask.
  • Follow Directions from Local Authorities: During a flood, always follow the directions of local authorities. Evacuate when instructed and seek temporary shelter through local information sources.

Contact Your Flood Insurance Company

  • Call Your Insurer: Immediately report the flood damage to your insurance company. Provide them with all necessary details about the extent of the damage. Note that standard homeowners’ policies do not cover flood damage, so you will need a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Document All the Damage: Take photographs and videos of the flooded areas and any damaged personal items. This documentation will be essential for the insurance claims process.
  • Review Your Flood Insurance Policy: Check your flood insurance policy to understand what is covered. Some private insurance companies and private flood insurance policies may offer more extensive coverage than federal flood insurance programs.

Call the Professionals

Once you’ve ensured immediate safety and contacted your insurance company, the next crucial step is to call a professional water damage restoration specialist. These experts are trained to handle extensive water damage and will guide you through the cleanup and recovery process.

The cleanup process is essential to avoid costly damages, and it involves detailed steps and precautions to ensure thorough restoration. Here’s what you can expect from a professional water damage restoration team:

What the Restoration Specialists Will Do?

Thorough Assessment

  • Initial Inspection: The restoration specialist will conduct a thorough assessment of the damage to create a comprehensive restoration plan. They will check for structural damage, potential hazards, and areas with excess moisture.
  • Moisture Detection: Using advanced tools like moisture meters and infrared cameras, they will identify areas where water has seeped into walls, floors, and ceilings.

Water Removal

  • Professional Equipment: Restoration specialists use industrial-grade equipment, such as high-capacity pumps and wet-dry vacuums, to remove standing water quickly and efficiently. Additionally, using a sump pump is an effective way to remove excess water from basements.
  • Dehumidifiers and Air Movers: They will place commercial dehumidifiers and air movers throughout the affected areas to remove moisture from the air and speed up the drying process.

Drying and Dehumidification

  • Complete Drying: The team will ensure that all areas are completely dry, including hard-to-reach places like crawl spaces and behind walls. This is crucial to prevent mold growth and further damage.
  • Continuous Monitoring: They will monitor moisture levels continuously to ensure that drying is progressing effectively and adjust equipment as needed.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Disinfection: The specialists will clean and disinfect all affected surfaces with professional-grade cleaning solutions to remove bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. This step is vital for health and safety.
  • Odor Removal: They will use air scrubbers and deodorization equipment to remove any lingering odors caused by the floodwater.

Repairs and Restoration

  • Structural Repairs: The restoration team will repair structural damage to walls, floors, and ceilings. This may include replacing drywall, insulation, and flooring materials.
  • Restoring Contents: They will clean, repair, and restore personal belongings, such as furniture, electronics, and important documents. Some items may be taken off-site for specialized cleaning and restoration.
  • Final Inspection: Before completing the job, the team will conduct a final inspection to ensure that all repairs are done properly and that the property is safe and habitable again.

Benefits of Hiring Restoration Specialists

Trained Professionals: Restoration specialists possess extensive training and experience in handling all aspects of water damage restoration. From conducting the initial assessment to completing final repairs, their expertise ensures that each process step is carried out effectively and safely.

Their knowledge includes understanding the types of water damage (clean, gray, and black water), the specific health risks associated with each type, and the appropriate measures to mitigate these risks.

Restoration specialists undergo rigorous training and certification programs. Certifications from organizations like the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) ensure that these professionals are equipped with the latest knowledge and best practices in water damage restoration.

Advanced Techniques: These professionals use state-of-the-art techniques and equipment to achieve thorough and efficient restoration. This includes industrial-grade dehumidifiers, high-powered air movers, moisture meters, and infrared cameras.

Such equipment allows them to detect hidden moisture, dry affected areas completely, and prevent issues like mold growth that can result from residual moisture.

Advanced techniques also involve using eco-friendly and effective cleaning agents to sanitize and deodorize your home, ensuring a safe environment for your family.

Health and Safety

Mitigating Health Risks: Floodwater often contains hazardous contaminants, such as sewage, chemicals, and bacteria, which pose significant health risks. Restoration specialists are trained to handle these contaminants safely.

They use protective gear and follow strict protocols to clean and disinfect affected areas, significantly reducing the risk of illness and infection. Their expertise in mold remediation is particularly crucial, as mold can cause severe respiratory issues and other health problems if not properly addressed.

Safe Restoration: Safety is a top priority during the restoration process. Specialists ensure that all procedures are performed safely, minimizing the risk of accidents. This includes handling electrical hazards, stabilizing structures, and using proper lifting techniques to avoid injury.

They also create a safe work environment by setting up barriers and using air scrubbers to remove airborne contaminants, ensuring that both the restoration team and the property’s occupants are protected.

Proper Disposal of Hazardous Materials

Proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials are essential to avoid further contamination. Restoration specialists know how to dispose of these materials according to local regulations and environmental guidelines, ensuring that harmful substances are not released back into the environment.

Preventing Further Damage

Quick Response: When dealing with water damage, time is of the essence. Restoration specialists understand the urgency and provide a rapid response to mitigate further damage. Their quick action helps prevent issues such as structural weakening, wood rot, and electrical hazards. Extracting water and drying the area promptly minimizes the extent of the damage and reduces the risk of long-term problems.

Comprehensive Restoration: Beyond immediate mitigation, specialists provide a comprehensive restoration service that addresses all aspects of the damage. This includes structural repairs, mold remediation, and the restoration of personal belongings.

They aim to restore your home to its pre-damage condition, ensuring it is safe, habitable, and free from contaminants. They also offer advice on how to prevent future water damage, such as improving drainage systems and installing sump pumps.

Preventing Secondary Damage: Secondary damage, such as mold growth and structural instability, can occur if water damage is not properly addressed.

Restoration specialists focus on preventing these issues by thoroughly removing all moisture and properly cleaning and sanitizing affected areas. They also repair any structural damage, reinforcing weakened areas to prevent future problems.

Additional Benefits

Insurance Assistance: Dealing with insurance claims can be daunting during the stressful aftermath of a flood. Restoration specialists often assist with the documentation and reporting required for insurance claims. They provide detailed reports of the damage and the restoration work needed, helping you navigate the claims process more smoothly and ensuring you receive the compensation you are entitled to.

Cost-Effective Solutions: While hiring professionals involves an upfront cost, it is often more cost-effective in the long run. Their expertise helps prevent further damage, reducing the overall repair costs. Additionally, they work efficiently, minimizing the time your home is out of commission and allowing you to return to normalcy faster.

Peace of Mind: Knowing that your home is being restored by trained professionals provides peace of mind. You can trust that they will handle the job thoroughly and correctly, reducing the stress and anxiety associated with home flooding. Their professional approach ensures that all aspects of the restoration are covered, leaving no room for oversight.

Restoring Personal Belongings: Beyond structural repairs, restoration specialists focus on salvaging and restoring personal belongings. They use specialized cleaning and restoration techniques to save items like photographs, documents, electronics, and furniture that might otherwise be considered a total loss. This personalized attention helps preserve valuable and sentimental items.

By hiring a professional restoration specialist, you ensure that the immediate damage is addressed and safeguard your home against future issues, protect your health, and restore your peace of mind.

Long-Term Recovery Process

Plan for Extensive Repairs

  • Hire Reputable Contractors: Engage reputable contractors for any extensive repairs and reconstruction needed. Ensure they are licensed and experienced in flood damage restoration.
  • Focus on Structural Integrity: Prioritize structural repairs, including walls, floors, and foundations, to ensure the safety and stability of your home. Do not connect a generator or anything else to the home’s electrical system unless it has been deemed safe by a licensed electrician.

Preventive Measures for Future Floods

Implement Flood Prevention Strategies

While it is impossible to stop natural disasters, preventive measures can reduce their impact.

Install Sump Pumps: Ensure your home has functional sump pumps to manage water flow during heavy rains.

Elevate Utilities: Elevate utilities like water heaters, HVAC systems, and electrical panels above potential flood levels.

Improve Drainage Systems: To prevent water damage, regularly inspect and maintain your home’s drainage systems, roof, and gutters.

Emotional and Community Support

Seek Support

  • Emotional Support: Flooding can be a traumatic experience. Seek support from family, friends, or professional counselors to cope with the emotional impact.
  • Community Resources: Utilize community resources and support groups for additional assistance during the recovery process.


Dealing with a flooded house can be overwhelming, but following these steps can help you navigate the recovery process effectively.

From ensuring safety and contacting your insurance company to calling professional restoration specialists and planning for extensive repairs, each step is crucial for minimizing damage and restoring your home.

Remember to take preventive measures to protect your home from future floods and seek support from your community and professionals to aid in your recovery.

By understanding the necessary actions and precautions, you can confidently handle a house flood and ensure your family’s safety and well-being.

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Water damage in your home? Don’t wait! Act now to protect your biggest investment. Contact us today for a swift solution!

The owner of South Sound Water Recovery after successful emergency restoration project
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