Photo: Nashville Flood District
When flooding causes water damage in your home, it presents numerous threats to your health and safety. Mold growth is of particular concern. Spores of many species have been linked to allergies, asthma, respiratory diseases and low energy. Some of these issues are especially hazardous to babies, pets, small children, the elderly and people with suppressed immunity. For this reason, it’s essential to control damage after a flood in order to keep your family safe. Here are some tips that can help.
Be sure to boil drinking and washing water, or use bottled water if it’s on hand. Anywhere that has been soiled by sewage must be sterilized to prevent illness. To do this, mix one part bleach to three parts water in a spray bottle and apply it to the affected areas.
Any items that have been affected by water damage should be disposed of quickly. Mold and mildew thrive in paper, fabric and wood that has become wet. Be sure to always wear gloves, safety goggles and a dust mask or respirator when working in contaminated areas.
For this, a portable water pump is often used. Once this has been done, you must get the humidity level under control, which helps discourage mold growth and prevent further water damage. This can be achieved with the use of a dehumidifier designed for the size of the affected room. Keeping windows open will provide additional air circulation. It’s also recommended to run air conditioners and fans, which will speed drying. That said, you don’t want to dry things out too fast. This can make wooden floors buckle, causing more damage.
Surfaces that have been in contact with flood water should be sprayed with a bleach solution. Pay special attention to walls, cabinets, counters and floors. The bleach stops mold growth before it starts, and has the added benefit of killing bacteria.
Run your water through a coffee filter to remove particles, then boil it for a few minutes. Next, allow it to cool completely. To do your own chlorine treatment, add 16 drops of chlorine per gallon of boiled and cooled water. Mix it up and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to give the chlorine time to evaporate from the water.
After a flood, your safety is paramount. Just because flooding ruined your home doesn’t mean it has to ruin your health, too. By following the tips above, you can help keep yourself and your family safe and healthy post-flood.