Preparing your home for a storm or hurricane can lessen the potential damage to your property. There are simple things homeowners can do to get ready for the storm to protect your home from developing a mold problem after flooding. Here is some expert advice in doing so.
- be sure your gutters and downspouts are free from leaves and debris
- prepare your basement
- follow these steps if you get water in your home
- be prepared for a power failure
- have your home tested for mold if you have flooding
- wait for your insurance company to call you back
- use a generator indoors
- leave your generator in the basement
- wait for leaks to start
- wait until the last minute to buy supplies
It is important to make sure your gutters and outside drains are clean before the storm. Remove any debris from gutters and downspouts, and be sure that they are adequately angled away from the house, otherwise, water will collect at the edge of the house and leak into the foundation and basement. If you have extensions on your downspouts to direct water away from the foundation, be sure to secure them in place with rocks or stakes. With hundred mile per hour winds, they may blow off.
If you think you may have flooding, there are several things you can do in advance to prepare. Check basement floor drains to be sure they are not covered. Remove anything from the floor that you do not want to get wet. If you have boxes or any other cellulose materials on the floor, place them on tables or crates to alleviate direct contact with water. Remove items from places water may get in, like below windows.
- Take pictures of the damage, and remove the water immediately.
- If you rent your home or apartment, be sure to alert your landlord and building superintendent as soon as possible so they can take the necessary steps. If you live in an apartment building and have leakage or flooding, water could travel through ceilings and walls to neighboring apartments and mold could affect an entire building in a short time.
- Mop, vacuum, or pump water out of the affected area as soon as possible. Remove wet items and materials from the area.
- Dry out residual moisture that is left in the concrete, wood, and other materials. You can use a dehumidifier or ventilation. If you have windows that open to the outside, mount fans in them. Unplug electrical devices and turn off the circuit breakers in the wet area, if possible.
- Some items, once wet, should be thrown away immediately. This includes food, cosmetics, medical supplies, stuffed animals, and baby toys.
- Some material that cannot be dried within 24 – 48 hours, it should be disposed of. Unfortunately, this list includes mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, and items containing paper, including wallboard.
- Put aluminum foil under the legs of furniture to avoid staining floors.
Be prepared to power your sump pump by an alternative method if you have a power failure. Sump pumps only work if you have electricity. If you have a generator, make sure it is connected to the sump pump and fueled or charged. If you don’t have a generator, make sure you keep an eye on your basement for flooding.
If you are a victim of flooding and have concerns about mold growth in your home, have a certified mold inspector in to test and assess the damage and give you options on how to fix it. Mold can cause serious health problems, including asthma, upper respiratory tract symptoms, coughing, and wheezing in otherwise healthy people. Infants exposed to mold in their first year of life are three times more likely to develop asthma. Toxic mold can cause even more serious health problems.
Take pictures and start removing the water immediately. Waiting even for a few hours could accentuate your water and mold damage.
You may think it’s better to keep your generator indoors to avoid getting it wet, but this is extremely dangerous. If using a generator, be sure it is well ventilated and never use it indoors.
Many people make the mistake of leaving their generator in the basement until the power goes out. By then, you may already have water in the basement, and the generator may be flooded and not work.
Some of us know that we have trouble spots in our home. Don’t wait until leaks start – prepare now. Anticipate them in advance, if you can. Check every window in the house to be sure they are closed tight. Place towels and buckets on the floor in the affected areas. If you know a window leaks, secure towels in that area before the rain begins. In heavy rains, you may need to change the towels and empty the buckets several times. Most importantly, once the rain and leaking has stopped, remove the wet towels and buckets from the area immediately, or you risk mold growth, which can grow in as little as 24 – 48 hours.
We know that this is going to be an active hurricane season, so prepare now. Put together a hurricane kit. Have plenty of water, batteries, flashlights, candles, matches, dry and canned food, a can opener, a first aid kit, gasoline, a portable radio, and medications ready so when the time comes, you won’t be scrambling to get the necessities together.
Being prepared for a hurricane can make the storm much easier to handle. Following these simple tips can help prevent damage to your home.