Tips For Recovering Items From A Household Flood

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Once the shock dies down of coming home to find your clothing, furniture and other household items soaked from a flood, it's time to begin the recovery process. This will take time and the assistance from a water damage repair company. Several factors determine what you can save and what will be a total loss. Here is how to evaluate what you can salvage from a household flood.

The Source of the Flood Water is the Primary Factor

Water damage specialists categorize flood water based on its source and the amount of contaminates in it. Where your flood water came from will help you decide what you can save in your home.

Category 1 ("Clean Water") - This water has minimal contaminates in it and will not make you ill even if you drink it. Examples of this water is from an overflowing kitchen sink or burst water supply pipe. Items soaked with this water can safely be salvaged if they can be dried and cleaned thoroughly before use. The length of time that the item was soaked will also determine its recoverability (see next section).

Category 2 ("Grey Water") - This water is contaminated with materials that could make you ill or uncomfortable if you swallowed the water. The source of this flood water would be from the dishwasher drain or an overflowing toilet. You can salvage items soaked with this water if you can dry the item out thoroughly and if it will withstand being disinfected before use.

Category 3 ("Black Water") - This water is so contaminated that you can become ill or even die if you swallowed it. Any recovery efforts from this category of water needs to be done by a water damage repair company. A backed up city sewer line is an example of black water. Items soaked with this water should be thrown out. The disinfecting process required to make an item safe to use may damage the item beyond use.

Duration Under Water Affects the Ability to Save Items

Items such as silverware can be submerged for a long time and still be saved from a flood. Carpet and upholstered items left in water over 24 hours can develop mold and mildew, which are difficult to remove. How long an item has been soaked is the second factor that determines whether an item can be salvaged. The water damage restoration company will recommend which items to try to save and which to throw out based on how long they've been wet.

Specific Salvage Guidelines

The following are some simple rules for recovering items from category 1 flood water. If it was category 2 flood water, factor in a step to disinfect the item before using.

  • China, glassware, flatware and kitchen utensils - These non-porous items can be cleaned and rinsed off and be safe to use. Utensils made of wood and plastic should be replaced.
  • Photos and paper documents - Place these items flat on paper towels in a warm environment and allow to dry. Place a heavy item, such as a book, on photos so they don't curl as they dry. When important documents are dried, consider photographing or copying them and throwing away the original.
  • Rugs and carpets - Throw rugs can be cleaned in a commercial washer or by a professional cleaning service. Wall-to-wall carpet should be pulled up and cleaned by a water damage specialist. Any carpet pads should be thrown away. Allow flooring material to dry completely before reinstalling the carpet.
  • Furniture - Any upholstered furniture that has been soaked should be allowed to dry. Take the covers off of the cushions and wash and dry them. Rinse the foam pads thoroughly and allow them to dry before putting the covers back on. If the upholstery has been soaked longer than 24 hours, you run the risk of mold and mildew developing if you don't have a professional service clean and disinfect the furniture for you.

For a water damage repair company, contact a company like Servpro Of Bear New Castle .

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