Floods can be devastating. In many cases, they’re completely unexpected, while in others, like from natural disasters, there’s not much, if anything, that you can do to prevent them. Many people don’t know what can and cannot be saved after a flood. Many assume that after a flood, everything needs to be thrown out.
But hold your horses! This is not always the case. Depending on the nature of the disaster, more may be saved after a flood than you think.
What Type Of Flood Water Do You Have?
There are actually three different types of flood water: clean, gray, and black. The type of flood water that you have greatly impacts what can be saved after a flood.
Clean flood water results from leaks, breaks in supply lines, burst pipes, and similar situations. It does not pose a threat to your health in and of itself. If you have clean floodwater, you can almost always save items if they’re not too waterlogged.
Gray flood water is dirty water that can result from bathtubs that have been used, overflowing sinks, toilets with urine in them, and the like. That have contaminants with risk of infection. If you have gray floor water, you will need to throw some items away.
Black flood water is the worst. It has the highest level of contamination. This type of flood water results from sewage backups, toilets with fecal matter, groundwater flooding, and more. With this type of flood, you would need to throw away many more items.
Safety Tips For Saving Items After A Flood
Remember before you try to save anything at all that your personal safety is the top priority. You should not enter the structure if you’re not sure what type of flood water you have. Before entering the structure, check for structural damage, turn off the gas, and ensure that the power is off. Keep an eye out for dangerous debris.
While it’s a race against time in order to save things after a flood, never ever risk your personal safety in order to save something. If it is safe to enter the flooded structure, wear long sleeves with gloves and waterproof or sturdy shoes. Wash your hands frequently.
Remember to take plenty of photographs and document damage and any items that cannot be salvaged for insurance claims. While you may think that you have to get rid of everything, this isn’t always the case. Even waterlogged items could potentially be restored.
However, anything left unattended after 3-4 days most likely can’t be saved, because mold can form within 48 hours. Since saving items after a flood is such a time-sensitive process, prioritize what is most important to you, such as family heirlooms. Don’t wait for the insurance adjustor, as time is of the essence.
What Can’t Be Saved After A Flood?
As previously mentioned, the type of flood water you have greatly impacts what can and cannot be saved after a flood. That said, here are some good rules of thumb when trying to determine what you should toss.
If anything has severe damage or a lingering smell, it’s likely best to toss it. Warped furniture can become dangerous. If any food or medication came in contact with the water, you will likely need to toss it. This may depend on the packaging, as if it was in an airtight container, it could be safe. You will want to ensure that the entire package is sanitized prior to attempting to open it.
You’ll want to have any appliances and electronics evaluated by a professional. These could cause fires and pose serious risks.
If anything was exposed to sewage, get rid of it. However, if it wasn’t, even fabrics and books could potentially be saved.
If you’re ever in doubt about what can and cannot be saved after a flood, it’s best to consult with professionals.
What Can Be Saved After A Flood?
You may be surprised to learn there’s actually a lot that could potentially be saved after a flood. Even water-damaged items could be restored by conservators. What can and cannot be saved depends on the damage and type of water, but fabric, books, and even drywall have the potential to be salvaged.
When you go to save things after a flood, these steps can help:
- Prioritize what is most important to you.
- Allow things to air dry, if not too wet.
- Handle with care, as items are much more fragile when wet.
- Clean items gently.
- Freeze items that you cannot dry quickly, such as books.
- Wash any fabrics until the smell is gone.
Since floods can make your items potentially dangerous, it’s best to work with the experts when trying to save items after a flood.
What To Do With What Cannot Be Saved After A Flood
You will want to check with your municipality on what to do after a flood, as different areas have different specifications.
That said, items that cannot be saved are typically sorted into the following categories:
- Bagged household garbage
- Building material
- Vegetation debris
- Hazardous household waste
- Large appliances
Did Your Home Flood?
TNT Cleaning Company is here to help! We’ll remove the water and dry your home quickly in order to minimize the damage done as much as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our flood cleanup services.