In the past month, Mother Nature has turned on New England with such a lashing that we suspect she is a Seahawks fan. Snow, ice and rain have homeowners scrambling to stay ahead of growing ice dams. We are raking, salting, picking and scraping at gutter ice. Yet, despite our efforts to avoid home damage, many of us are also cleaning up water damage inside of our homes.
When the water is flowing through the ceiling and walls, there are important steps to take during your cleanup:
- Disconnect the electric and remove electronics from the affected area. Avoid the risk of immediate or future injuries by having a professional inspect the electrical system.
- Call your insurance company. Many insurance companies will cover the damage caused by ice dams. Before you begin your cleanup, photograph and document the damage.
- Remove standing water. A wet-dry vacuum, mops and towels are a good place to start.
- Remove mold-prone items. These include flooded carpet pads, wet insulation and soaked ceiling tiles. According to the EPA, “there are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation. When excessive moisture accumulates in buildings or on building materials, mold growth will often occur.”
- Work to dry out the areas. If possible, open the windows to circulate the air. Dehumidifiers and fans can also help.
- Clean and disinfect the area. Pull on your rubber gloves and strap on a mask, and prepare a solution of hot water and a strong cleaner. Floodsafety.com recommends following up by disinfecting “with a solution of ¼ cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water or a product that is labeled as a disinfectant to kill germs.” This will reduce the chance that bacteria or mold will settle onto surfaces.
To learn more about cleaning mold, refer to the EPA’s A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home. If you are considering using a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to fund your cleanup, find options from Hanscom Federal Credit Union here. You can also convert a portion of your equity to a Visa Platinum credit card.
Read more about using the equity in your home by downloading out Equity Edge eGuide.