their belongings behind and evacuate their homes.
It is important for homeowners to know the necessary precautions when first re-entering a
flooded after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, tornado or flood.
Homeowners should be aware that their house may be contaminated with sewage or mold,
which can potentially cause health problems.In this article, we will explore steps you should
consider when re-entering a home after a natural disaster.
Here’s What You Should Know Before Re-entering Your Home
If there is standing water in your home, turn off the main power from a dry location, then go
ahead and turn off the power. However, if there is standing water to access the main power
switch, then call an electrician to turn it off instead.
Never turn the power on or off yourself, or use an electric tool or appliance while
standing in water:
Other Important Safety Tips:
- Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
- If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open the doors and
windows to let the house air out for a while ( at least 30 minutes) before you remain
for any length of time.
- If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, assume that
your home has been contaminated with mold.
- If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage.
Next Step, Drying Out Your House
If your home has been affected by flood or storm water, you will need to dry it out as
soon as possible. Here are a few tips that you should consider for drying out your house.
- If you have power and an electrician has determined that it’s safe to turn it on, use a
wet-dry shop vacuum ( or the vacuum function of a carpet steam cleaner), an
electric-powered water-transfer pump, or a sump pump to remove the standing water.
- When operating the equipment in wet areas, be sure to wear rubber boots.
- If it is not safe to turn on electricity or if you do not have any at all, use a portable
generator to power the equipment to remove standing water.
- If weather permits, open the doors and windows to aid in the drying out process.
- *Note: If you must use a gasoline-powered pump, generator pressure washer, or
any other gasoline powered tools to clean your home, never operate the gasoline
engine inside the home, basement, garage, carport, porch or other enclosed or
partially enclosed structure, even if the windows and doors are open.
This is important, due to the fact that improper use can create dangerously
high levels of carbon monoxide and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Additional Tips For Drying Out Your House:
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Fans should be placed by a
window or door to blow the air outward rather than inward so as not to spread mold spores.
- Have your home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning ( HVAC) system checked and cleaned by a maintenance or service professional who is experienced in mold cleanup before you turn it on.
If the HVAC system was flooded with water, turning on the mold contaminated HVAC will spread mold spores throughout the house. Professional cleaning will kill the mold and prevent mold growth later. When the service professional determines that your system is clean, and if it is safe to do so, you can turn it on and use it to help remove excess moisture from your home.
- Prevent water outdoors from re-entering your home. For example, rainwater from
gutters or the roof should drain away from the house; the ground around the house
should slope away from the house to keep the basement and crawlspace dry.
- Ensure that the crawlspace has proper drainage to limit water seepage. Ventilate it to allow
the area to dry out.
Natural disasters are unavoidable as well as unpredictable. It’s important to prep your home prior
to a natural disaster, if at all possible. However, re-entering your home and drying it out can be
just as dangerous. It’s important to be aware the potential threats and safety best practices for
drying out and re-entering your flooded home.
Be sure to have your InterNACHI Certified Professional Home Inspector inspect your home
after a major storm or flood to assess the damage and make appropriate recommendations.
Contact Tim Rupon from S&J Home Inspections for all your home inspection needs.