Cleaning Up Your Home after a Flood

Cleaning Up Your Home after a Flood

Home Flood DamageFlooding can be devastating and can cause a lot of damage to a home. Whether flooding is caused by storms, ground water problems, or a broken pipe, it is important to clean and restore the home as quickly as possible after the flood in order to minimize mold damage and make the home safe for inhabitants. If your home has been flooded, take the following actions.

Turn Off Electricity and Water

Turning off the home’s main power supply can protect you and anyone else that will be entering the home. Turning off the water may prevent any further water damage from occurring, especially if the issue began with the home’s plumbing. If it is suspected that there may have been damage to the electrical lines, water lines, or any other utilities, contact the utility companies before entering the home to prevent injury.

Remove Items and Appliances

After the home is safe to enter, removing items and appliances that have not been touched by flood waters can help to minimize the amount of cleaning and restoration needed. Preventing items from getting wet or damaged will mitigate the costs associated with repairs and replacements. These items should be stored in a safe, dry place until the home has been completely cleaned.

Take the Water Out

As long as water is standing in a home, it is increasing the risks for mold and structural damage. Using a wet vacuum, buckets, mops, and towels to remove the water may take time, but must be done to begin restoring the home. If flooding is severe, renting a sump pump may help you to get the water out.

Dry the Area

After water has been removed, the area that was flooded still needs to be dried completely. Fans and a dehumidifier can help to dry the floors. Carpet and other types of flooring may need to be replaced if they have been saturated or damaged, as there may still be a mold risk. If drywall has been saturated by water, it may need to be cut away and replaced, as the integrity of the structure will be compromised and the paper backing will likely grow mold.

Disinfect the Flooded Area

Disinfecting the area is necessary to ensure the safety of home inhabitants. Cleaning with bleach will help to kill bacteria that may have spread from sewers or flood waters. Walls, floors, furnishings, and anything else that may have been touched by flood waters should all be disinfected.

Call a Restoration Service

A restoration service can help with salvaging items that you may have thought were damaged beyond repair which can save money and heartache. A restoration service can also help with removing and replacing damaged drywall and other structures. A restoration service can help you to ensure that your home is safe and free from mold and water damage after a flood.

If your home has been flooded, call Florida Catastrophe Corp. today to minimize damage and get your home back in order quickly.

Hurricane Restoration Tips

Hurricane Restoration TipsIn the aftermath of a hurricane, expediting recovery can help to get you and your family back in your home faster and reduce the amount of damage. It is important to follow certain steps, however. If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, the following tips may be helpful.

Make a List of Damages

It can be tempting to just dive in and start throwing things away and cleaning up when returning home or venturing into your yard after a hurricane, but this can hurt your chances of receiving adequate benefits from your homeowners insurance. Make a list of everything that was damaged, being as thorough as possible with descriptions and valuations. Take pictures and provide serial numbers and receipts if you can. Smartphone apps may help with inventorying.

Wait Until an Adjuster Visits to Make Changes

Even after you have finished making a list of all damaged belongings, structures, and landscaping, try to refrain from cleaning up unless the law dictates that you must. Allowing an insurance adjuster to see exactly what damages look like can help to ensure that any claims that you make go through. If you must discard belongings or if conditions are dangerous, take pictures of damages to show the insurance company and keep receipts from any materials purchased for the recovery efforts.

Call Restoration Specialists

Restoration specialists will be able to help you assess the damage and get your home back in order faster. Restorations specialists can help clean up debris from the hurricane so that you can safely enter the home and walk around the property. If demolition needs to be done, restoration specialists can help to with safe and careful demolition. They can also assist with all aspects of restoration.

Prevent Further Damage

Boarding up windows until they can be replaced, covering holes in the ceiling, and sealing leaks can help to prevent damage from worsening as you work to recover from the hurricane. Removing downed limbs and trees can also help to keep this loose debris from flying into the home and causing damage if winds pick up again. Cleaning up water as soon as possible can help to mitigate the damage to the home.

Dry and Disinfect the Home

After water has been removed from the home, there is still a potential for mold to form. Mold restoration specialists may be very helpful in assessing the potential for mold growth after a hurricane, removing items and structures that have been contaminated, and cleaning and disinfecting the home. This is important to ensure that the home will be safe over the long term and to salvage as many belongings as possible.

If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, call 855-352-2281to find out how we can help with restoration and recovery.

Hurricane Matthew Approaching Florida

Hurricane FactsA hurricane watch was issued Tuesday afternoon for parts of Florida on the Atlantic coast. As of that time, Hurricane Matthew was a category 4 hurricane with winds up to 145 miles per hour. The dangerous hurricane had already been inflicting damage across the Caribbean, with at least seven fatalities and untold damage to homes and landscapes.

The hurricane is not expected to hit Florida for at least 48 hours, so officials are urging Floridians to prepare now while there is still time.

Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard on Tuesday morning, damaging many homes and uprooting trees in the area. One fisherman was killed and many of the shacks that serve as homes in the impoverished area were destroyed. The total damage has not been assessed yet, but many streets were flooded and residents were left seeking shelter as of Tuesday afternoon.

Storm Trajectory

The storm was moving north at about 10 miles per hour as of 11am on Tuesday morning. The storm was moving through Haiti and was expected to move through Cuba late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Computer models predict that the center of the storm will stay off the coast of Florida, but if the storm veers inland it could hit hard.

Florida is expected to experience the effects of the storm throughout the day on Thursday and into Friday. Hurricane Matthew could continue its path up the coast after that. As of Tuesday afternoon, there was a Hurricane watch in effect for the coastal area running from Deerfield Beach to the Volusia County line in central Florida. There was also a Tropical Storm watch in effect for the Florida Keys.

Government Addresses the Storm

Governor Rick Scott visited the city of Marathon to talk about the storm preparations on Tuesday morning. The governor said that there are 200 National Guard members standing by to help and another 6,600 guardsmen that can be deployed if necessary. Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Governor, declared a state of emergency for certain parts of the state that fall within the storms possible trajectory.

Additionally, President Obama has cancelled plans to visit South Florida on behalf of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. A presidential visit would tie up law enforcement and lead to road closings that could affect the storm preparations. Non-essential personnel have already been evacuated from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in response to the storm.

Preparing for the Storm

Governor Rick Scott urged residents to evacuate the area early, before the highways become too congested. With the storm being listed as a category 4, with winds about 145 miles per hour and flooding potential, the storm could cause major damage even if it does not make landfall.

Some actions that you can take to prepare for the storm include:

  • Gathering emergency supplies such as water and non-perishable foods
  • Boarding windows to protect the home
  • Staying tuned to emergency alerts in the area
  • Preparing a bag with necessities to take if evacuation is necessary

While it can be tempting to stick around to protect your home, remember that restoration is always possible later. The most important thing is to stay safe.

4 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe from Water Damage

Home Water Damage PreventionNo matter where you live or what kind of home you own, keeping the home moisture free and safe from water damage is very important. Moisture and the resulting mold can damage a home and threaten the health of inhabitants. Cleaning up after water damage and mold can be very costly; water damage prevention can save a lot of money and trouble. The following are a few tips for keeping your home safe from water damage.

1. Clean the Gutters

Gutters collect rainwater and other types of precipitation and deposit the water in a place where it can drain away from the home without causing damage. When gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, the water is not allowed to flow freely through the gutters. This may cause the water – and debris – to spill down the side of the house and cause damage to siding or other structures. Rainwater may also collect on window sills or around the home’s foundation. Over time, this can deteriorate structures and cause mold to form.

2. Fix Leaks throughout the Home

Even small leaks in the basement, attic, around windows, and around doors can allow moisture to get into the home. Depending on where the leak is, water may seep into the walls, floors, or ceilings and cause mold to form inside where it is difficult to reach or repair. Fixing leaks before they become a problem may prevent you from requiring full restoration and can protect your family from mold related health conditions.

3. Control Moisture Levels within the Home

Differences in temperature and humidity levels between the inside and outside of the home can cause condensation to form on windows and other surfaces. This condensation can cause mold to form just as quickly as moisture from other sources. Using ventilation systems, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers when necessary can help to control the moisture levels in the home and prevent condensation from forming.

4. Check the Sump Pump and Plumbing

A sump pump can help to keep moisture away from the home when heavy rains or other inclement weather causes water levels to rise by draining the excess water away from the home’s sump basin. Making sure that the sump pump is working and keeping other home plumbing in good working order can help to prevent moisture issues that may cause water damage. Since blown washing machine hoses often cause water damage, it is particularly important to check the washing machine hose for signs of wear frequently.

Taking simple precautions may help you to keep you family safe and your home free from mold and water damage.

What You Should Know about Flooding

Flooding FactsFlooding can be caused by a variety of different things, including burst pipes, hurricanes, dam failures, and high tides in coastal areas. It is important to understand that flooding can happen basically anywhere, no home is completely immune to flooding, even if it is uncommon for the area. If the area is prone to flooding, it is even more important to understand a few facts about the phenomenon so that you are better prepared.

Flooding Is Not Always Covered by Insurance

Flood insurance is not always included in homeowners’ insurance policies, particularly in areas where flood risks are highest. If your home is damaged by flooding, this oversight can be costly. Short circuiting by damaged wires and structural damage can put the integrity of the building at risk and make the home unsafe for inhabitants.

Water Damage Should Be Immediately Repaired

Without immediate repair, water damage can lead to serious structural damage and can cause health problems for inhabitants. The longer wood or drywall is allowed to sit with water damage, the more warp and rot is likely to occur. Mold may also form in the moist environment and cause mild to severe health issues. Contacting restoration services immediately after flooding occurs may save the building, mitigate the costs of repairs, and help to avoid these issues.

Flood Proofing Techniques May Protect the Home

In areas that are prone to flooding, it may be wise to take precautions to flood proof the home. Installing plastic sheeting over the foundation can help to keep water out. Sloping the land around the home can help to drain water away, as well. In some cases, it may also be helpful to devise a system to allow some water into the home in such a way that it is dispersed without causing damage. The roof, windows, doors, and other seals should be checked for security.

Restoration Services Can Help Salvage Furnishings

After a flood, it may seem that all furnishings are ruined, which can be overwhelming. Instead of throwing precious heirlooms and favorite furniture away, contact restoration services to find out if items can be salvaged. In some cases, restoration companies may be able to use special techniques to dry items. This can save money on recovery and help you to salvage pieces that had emotional value to the family.

To find out more about how to prepare for a flood or for help with restoration after a flood, contact Florida Catastrophe Corp. today.

4 Signs That You May Have Mold Growth

Mold PreventionMold can turn into a major problem that makes it difficult for you to sell your home and puts your health at risk. Unfortunately, many people live with mold in their homes for a long time, dismissing signs as being caused by other factors. Spotting mold early and taking a proactive approach to treatment and prevention can help to protect you, your loved ones, and your assets. If you notice any of the following signs, contact a professional to inspect your home for mold.

Strange Odors in the Home

Mold does not always smell exactly the same, so don’t discount an odd smell as something else just because you don’t immediately recognize it as mold. If mold is in the walls or vents, it may take on a different odor depending on the surrounding materials. Mold may also be hidden, so don’t make the mistake of assuming that it isn’t mold because you can’t see it.

Respiratory Problems

Sneezing and congestion are common reactions to mold. If you or your family members experience these symptoms while in the home, but the symptoms subside when you go out, it may be a sign that there is mold in the home. In some cases, symptoms may only present when you are in a certain room, if mold is only growing in one place in the home.

Visible Mold Growth

Sometimes mold is visible and is still missed by homeowners because they do not recognize the appearance of the mold. Mold can be brown, black, white, green, grey, orange, pink, or purple depending on the material that it is growing on and the type of mold. Mold may also hide in grout and other places where it is disguised.

Water Damage

Mold growth occurs in nearly any environment, as long as there is water present. If water damage has occurred, the conditions are most likely right for mold growth. Water damage may cause stains or discolorations on the walls, cause flooring materials or wallpaper to bubble, or may even cause the walls or ceilings to bulge and warp if it continues long enough. If any of these signs are present, mold may be growing already or may begin at any time.

If you notice any of the signs of mold growth, it is important to have professionals come in to inspect and treat the home right away. With the right treatment and mold restoration, you may be able to prevent costly damage while ensuring the safety of your loved ones.

Water Damage Restoration Tips for Homeowners

Water Damage Restoration TipsDid you know that about 40 percent of home insurance claims are due to water damage? This unfortunate event can result from plumbing leaks, natural disasters, and old appliances. Water damage is costly and inconvenient. Preventing it is much cheaper than paying for repairs.

Simple things, such as cleaning your gutters, repairing leaking pipes, and checking the roof, could save you a fortune. Water damage restoration costs thousands of dollars, so it’s better to prevent these problems in the first place. It’s your responsibility as a homeowner to protect your assets.

How Does Water Damage Occur?

Water damage is often caused by old or poorly maintained appliances, leaking pipes, and sewer backup. Most times, it occurs because homeowners fail to check the connection between their washing machine and the water line. Snow on the roof, flooding, and rain can cause water damage too. Fortunately, this problem is completely preventable.

The best way to avoid water damage is to check any sources of leaks in your home regularly. These include hot water tanks, washing machine hoses, dishwasher hoses, frozen pipes, broken or burst pipes, and home appliances. Sewer and sump backups, water escape, and water seepage are common causes of flooding. Even a small leak can cause major problems.

If you believe your home is at risk for water damage, check the plumbing system yourself or call an expert. The detection of water into structural cavities can only be discovered with special equipment. A professional water damage restoration firm can assess the situation, clean up the mess, and fix burst pipes. Some companies provide emergency building services to prevent additional damage. They can fix your roof, repair the floor, and rebuild the affected areas.

What to Do after Water Damage

When your house is flooded, the water can ruin its structure and your personal assets. It’s essential that you clean up the area immediately in order to prevent mold and minimize losses. The danger is not over when the water goes down. Your electrical system could be severely affected, and the home’s foundation may have been damaged. Furniture, carpets, wallpaper and other items in your home will hold mud and contaminants forever, so it’s better to replace them.

As soon as you enter the house, unplug any electronics and remove furnishings. Turn off the gas and check the foundation for cracks. Do not use candles before or after a flood. Report any gas leaks or downed power lines. Look carefully at the ceiling before going inside the building. Look for signs of sagging.

Use buckets, mops, and towels to get rid of the water. Pour it down the drain if the sewers in the area are not backed up. Consider using a wet/dry vacuum. Clean and disinfect every surface, remove the mud, and dry out the affected areas. Throw away tree limbs and other trash. Call a water damage restoration expert if needed.

Once these steps are complete, contact your insurance agent to tell him about the damage. Check your insurance policy so that you will know what’s covered. Take photos of the building as you clean up. Get organized and create a recovery plan. Do not move back into the house until restoration is complete.


4 Tips for Protecting your Building from Flooding

Protect FloodOf all of the types of natural disasters, floods can be the most potentially devastating to a home or business. The most optimal solution to avoiding flood damage is to ensure that the house is built in such a way that water flows down from it rather than pooling up around it. However, for most people, simply moving their house to a more elevated area is not an option. There are several other steps that may be taken to reduce the risk of flooding and water damage to your home. While some of these tips may require a lot of effort, money, or time, many of these tips are simple solutions that anyone can do to reduce the risk of flood damage to their building.

1. Measure Flood Levels Around Your Home

By analyzing the levels of water around your home during an average rain storm, it is easy to determine whether or not your building is at risk for flood damage. You can also determine the way in which water flows around the building to see if water is likely reach places where it will cause damage.

Possible warning signs that a building is at risk of flood damage may include:

  • Pools of standing water that remain after a storm has stopped
  • Backed up sewers during storms
  • Water marks or swells on the walls or baseboards of the building
  • Mold
  • Low elevation in relation to surrounding areas

2. Install Special Valves to Regulate Water Flow

Services like FEMA and FLASH recommend specialized valves to redirect water in the event of a flood. By installing a backflow valve, you can avoid filling your home with water and sewage in the event that the sewer system becomes backed up.

3. Add Modifications to your Home

This option can be expensive depending upon the types of modifications you choose to make. A common way of preventing flood damage in high-risk areas is raising the house on stilts so that water can pass under it. Certain drains can be installed to redirect the flow of water through the house so that the water levels do not rise up to the house. Finally, as a cheaper option, many people opt to apply a dry coating to certain high-risk walls or areas of the home. This will minimize damage to these areas in the event of a flood.

4. Protect Sensitive Equipment

Certain electrical and heating equipment are typically situated in locations that would be prone to water exposure in the event of a flood. By raising equipment like circuit breakers and furnaces out of a potential flooding zone, you can save thousands of dollars in damages in the event that the home is flooded. The same actions should be taken to protect gas lines, fuel tanks, and generators.

If you have concerns about floods in your area and are looking to safeguard your home, call or stop by Florida Catastrophe. The experts at FLA-CAT have been handling emergencies repairs from incidents such as floods for years. They will help you assess the risks that flooding poses to your building and help you find the appropriate measures to take to ensure that your property is protected.

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