What To Do When You’ve Had a Flood
Dealing with a flood can be a daunting task for homeowners and renters alike. Whether it's a result of a burst water main pipe, washing machine hose leak, overflowing bath, or a severe storm, addressing water damage promptly is crucial to prevent further issues such as mould growth or structural damage.
In this guide, we will explain the steps needed to take control of the situation quickly and efficiently. The longer the water sits, the higher the risk of damage. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can minimise the impact of water damage.
Whether your bathtub has overflowed, or you’ve been inundated by storm flooding, water presents many safety hazards. So, before you do anything, make sure you and others (including pets) are safe.
Keep yourself and others safe: Consider relocating pets or vulnerable people during the clean-up and drying process. Depending on the type of water damage, wear protective gear such as safety gloves and boots, as well as a N95-rated mask to safeguard yourself from any potential health risks.
Stop the water: Call a registered plumber. Turn off the mains water if needed. If water is coming in from outside, you could set up sandbags or other barriers to help divert water or call a drainage company.
or turn it off: Mixing water and electricity is not safe. Make sure you get exposed or affected electrical wiring, power points or light fixtures assessed by a certified electrician. Turn off power at the mains if unsure. Don’t turn it back on again until it has been checked by an electrician. If there are immediate dangers, call emergency services for further instruction.
Move belongings: wet furniture and belongings can get damaged quickly. Move items to a safe and dry area. This will also help with the drying process.
For more information on how to keep safe during a flood read this article from the National Emergency Management Agency.
Assess the Type of Flood Damage
Before diving into the clean-up process, try to identify the type of flood water that is at your property. This is important information to provide the professionals so they know how to manage your flood correctly. Depending on the source and contamination level of the water, different precautions and cleaning methods may be needed.
Clean Water: While considered safe, clean water can cause significant damage if not addressed correctly. It can even turn to Grey Water if left for a period. Clean water comes from water supply lines like your kitchen tap, or it could be rainwater that has come into your home without touching the ground or any other surface.
Grey Water: This type of water contains contaminants that could cause illness or discomfort if ingested. Sources of grey water include overflowing washing machines, dishwashers, or bath/showers. Take precautions before trying to clean up grey water to avoid health risks.
Black Water: This is the most harmful type of water. Keep away from it, as it can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Types of blackwater include sewage; wastewater backflows regardless of visible content or colour; flooding from seawater; rising water from the ground, rivers or streams; and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment, such as wind-driven rain from cyclones, storms, or other weather-related events. Clean-up of black water should always be left to professionals due to the serious health risks it presents.
Get the professionals underway
It’s the water you don’t see that can do the most damage. So, while it may be possible to handle minor water damage on your own, a professional flood restoration company is recommended to help prevent long-term damage – even if the water is clean, and especially if it’s grey or black water!
If you are in or around the Auckland area, call A-Jet Services, Auckland's top-rated flood recovery experts. We are a Certified Firm with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). This means you can be assured that our technicians work to IICRC S500 (water remediation) and S520 (mould remediation) global standards. We’re also registered with the Restoration Industry Association and the Carpet Cleaners Association of New Zealand.
Make sure you call your insurance company first to lodge a claim, as we’ll need your insurance claim number. Remember, if you rent your property, you will need to contact your landlord.
What to do before the professionals arrive
There are a few things you can do before we arrive to help prevent damage.
Start the clean-up: If it is safe to do so, try to get rid of as much water as possible using towels, mops, brooms, or a wet/dry vacuum if you have one. Clean out any debris, mud, or silt that may have come inside using brooms or shovels. Remember to wear your protective gear to safeguard yourself from any potential health risks. Minimise cross-contamination by changing or removing footwear, and make sure you have gloves.
Document everything: Your insurance company will want a detailed and accurate report of what happened. Take photographs, and videos, make diagrams, and create lists of the damage. Talk with your insurer before disposing of any items.
Start drying: Get airflow into the affected area. Open windows and doors if the weather allows. Or close windows and doors and turn on your home dehumidifier or heat pump.
Preventive Measures for the Future
Prevention is key to avoiding water damage. Consider these preventive measures:
Regularly inspect and maintain your plumbing system and appliances, including pipes, hoses, and fittings.
Keep gutters and downspouts clear to prevent water from overflowing and seeping into your home.
When faced with water damage, it's essential to act quickly. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can minimise the impact. Remember, when in doubt, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance. Acting promptly will help prevent further damage and ensure a safe and healthy living environment.