It is safe to say that no matter how much we prepare, nature is a force that can never be predicted. Within just a few seconds, it can wreak havoc that can take ages to fix.
People residing in tropical areas prone to extreme climate changes are aware of the dread that comes with seasonal transitions all too well. From wind storms and thunder to rainfalls and hurricanes, the list of possible disasters is long.
And while some are more manageable than others, all of them can cause significant damage to property – especially if they’re not dealt with in a timely manner.
One of the most common problems people face during and after a heavy storm is flooding. It only takes a few inches of water to create an infestation of mold, which can lead to other serious health hazards.
If you’ve ever had to deal with a flooded apartment, you know that getting rid of the water is only half the battle. The real challenge is fixing all the damage that was caused by the floodwater.
How long does it take to fix a Water-Damaged Apartment?
Truth be told, the answer to this question depends on the extent and the source of the damage.
If the flooding was caused by a burst pipe, then the repair process will be relatively quick and straightforward. However, if the apartment was flooded as a result of a natural disaster, then the repairs would take much longer.
In either case, it is vital to keep in mind that time is of the essence. You must move swiftly to prevent permanent damage from occurring and scarring your home forever.
Typically it takes around 3-5 days to fix a flooded apartment, but this time frame can be extended if the damage is more severe.
Variables That Impact Water Damage
When it comes to the extent of damage within the apartment, there are a few factors you must keep in mind, including:
· The type of water – clean, grey, or black.
· The amount of time the water has been present.
· The temperature of the water.
These factors must be kept in mind when determining the level of water damage the apartment has sustained. The higher the level of water damage, the more time, money, and resources will be required to restore the apartment to its original charm.
There are three levels of water damage, and each one requires a different approach:
· Level 1 – This is the least serious type of damage and is often caused by a small leak or malfunction. There will be no visible signs of water, but you might notice a musty odor, some discoloration, and staining around the house.
If you’ve detected a flooding issue at level 1, chances are that with the help of the restoration team, your apartment can be back to normal within 24 hours.
· Level 2 – Level 2 damage is more serious and is usually caused by a larger leak. At this stage, you will likely see water starting to pool on the floor and create puddles in different areas of the apartment. The water will also seep through walls, ceilings, and other porous materials.
At level 2, it typically takes around 3-4 days to completely drain the water and clean the premises.
· Level 3 – This is the most severe level of damage and is usually caused by a major flood or sewage backup. At this stage, there will be large amounts of water present, as well as significant saturation of walls, ceilings, and floors.
The water will also seep into electrical sockets and outlets, which can create a serious safety hazard. At level 3, the standard amount of time required to fix a flooded apartment is 5-6 days.
How to Handle a Flooded Apartment
It is safe to say that in the face of a natural disaster, your first priority should be your safety. Once you have ensured that you and your loved ones are out of harm’s way, then you can start to focus on the damage that has been done to your home.
Find the Source of the Problem
The first and most crucial step is to find the source of the problem and stop the water from coming in.
For instance, if the flooding was caused by a burst pipe or an overflowing gutter, you will need to shut off the main water valve to your home.
If the apartment was flooded as a result of a natural disaster, then you will need to wait for the water to recede before you can start making repairs.
No two floods are alike, hence identifying the source is vital to deciding on a proper treatment plan.
Under such stressful conditions, the first impulse an apartment owner has is to get to work and start cleaning their space as quickly as possible. However, that isn’t always the right choice.
You may never know how unstable the water structure is or what contaminants and toxins the flooded water contains. It is best to only enter the premises once they have been deemed safe by professionals.
Assess the Damage
Next, you need to do a thorough check to assess and evaluate the severity of the damage. Make a note of which rooms are affected and what items are destroyed beyond repair.
If you have any valuable items that have been damaged, such as family heirlooms or important documents, you will need to take extra care in salvaging them.
You will have to be quick on your feet to salvage as much of your apartment as you can. If left unattended, there will come a point where you will have no option but to discard the affected items.
Before you move on to the next step, be sure to take pictures and videos. Clear documentation is necessary for filing insurance claims and receiving tax deductions.
Once you are entirely sure that no more water is leaking or coming in, it is time to start the cleanup process. This involves getting rid of all the water that has already seeped into your home.
Utilize towels, mops, and buckets to remove as much water from the affected areas as possible. You should also open up any windows and doors to help with the drying process. In cases of severe damage, avoid taking the risk of leaving behind water and get an industrial-grade vacuum or dryer.
If you have any items that have been damaged by the flood, such as furniture or electronics, you will need to decide whether they can be saved or not. In some cases, it may be possible to salvage items by cleaning and repairing them. However, in other cases, it may be necessary to simply throw them away.
Here’s what you’ll need to kick-start the cleaning process:
- Household cleaners and vacuums to remove dirt
- Disinfectants to help inhibit microorganism and mold growth
- Aerosol sprays to sterilize the air of mold spores
- Household ammonia and trisodium phosphate to clean walls, wooden floors, and other surfaces.
- Cleaners like Spic-n-span or Top Job to clean grease and silt deposits
- Diluted chlorine bleach disinfectants to wash carpets, rugs, and furniture
- All-purpose detergents for soiled yet washable textiles. Examples include Tide, Wiska, and Cheer
- Items made of luxury fabrics like silk should be cleaned by a professional cleaner
Reach out to your landlord or Insurance Company
Chances are that if the damage to your apartment is severe, you’ll need monetary assistance to help in the restoration process.
If you have renters insurance, you may want to reach out to your insurance company to have them cover some of the damages that have been done to your home.
Your landlord should also be notified of the damage as soon as possible. In some cases, they may be responsible for repairing the damage to your home. Even if they are not responsible for the repairs, they will likely need to know about the damage so that they can make arrangements for repairs to be made.
How to Prevent Future Flooding
Those who have dealt with flooded apartments know that they don’t want such a situation to arise ever again.
Monitor Appliances Regularly: Check your appliances, such as your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater, for any leaks or drips. Wipe them down regularly, and be sure to fix any issues that you come across as soon as possible.
Clean Your Gutters Regularly: Clogged gutters are one of the main causes of flooding. Be sure to clean them out regularly to prevent any blockages.
Install a Waterproof Barrier: A waterproof barrier around your home can help to prevent water from seeping in and causing damage.
Fix Any Leaks Immediately: If you notice any leaks in your home, no matter how small they may be, be sure to fix them right away. Ignoring them will only lead to more serious problems later on.
Know Your Building’s Drainage System: If you know how your building’s drainage system works, you’ll be able to better understand where the water is going and how to prevent it from entering your home.
Keep an Eye on the Weather: Pay attention to any severe weather warnings that are issued. If a storm is coming, take the necessary precautions to protect your home.
Having a flooded apartment is a stressful and overwhelming experience. However, if dealt with calmly and with patience, this issue can be easily dealt with.
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