2017 has been a record year for hurricanes, and for the flooding they leave in their wake. The United States and Puerto Rico are still reeling from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. Once the storm is gone, it becomes essential to keep an eye out for flood damages, especially those types of damage that might be more difficult to detect. Here we’ve reviewed the most common kinds of flood damage and the things that you should be on the lookout for if your property has experiences any kind of flooding.
Foundation damage is a common type of damage that occurs after a flood. It can manifest in a variety of ways. [Tweet This]
Foundation damage is a common type of damage that occurs after a flood. It can manifest in a variety of ways. Starting from the top and working our way down, you might see:
- Your chimney leaning
- Cracks appearing in walls, or at stress points such as doorways and window frames
- Windows that stick, or won’t open/close completely
- Doors that jam or won’t latch properly
- Cracks in tile or vinyl that is placed over concrete
- Sagging floors in crawl spaces under the house
- Sinking porches or steps right next to the house
- Bowing or collapsing basement walls.
These signs might show soon after the water recedes but in general, these problems will start to appear slowly over time.
What Can You Do to Prevent Foundation Damage from Flooding?
- When you build your home, make sure that tat it is graded at least 6 inches in 10 feet. Soil should slope away from your home, not toward it.
- Keep the water from your downspouts as far away from the foundation as possible. A recommended minimum distance is 5 feet.
- Don’t let the soil around your home dry out during drought conditions. Dry soil shrinks and makes it easier for water to damage your foundation during flood conditions. Soak the soil 3 inches deep 6 inches around the perimeter of your house.
- Plant trees and other deep-rooted plants further away from your house. They can add shade, but roots can cause the foundation to sink and settle during dry weather conditions.
Mold grows in damp and wet environments and a flooded home can provide an idea environment for these spores to grow. How can you tell if you’ve got mold in your home?
- Allergies: Mold often triggers allergies like sneezing and congestion.
- Odor: Mold has a very distinct smell that can often be easily identified.
- Visible growth: Large mold growths often become visible.
What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Mold Damage?
- Keep humidity levels in your home lower than 50%. If you live in a humid environment, use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to keep moisture out of the air.
- Maintain good ventilation in your home. Use exhaust fans or air movers to keep the air moving. (learn about air movers here)
- Don’t carpet areas that are prone to flooding or retaining moisture, such as bathrooms or basements. If you do have any water damaged carpet, remove and replace it rather than trying to dry it out.
Electrical damage can be difficult to spot, but can severe safety hazards if not addressed. Some signs of electrical damage include:
- Lights or outlets that don’t work when the power is restored, or lights that flicker
- Outlets that are hot when power is restored
- Problems with the circuit breakers, especially if they produce a burning odor or sparks
- Items that generate electrical shocks when plugged in
There are some items that need to be replaced, rather than dried out, if they have been fully submerged. These include:
- Plastic sheathed building wires, armored cables, fuse boxes, outlets, and circuit breakers
- Fans, heaters, and air conditioners
- Switches, motors, furnaces, lights, and boilers
- Sub panels and non-submersible pumps
These items cannot be safely dried out and should be replaced.
How Can You Prevent Electrical Damage During a Flood?
- Hire a licensed contractor or electrician to move your heater, air conditioner, and other electrical components above the base flood elevation for your area.
- Shut off power at the main breakers if the water is rising.
Knowing the potential complications that can occur after flooding can be scary but it also makes it easier for you to prepare for the future if you’re living in a flood prone area. While these tips can help you to prevent flood damage to different areas of your home or property, in the event of a flood, be sure to always let trained and certified restoration professionals handle remediation and repairs.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.