Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston community with its historic flooding. Harvey brought about a year’s worth of rain over the course of just a few days. Flooding is highly destructive and can seem like an overwhelming task. We want to be here to help. If your house flooded, this is what you should know, and the first steps you should take toward recovery.
House Flooded? Here’s What to Do
Depending on how much your house flooded, it could take anywhere from a few days to a few months. Please remember not to play in the water because it can be contaminated. While you investigate the damage to your home, be sure to take the proper health precautions such as wearing boots, rubber gloves, and masks. Additionally, make sure your power is turned off if there is sitting water in your home.
1. First things first: take photos.
Before you begin the recovery process, take photos of the flood damage in your home. These photos are for insurance purposes and your own personal records.
2. Call your insurance agent.
Find out if your insurance will cover the damage and what your policy includes. Flood insurance may be separate from your regular homeowners or renters insurance, but it is worth checking. Your insurance agent should be able to connect you with an adjuster to evaluate the damage.
3. Get the water out.
This may vary depending on the amount of water in your home. You may need to use buckets to remove the water, a wet-vac, or simply a mop and towels. Do this as quickly as you can. Because the climate in Houston is so humid, mold grows quickly and easily. Shovel out as much mud as possible, and use a hose to spray away the residue.
4. Dry out your belongings.
You may be able to save items that were wet for less than 48 hours. Use a dehumidifier and open windows to help the drying process. Though it can be emotionally challenging, throw out everything that was wet for two days or more and can’t be washed. This includes carpet, rugs, mattresses, bedding, and furniture. You may want to consider moving your salvageable furniture to a climate-controlled storage unit.
5. Start the cleanup process.
Remove the wallboards and plaster up to the level of the water. Walls can absorb a lot of water. Check for bulges in the ceiling to see if it’s holding water, too. Disinfect all surfaces in your home, and get a dumpster nearby to throw out debris.
Professional movers can you help you remove damaged items such as sofas and mattresses or help you move into a new, dry place. There are also disaster recovery companies and contractors, as well as cleaning services that specialize in this sort of cleanup. Do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
6. Know your resources.
Click here for information from FEMA regarding federal aid programs and information on disaster recovery centers. If you were affected by Hurricane Harvey, please give us a call at 713.484.6683 so we can find a way to help.