Before you get started with reclaiming your basement, read through these essential safety and cleanup tips brought to you by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), along with your local HVAC experts.
Flooded basement cleanup checklist
- Allow water levels to fall before entering, due to electrocution and sewage contamination danger.
- Shut off electricity at the main.
- Put on rubber gloves and waterproof boots. Don’t touch your face when in a flood zone.
- Get medical attention ASAP if you’re injured. The possibility of infection is elevated when you’re in and around flood waters.
- Don’t turn on water fixtures or faucets below flood level. Disinfect water by boiling for at least two minutes. City tap water will likely be safe, but if you suspect contamination, call the city health department.
- Smell gas? Don’t touch switches, phones or electric fixtures, and don’t light matches. Call the gas company and local fire department from a safe distance.
- Get help from professionals if the job appears too large or unsafe. Use specialized disaster assistance or cleanup services and mold abatement companies.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Quickly remove items from flood areas. Let everything air dry (in the sun if possible).
- Before using, have your HVAC system and other appliances inspected by qualified technicians. After inspection, replace all air filters.
- Open doors and windows. Turn on the A/C or furnace after they’re declared safe, as well as fans and a dehumidifier to speed the drying process.
- Remove stored chemical agents such as pesticides from the area.
- Wash walls, floors and faucets with clean water, followed by warm water and soap.
- Decontaminate equipment with 8 tablespoons chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Don’t mix ammonia and bleach. They produce toxic fumes.
- Washable rugs, cushions and foam rubber mattresses can be washed in hot water with bleach. Toss out anything doubtful.
- Throw away wet food, food unrefrigerated for more than six hours and frozen foods thawed for more than four hours.
- Replace wet drywall to prevent mold after your flooded basement cleanup.
For more information and best practices for flooded basement cleanup, please contact the experts at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We’re proud to serve homeowners throughout the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.
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