Kitchen with water pooled on the floor.

What Happens After a House Flood?

The aftermath of a house flood can take quite a bit of recovery time. Your windows could be broken from water rushing in, the flooring in your home probably needs to be replaced, and everyday household items need to be repaired. After multiple phone calls with your insurance company and contractors, this process can sometimes take as long as 18 months.

Steps to Take Following a House Flood

If you’ve recently experienced a house flood or want to be prepared if this emergency were ever to happen, we’ve shared six necessary steps for you to take to ensure you’re ready to handle a future home flood.

Remain Safe

The first and most crucial step to take following a house flood is to stay safe. Depending on damages done, you may have to leave your home for some time. Safety also applies when you finally return home. Make sure you are wearing protective clothing such as boots and gloves as this will protect you from not only the water but any debris that entered your home during the flood.

You should never eat any food in your home that might have been contaminated during the flood. Floods can be severe enough to reach your pantry cabinets and refrigerator, so be sure to throw away any food that could have been affected.

Stop the Water at its Source

Unless an act of nature caused the flooding, stop the source of water from coming in if possible. For example, if a burst pipe caused your home flood, fix the plumbing as soon as possible to reduce the water damage. If possible, turn off the main water valve in the house. This is the easiest way to stop the water flow.

Drying Out Your Home

If you are successful in removing the water from your home, everything will remain wet and damp. A necessary step to take here, if you have power, is to use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry these moist areas. In areas such as basements, dehumidifiers are a huge help because they remove excess moisture from the air. Although dehumidifiers help, you will likely need to try multiple methods to dry your home.

Call Your Insurance Company

Homeowner insurances vary, but in most cases, insurance companies cover flooding due to storms, backed-up sewers, broken sump pumps and burst pipes. Make sure you clarify to the insurer if you need to wait for an adjuster to come to your home before you begin the cleanup process. The adjuster will assess the damage and determine if the costs will be covered.

Pro tip: If the insurance company is not able to send an adjuster right away, take as many pictures and videos as possible of the damage before, during, and after cleaning up. This will help you when the adjuster visits your home and assesses the damage.

Start Cleaning Up

Cleaning your home after a flood can be a long, tedious process. Water removal, salvaging personal items, drying and disinfecting your home are all part of the process. Remember to refer to the safety step and wear gloves and boots while cleaning. Another option is to call in a professional cleaning service to assist.