Floods can wreak havoc on homes and properties. To understand the severity of the damage and to ensure a smooth recovery process, you need to conduct a thorough flood damage inspection. This guide will walk homeowners and rental property owners through the process of this vital inspection.
Step 1: Safety First
Never enter the property if it shows signs of serious structural damage like warped walls or floors, or collapsed roofs. It’s also crucial to make sure the power is off before entering a flooded area to avoid electrical shocks.
If you notice any safety hazards, it’s best to call professionals for inspection.
Step 2: Visual Inspection Findings
This is your initial evaluation of the affected area. Look for obvious water damage and potential moisture entry points. Document the condition of the space with photographs to capture the state of your property accurately. This photographic evidence will be extremely useful when filing an insurance claim.
Step 3: Check for Water and Mold
Inspect for signs of water damage such as staining, swelling, or softness on walls, floors, and ceilings. Additionally, look for mold spots as they can grow quickly after a flood and may pose health risks.
Step 4: Hygrometer Measurements
A hygrometer measures ambient conditions like relative humidity and gives an idea of the moisture level in your space. If readings are high, it could indicate excessive moisture, hinting at potential damage. Note these measurements in your inspection report.
Step 5: Thermal Camera Images
A thermal camera can reveal hidden moisture damage that’s not visible to the naked eye. It provides a visual representation of temperature differences, which can help identify areas likely affected by moisture intrusion. Cooler spots could indicate water damage. Include these images in your final report.
Step 6: Moisture Meter Readings
These readings, obtained with pin-type and pinless meters, reveal the specific areas affected by moisture and the extent of the moisture within materials. This information is critical for your report and can help inform the recovery process.
Step 7: Inspect Utilities and Appliances
Check your electrical systems, plumbing, HVAC systems, and appliances for potential damage. If you notice water marks, rust, or any signs of damage, get professional help.
Step 8: Examine Your Personal Items
Check your personal belongings, including furniture and clothing. Some items might be salvaged with cleaning, but others, especially if soaked for long or moldy, may need to be discarded.
Step 9: Overall Assessment
After collating all your findings, make an overall assessment of the damage. Note down how extensive the damage is, the items impacted, and any utility hazards. This comprehensive evaluation helps in determining the extent of repair and recovery work needed.
Step 10: Professional Inspection
Flood damage can be overwhelming, but a systematic inspection will provide you with a clear understanding of the damage and aid in the recovery process. This process not only helps you make your property safe again but also provides vital evidence when filing an insurance claim. Be thorough and patient through the process, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help when necessary. Your home is worth it.
Common Mistakes Property Owners Make After Flood Damage
1. Underestimating the Severity of Damage
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is underestimating the severity of the damage. Flood damage is not always visible to the naked eye, and problems can lurk beneath surfaces.
What appears to be a minor issue could be an indication of a serious underlying problem, such as structural damage or mold growth.
2. Not Documenting Damage Properly
Some homeowners fail to document the damage thoroughly, which can be detrimental when filing an insurance claim. It’s important to take pictures and notes of all damaged areas and items, regardless of how insignificant they may seem. This includes all corners, nooks, and hidden spots.
3. Overlooking Hidden Damage
Hidden damage like moisture intrusion behind walls or under floors often goes unnoticed. These spots are difficult to reach and require specialized equipment to detect, such as moisture meters and thermal cameras.
Overlooking these areas can lead to more severe problems down the line, including structural instability and mold growth.
4. DIY Repairs
The temptation to save money by doing repairs on your own can be strong, but this is often a pitfall. Improper repairs can exacerbate damage and end up costing more in the long run. Water damage affects electrical systems, plumbing, and structural integrity, all of which require professional skills to address safely and effectively.
5. Not Hiring Professionals
While homeowners can do a preliminary inspection, a professional inspection is critical. Professionals are trained to spot things you might miss and can provide detailed reports that are often necessary for insurance claims.
Failing to get a professional inspection can lead to missed damage and potential problems in the future.