If your home was recently hit by a flood, you need to be aware of how the flood water will affect the various surfaces in your home and what this means for cleaning and recovery process. Here is a quick guide to how the flood water will have affected the various surface and material in your home.
If you have a central HVAC system, you are going to want to have them cleaned by a professional HVAC cleaning service before you turn them back on. The water could have damaged their electrical systems. The vents could be contaminated with bacteria. This contamination can be counteracted by taking off each piece of your vent system and cleaning them individually. It will take extensive cleaning before your HVAC system is safe to turn on again.
Like your HVAC system, your appliances electrical circuits could have been damaged. If they use gas, they could be leaking gas. Turn off the gas and electrical to all appliances, and have a professional appliance repair person come out, clean and inspect all appliances before turning them on again. Wipe down the out surface to remove all contaminants.
You are going to want to throw away any porous flooring material, such as carpets, rugs and anything with a rubber backing. Bacteria, mold, and mildew can take root in these materials and they can be though to clean. If you have any antique or special rugs, you will need to have them professionally treated and cleaned right away if you hope to save them.
Any solid wood framing and studs in your home should be okay. You are going to need to clean them with a bleach or mildew fighting solution, but they should be fine.
Laminate & Particle Board
Any laminate or particle board in your home may need to be removed and replaced. These types of wood-based products tend to come apart and weaken after exposed to the level of water they'll encounter during a flood situation.
Most of the drywall as well as any wallboards in your home are going to need to be pulled off your walls, thrown away, and replaced. Both drywall and wallboard are really porous materials. Even if you quickly dry out and clean these materials, they could still hard contaminates that could damage your home at a later date, which is why you should get rid of these materials.
Plaster is generally okay as it is not as porous as drywall. However, be aware that it takes plaster longer than other materials to dry-out, so be sure to give these substances extra dry out time. If for any reason the plaster in your home cracks or looks warped after you dry it out, it will need to be replaced.
With insulation, it really depends on the type that you have. If you have cellulose insulation, you are going to need to replace it. If you have fiberglass insulation, and it has become muddy, you are going to need to replace it. If the fiberglass insulation didn't get dirty, you just need to clean it. Foam insulation is the best in flood situations; it generally just needs to be cleaned off and dried out, not replaced.
If you are in doubt if you should throw away a certain material in your home or clean it off, consult a water damage expert for advice and assistance.