The devastating floods in Western Canada have demonstrated the damage water can have in a home. If your home has been infiltrated by water, use these tips for a safe cleanup:
- Do not venture into wet areas before making sure the electrical utility has shut off power to your home. Be very careful as water conducts well and electricity can be deadly!
- Unplug, remove, and clean appliances, then leave them to dry in an open space
- Do not use any appliances until they have been inspected by an electrician, as debris can jam motors or damage wiring
- Remove and clean all light bulbs and their sockets to eliminate water and dirt, wait until they are dry to reinstall them
- Have a technician inspect your heating and cooling systems for damage, they will know best what needs replacing and cleaning
- Remove furniture and any floor treatments (carpet, vinyl, etc) that you can
- Dry and clean/disinfect the floor area quickly
- Check the cleanliness of the removed flooring, if in doubt you may need to discard it
- Inspect hard tile floors as they are rarely water tight and may need to be removed
- Carpets should be cleaned by a professional service
- Don't save anything that has been soiled by sewage
- Take down walls that have been saturated
- Clean the wall cavity and replace damaged materials
- Wash walls from floor to ceiling to remove mold - even if they are not in the immediate water damaged area, high humidity is a breeding ground for molds
- Remove baseboards and mouldings, and thoroughly clean behind them
- Replace any insulation that has signs of water absorption
- Most upholstered furniture that has been saturated in water should be disposed of
- Any upholstered furniture or antiques you wish to restore should be sent to a professional. If sewage was involved, make sure to notify the cleaners
- For good quality wood furniture: Remove all drawers and disinfect surfaces inside and out. Then leave it in an open area to dry away from sunlight
- Dispose of any wet pillows, as mold inside them will be nearly impossible to completely eliminate
Always wear protective gear and wash your hands frequently to protect your health.
Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership is supporting the flood relief effort in Western Canada with a donation to the Canadian Red Cross.
If you'd like to assist the flood recovery, you can make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross online.
Information via Alberta Health Services, get the complete guide here.