Your House Is Flooded, What Now?
For Americans living in and around the Gulf of Mexico, the experience is mostly a pleasant one. The weather is warm, the vegetation is lush and green, and the people are some of the friendliest you can find. Unfortunately, there is a downside; the threat of flooding from weather patterns is an unwelcome reminder that living on the Gulf comes with a catch. Yes, it is true that in the past 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods and that everyone technically lives in a flood zone, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. However, some areas are defined as Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), where the likelihood of a flood that will cause damage is significantly higher. So high in fact, that in high-risk areas, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during the typical 30-year mortgage. For these areas, it is good to keep in mind that:
- It only takes a few inches of floodwater in your house to cause tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
- In just two feet of rushing water, a car can be carried away.
- Flooding is not just associated with hurricanes and rain; winter storms and snowmelt are two overlooked sources of damaging flooding.
- Flash floods can be extremely destructive, bringing walls of water 10 to 15 feet high.
- As part of this process keep in mind to remove from the home any wet materials. Items like couches and beds should be placed outside to dry. Improving ventilation inside can help dry carpeting, insulation, and walls. As a general rule, if the items cannot be dried and clean within 24-48 hours, they should be discarded.
- Cleanup of the home means that a thorough washing and disinfecting takes place all over. The floors, shelving, closets, and walls need to be cleaned. For most cases, household cleaning products can be used. Remember to always ventilate, read the labels, and pay close attention to any health effect you experience.
- Unfortunately, it is not always possible to return an area covered with mold to its original appearance. Simply painting over mold is not advisable, since it can cause the paint to peel. Thoroughly clean, disinfect, and dry any area before painting.