Since mold grows fast, and water spreads faster, when it comes to leaks and foods you need to be quick on your feet. Luckily, there are several things you can do to stay ahead of the game and get your leak or flood cleaned up and taken care of before mold spores even begin to spread. To help our readers prevent mold from taking over their home in the even of a flood, we have compiled the following list of tips for water removal and extraction,
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1. Turn Off Power
Even if the water does not appear to be near any outlets or electrical devices, you should always turn off the power when removing water from a flooded area as a safety precaution. Before doing so, do not go near or let any one else go near the water, as it could be a generator for electricity and could be lethally dangerous. Before doing anything else, put on gloves, goggles, boots, and a mask to protect you from hazardous debris before entering the flooded area.
2. Analyze the Situation
Depending on the amount of water flooded in to the area you are taking care of, you may or may not need professional help. If the water is in a non-carpeted area, like a cement basement, it should but you some time. You should be able to bail out the water with a shop vac, buckets, or plenty of helpers and some mops. However, if the water has taken hold of another area of the house that is carpeted, you will need to act fast.
3. Remove Bulk of Water
The longer the water sits, the more likely it is to seep through your walls and harm the structure of the building. You do not want this to happen, because it will be both costly and time consuming to fix. If you feel you cannot handle the extraction process quickly enough on your own, calling professional help will be both more efficient and cheaper in the long run. If you can handle the situation, be sure to enlist as many hands as possible to take care of the job quickly. Use anything you have to get the bulk of the water out of the area.
4. Remove Unsalvageable Items
Before you can finish cleaning and drying the area, you will need to do some clearing. Any items that are already growing mold, or cannot be salvaged once wet should be thrown away first.
5. Air Dry Salvageable Items
If there was clothing or launder-able items that got wet, you can wring them out and throw them in the dryer now to try and salvage them. Any wooden furniture should be moved out of the area as soon as possible as well, before it begins to absorb any water. Once the bulk of water is extracted, continue sorting through items, making “safe areas” elsewhere to put items you want to save, and a trash pile outside. Lay the salvageable items in the sun (if possible) on a flat, dry surface to dry. Any cloth items should be laundered first before drying.
While the cleaning process continues, you will need to open all widows and doors, and place any fans you can get around the affected area. Having a constant airflow through the area will largely decrease your chance of mold growing, and make the whole process faster and easier. Removing all wet items from the area also helps quicken this process drastically, as they add a lot of moisture to the air.
7. Freeze Drying
If you have some items that are very wet, but very dear to you, you can try freeze drying them to salvage them. While professionals have special freezers they use to do this, if you have a freezer with anti-frosting ability, you can do it at home. The freezer must be kept at below -10 degrees, and them items will have to stay in the freezer for several weeks before dry.
8. Clean-up & Follow-up
After you have sorted items, removed the water, dried items, and ventilated properly, you will still need to clean the area. Since flood and leak waters often carry unclean debris, you will need to gear up for this process as well. Use a bleach mix to properly disinfect the area. After all is said, dried, and done, you may consider having an expert check the area for mold later on. The affects of mold are often not seen for several months, so having a mold and water damage expert come out to look at the area early on is a good idea.