The importance of removing flood waters in any building cannot be overemphasized. We often unexpectedly experience flooding after excessive rainfall, storms or pipe leaks. While it is essential to bring the building back to its habitable state, it is not the only thing that we should be concerned of. The presence of unwanted waters in our homes or business often leads to the speedy rot and decay of our appliances, furniture and other personal belongings.
Flooded buildings must undergo water extraction, drying and sanitizing without delay. The following are various water removal methods that homeowners and businessmen must immediately perform to halt the deteriorating effects of water damage.
1. Pumping the Water Out
When flooding occurs, the first thing that must be done is to pump all the water out of the building. Pumping is the most speedy and efficient way to remove the water. There are many different ways to pump out water and the mechanism to be employed will depend on how high or low the water levels in the building are.
Low flood waters can be removed by the use of battery-operated pumps. It is advisable to keep these pumps at your house or office so that you will have an emergency recourse when you are surprised by flood waters upon entering the building. Check your local hardware store for submersible pumps that can be connected to regular car batteries for power. These pumps will come in handy when electricity has been lost in the case of storms or when it is too risky to operate any electric gadgets in the flooded area.
Heavy-duty submersible electric pumps should be used if the flood waters have already reached more than four feet. You can rent these pumps instead of purchasing them because they are usually very expensive. Connect the pump to an outlet from outside the affected area to avoid electrocution. You will therefore need extension cords to operate these.
It is recommended for the removal of high flood waters that only a maximum of three feet of water is removed daily. Any more than this amount may cause the walls and floors to crack from the intense pressure exerted by the pumps.
There are different kinds of pumps that will work for different kinds of building structures. You have to rent or purchase the sump pump that best suits your building.
a. Pedestal sump pump
If the flooded area in your house or office is below the water tables, then a pedestal sump pump is the tool for you. Areas such as basements are usually prone to flooding because the water can easily break into the small cracks in walls and floors. A pedestal sump pump cannot be rented. It is something that you install in the building as a permanent guard against flooding. A hole or sump pit is built in the area most likely to get flooded. When flood waters enter the building, the water will accumulate in this hole. Once it reaches a certain level, the pedestal sump pump will begin to pump out the water. The sump pit has a pre-installed switch which will turn on the electric motor of the pump so that it will begin extracting the water as soon as the flood waters reach a high level.
The water that is sucked out is allowed to flow into a pipe leading to the grounds outside the building or to the drainage system. There is no need to drain any water compartment as the flood waters are automatically disposed off into the soil.
b. Submersible Sump Pump
If you are a homeowner and you want a sump pump that is friendlier to a residential environment, it is better that you choose a submersible sump pump. This pump operates in a manner similar to that of the pedestal sump pump. However, it can pump out more water because of its more sophisticated motor. It is also more durable than the latter because it has stronger, watertight features and is resistant to corrosion. It also operates quietly, thus making it suitable for installation in homes.
Submersible sump pumps are also apt for homes with children because of their safety attributes. The sump pit where the pump is encased can be covered with a lid so that children will not accidentally fall in.
c. Water-Powered Sump Pump
On the other hand, offices must be equipped with water-powered sump pumps. These pumps are often used as backups to those that are electric-powered. Offices that are flooded need to be restored to original status as soon as possible to prevent big losses in company transactions. Thus, businesses must be equipped with this kind of pump so that the water will be removed even if there is no electricity due to severe weather conditions.
Water-powered sump pumps operate through a suction valve that siphon the flood waters into a water pipe that leads into a septic tank. Water removal may take longer when this pump is used but it is a good emergency measure when electricity is out.
2. Cleaning up the flood remnants
Water removal methods also involve a so-called rinsing process. Once the all the waters have been removed, it is now time to clean up the mess left by the flooding. Remove all the furniture and appliances in the affected area. You must get rid of the bigger and more visible dirt first. Bring out your shovel and scoop off the mud and grime from the floors and corners.
Scrub the floors with detergent and warm water. Make sure to target those cracks and crevices because it is there where the dirt usually accumulates. Finish off the cleaning by hosing off the soapy water and the remaining dirt.
If the flooded area is carpeted, you will have to carefully remove the carpet and clean it separately. Before removing the carpet, you must use a vacuum to absorb the water it has absorbed. Try to do initial cleaning on the carpet by scrubbing it with detergent. After this, use a knife or a pair of scissors to remove carpets that are tacked to the floor. Quickly bring the carpet out of the house and make sure no water drips off. When the carpet has been moved to another location, you can start washing the carpet more freely this time. Rinse thoroughly and repeat the washing process until you feel certain that the carpet is completely clean. You can either air dry the carpet or use dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process.
While it is important to salvage the carpet as quickly as you can, you must also evaluate whether or not the carpet can still be used or should be discarded. If the carpet has been immersed in filthy flood waters for a long time, it may be unsafe to use it even if it will be subjected to several washings. In this case, it is better to dispose of the carpet than to introduce germs and bacteria into the home or office.
Some carpets may still smelly musty even after being washed with detergent. To get rid of the moldy odor from the flood, you can sprinkle some baking soda on top of the carpet and leave it there overnight. Use the vacuum to remove the baking soda the morning after.
Apart from floors and carpets, walls may also be exposed to the filth and grime brought by flood waters. They should also be scrubbed, mopped and hosed down so that the surface dirt will be removed. Any gaps or openings on the walls must be inspected for trapped moisture. These areas should be dried using a vacuum to avoid water damage in the wall structures.
3. Disinfect the area
Once the initial water removal and rinsing process have been carried out, the affected area must be treated with disinfectant to make it safe for human presence again. It cannot be denied that flood waters carry with them innumerable germs and bacteria that rapidly stick to the surfaces that come in contact with the waters. The disinfecting stage is therefore crucial and is a must in every water removal system.
You can either buy a commercial disinfectant or create a homemade solution by mixing ¼ cup of chlorine bleach with a gallon of water. Apply the disinfectant on the affected areas using a mop or a wipe cloth. Cover all the areas which have been exposed to flood waters. After application, you must dry the place using a fan or a dehumidifier.
4. Seek professional help
If the flooding becomes very difficult to manage or if you are not equipped with the basic water removal equipment mentioned above, you may call a professional water removal company to do the job. These companies have their own sump pumps and have the personnel who know how to do the water removal method efficiently. This is also a good option for those who do not have the luxury of time to attend to the situation. While this may be a more expensive alternative, it can be more cost-efficient in the long run as you will probably get more satisfying results while saving yourself some time to do other errands.