From plumbing leaks, septic tank or sewage back-up, to large-scale natural disasters, water damage can jeopardize your health if you don’t deal with it immediately. Long-term water damage may lead to weakened structures, unpleasant odors–an indicator of mold and mildew growth, poor indoor air quality, and toxic mold growth that create long-term health risks.
We’ll look at the kind of flooding that creates a high-risk environment and how you can restore a healthy environment to your home or office if you happen to find yourself up an indoor creek without a paddle.
Dirty Water Flooding
Whether it’s an overflowing toilet or a blockage at the mains creating foul-smelling back-up, a dirty water flood in your home is an event requiring immediate attention to prevent water damage and serious health risks.
Safety first: wear long pants and sleeves, rubber boots, gloves, goggles, and a respirator mask. Clean up the area of filth and water as quickly as possible. If there is a back-up at the street or in the city sewer system, you will need a professional to stem the flow and clear the affected area.
A heavy-duty water pump, flood-pumper vacuum, or industrial wet-vacuum is the most effective way to get rid of a large amount of standing water. Special water damage restoration air movers are used to dry affected spaces quickly and thoroughly.
After the area is dry, be sure to clean and disinfect to destroy fungi, bacteria, and viruses. You can use a disinfectant or a vapor steam cleaner
Flooding & Black Water
Floodwater or black water is the most dangerous kind to have in your home. It may contain raw sewage, chemical waste, and infectious microbes. Stay away from standing flood water whenever possible. If you come into contact with it, immediately wash with soap and hot water.
You may have had to evacuate in case of a storm or flash-flood, but as soon as it is possible, remove standing flood water from your home. You may need to call a professional who can use water pumps, extractors, air movers, and dehumidifiers to ensure that all water, including hidden moisture, is eliminated.
If you are tackling this job on your own, be sure to wear protective gear and then use an EPA-registered chemical disinfectant to sanitize the area after it’s dry. Afterward, it may be a good idea to set up an air purifier to continue to clean and circulate the air.
Mold Growth & Disease
Floodwater is notorious for causing mold growth, which has been implicated in several cases of “sick building syndrome.“ Even when the area has been cleared of visible water, many times the floor, walls, and floor coverings hold onto trapped moisture long after the flood.
In these conditions, mold can take hold and spread quickly, growing on ceiling tiles, wood, and paper products; as well as paint and wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpets, upholstery, and even dust.
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