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Clean-Up After Flood in South Florida - Tips for Cleaning and Drying Out Your House.
During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks.
First things first: call an insurance claims adjuster. Insurance Companies are in business to collect premiums. A Public Adjuster has the experience, knowledge and expertise to obtain your maximum entitlements under your policy.
Clean and dry your house and everything in it.
Flood water can make the air in your home unhealthy. This is because when things get wet for more than 2 days they usually get moldy. There may also be germs and bugs in your home after a flood.
∙ Wear an N-95 respirator – an “N-95 respirator,”
∙ Wear goggles. – Choose goggles without vent holes, so the mold doesn’t get in your eyes.
∙ Wear gloves so that you don’t touch mold with your bare hands. Throw away anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned.
∙ Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and boots.
After a flood, cleaning up is a long and hard process. Here are some tips for sanitizing and cleaning flooded items:
∙ Clean and dry hard surfaces such as showers, tubs, and kitchen countertops. If something is moldy, and can’t be cleaned and dried, throw it away. Scrub surfaces with hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner. Then disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water or a product that is labeled as a disinfectant to kill germs
Kitchen Area Clean-Up Tips
∙ Immerse glass, porcelain, china, plastic dinnerware and enamelware for 10 minutes in a disinfecting solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per gallon of hot water. Air-dry dishes. Do not use a towel.
∙ Disinfect silverware, metal utensils, and pots and pans by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Chlorine bleach should not be used in this case because it reacts with many metals and causes them to darken.
∙ Cupboards and counters need to be cleaned and rinsed with a chlorine bleach solution before storing dishes.
Furniture and Household Items Tips
∙ Take furniture, rugs, bedding and clothing outside to dry as soon as possible. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to remove moisture or open at least two windows to ventilate with outdoor air. Use fans to circulate air in the house. If mold and mildew have already developed, brush off items outdoors to prevent scattering spores in the house. Vacuum floors, ceilings and walls to remove mildew, then wash with disinfectant. Wear a two-strap protective mask to prevent breathing mold spores.
∙ Mattresses should be thrown away.
∙ Upholstered furniture soaks up contaminants from floodwaters and should be cleaned only by a professional.
∙ Wood veneered furniture is usually not worth the cost and effort of repair. Solid wood furniture can usually be restored, unless damage is severe.
∙ Toys and stuffed animals may have to be thrown away if they’ve been contaminated by floodwaters.
Ceilings and Walls
∙ Drywall / Wallboard acts like a sponge when wet. Remove drywall, plaster and paneling to at least the flood level. If soaked by contaminated floodwater, it can be a permanent health hazard and should be removed. If most of the drywall was soaked by clean rainwater, consider cutting a 4- to 12-inch-high section from the bottom and top of walls.
∙ Plaster and paneling can often be saved, but air must be circulated in the wall cavities to dry the studs and sills.
∙ The three kinds of insulation must be treated differently. Styrofoam might only need to be hosed off. Fiberglass batts should be thrown out if muddy but may be reused if dried thoroughly. Loose or blown-in cellulose should be replaced since it holds water for a long time and can lose its antifungal and fire retardant abilities.
∙ Appliances will get stains, odors, silt deposits, and gritty deposits and need to be serviced, cleaned and sanitized. Running equipment before it is properly cleaned could seriously damage it and/or shock you. Professional cleaning is recommended for electronics, TVs and radios, washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. The hard exterior can be hand cleaned. All metallic appliances that have been flooded should be properly grounded to prevent electric shock. Mud or dirt in a grounded outlet or adapter may prevent the grounding system from working, and you could be electrocuted.
∙ With wood subflooring, the floor covering (vinyl, linoleum, carpet) must be removed so the subflooring can dry thoroughly which may take several months. Open windows and doors to expose the boards to as much air as possible.
∙ Carpeting- Clean and dry carpets and rugs as quickly as possible. If sewage-contaminated floodwater covered your carpeting, discard it for health safety reasons. Also discard if the carpet was under water for 24 hours or more. To clean, drape carpets and rugs outdoors and hose them down. Work a disinfecting carpet cleaner into soiled spots with a broom. To discourage mildew and odors, rinse with a solution of 2 tablespoons bleach to 1 gallon water, but don’t use this solution on wool or nylon carpets. Dry the carpet and floor thoroughly before replacing the carpet. Padding is nearly impossible to clean so should be replaced. If the carpet can’t be removed, dry it as quickly as possible using a wet/dry vacuum and dehumidifier. Use a fan to circulate air above the carpet, and if possible, lift the carpet and ventilate with fans underneath.
∙ Vinyl flooring and floor tile may need to be removed to allow drying of subfloor.
∙ Wooden floors – should be dried gradually. Sudden drying could cause cracking or splitting. Some restoration companies can accelerate drying time by forcing air through the fluted underside of hardwood floorboards. Remove hardwood floor boards to prevent buckling.
Roof Damage and Leaks
Defective flashing- Flashing is the sheet metal used in waterproofing roof valleys, hips and the angle between a chimney and a roof. Wet spots near a chimney or outside wall may mean the leak is caused by defective flashing, narrow flashing or loose mortar joints. Look for corroded, loose or displaced flashing on sloping roof valleys and at junctions of dormers and roof.
Clogged downspouts or eaves- Check for choked downspouts. Accumulated water or snow on the roof above the flashing may cause a leak. Ice accumulations on eaves sometimes form ridges, which cause melting snow to back up under the shingles.
Cracks and deterioration-
Holes- Missing shingles or holes in the roofing may be causing wet spots. To find holes, check for a drip trail or spot of light coming through in the attic. Stick a nail, straw or wire through the hole to mark the spot on the outside.
■To get information from EPA on the Internet, go to
■for this booklet and more indoor air information
■for flood information
■for hurricane information
To File a Claim or Help with Clean-Up Call Us 786-486-4280 or visit our website www.processmyclaim.com
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Elite Insurance Claims Services Corp specializes in representing consumers in the adjustment of insurance claims for both commercial and residential property losses.We have many years of experience in providing assistance to all types of insurance claims.