When there's a water leak in your home, it's a big headache. However, there's a difference in water damage from a clean water line and damage caused by an outdoor flood. Flood damage restoration is more complex, so the job is usually best left to professionals. It's likely you'll need to trash a lot of the material inside your home rather than attempt to dry it out and save it. Here are some problems associated with flood damage that make cleanup so difficult.
Water May Take Days to Recede
As long as you're not away on vacation, you'll usually catch a plumbing leak right away so you can dry out your home while things can still be saved. However, when your home is flooded after a storm, it could take days for the water to drain out of your house. The longer water is in your house, the more damage it does.
The big problem is mold. Mold starts to grow in just a couple of days. If your house is closed up and the weather is warm, the walls and ceiling may be covered in mold by the time the waters recede. This level of mold is dangerous to work with and should be left in the hands of an expert contractor.
The Floodwater Leaves Behind Contaminants
Whether the water came from the surrounding land or from a nearby river, when it comes from the outdoors, it is contaminated. Since you don't know what kind of microbes and chemical pollution it contains, the water and everything it touched has to be treated as if it is contaminated. This requires special equipment and protective clothing to work around. Anything left in the home has to be decontaminated if it isn't thrown out.
In addition, the floodwater may leave a muddy mess behind that is difficult to remove. Not only that, creatures like fire ants and snakes might have washed in your house. There could also be aggressive and scared animals like raccoons inside seeking dry shelter.
There May Be Electrical or Structural Damage
You don't want to be the first one to enter your home if it's been sitting in water for several days. Besides the danger of creatures and contamination, there are other safety concerns. If there is still a small amount of water on the floor or if it is covered in mud, you may not see dangers before you step on them. The floor could be weak and rotted from being wet for so long.
Electrical shock is another big danger. If the water level was very high, your outlets were probably submerged. In that case, there could be electrical damage. You don't want to touch anything until a contractor has inspected your home and deemed it safe for you to enter. It isn't even worth the risk to go in quickly to retrieve some possessions since you don't know if your things are contaminated or if it is safe for you to be inside the home.
Cleaning up your home after a flood is a big undertaking that could take you weeks or months to complete if you try to do it yourself. A damage restoration company can bring in a crew and commercial equipment to do the job in a fraction of the time. Plus, you may not have the skills needed to safely deal with mold and rip out drywall. More importantly, you want to make sure the cleanup is done right so no mold lurks in hidden places to cause you trouble later on.
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