The Importance of Professional Flood Cleanup Services After Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey has caused mass devastation in Houston, with unprecedented rainfall and catastrophic flooding. Many left their homes and possessions behind to evacuate. More than 17,000 people were in shelters as 19 trillion gallons of rainwater fell, or 50 inches of rain.1 That’s over four feet of rain in a few days.
Homes were ravaged by the excessive rainfall and flooding, leading to extensive water damage. In this difficult time, Kiwi Services’ licensed, bonded, and insured professionals are extending 24/7 Hurricane Harvey flood damage restoration to Houston homeowners.
What Do Flood Cleanup Services Include?
In the aftermath of a flood, minutes count and details matter. That’s why it’s important to quickly and efficiently begin the multi-step process of water damage restoration with a highly-reputable company experienced in flood cleanup. This process is completed with cutting-edge water damage cleanup equipment to expedite drying time. Flood damage often impacts the flooring, furnishings, and drywall, as well as any personal belongings left behind.
From dehumidifying to moisture detection and injecting high-pressure drying systems, Kiwi Services aims to get your home back to its previous condition, and each service comes with a one-year guarantee. Starting with your phone call, we will handle all aspects of flood cleanup, and we even work with homeowner’s insurance.
The Hurricane Harvey flood cleanup process from start to finish will include:
- Phone Call. When you call a Houston flood cleanup company, immediate action is crucial. Delaying your call can only create further damage to your home and belongings.
- Inspection of damage. Before the drying process can begin, the damage must be assessed and identified. Surveying the damage includes determining whether it is contaminated (which floodwater always is) and doing a complete safety inspection. Furniture will be moved to prevent more stains and damage to the floor.
- Water removal and extraction. This step is the most time-consuming. It involves pumping standing water out of a flooded area to begin to stop further water damage with submersible pumps and industrial wet/dry vacuums. Thorough water extraction makes drying time faster and prevents further mold or secondary water damage. Hundreds or thousands of gallons of water can be successfully removed from the property this way.
- Extensive drying. Most of the home will appear dry but will be still wet to the touch. The reason for this is that most building materials, such as wood or drywall, are porous and absorb water. This causes wood to warp and swell, and materials like drywall become vulnerable to mold and mildew in addition to breaking down. Special dehumidifying equipment and moisture detectors will ensure that everything is dried out. Other drying equipment includes high-speed air movers to accelerate moisture evaporation.
- Odor removal. A complaint frequently heard after a flood is the terrible odor it leaves behind—a musty, moldy smell. Wet materials and floodwater usually have unpleasant odors. By identifying and removing offensive odors with industrial air scrubbers and other equipment, serious and persistent odors can be removed in a way that the typical air freshener simply cannot do.
- Mold and mildew removal. Mold is a serious health threat and it, unfortunately, goes hand in hand with moist surfaces. The mold and mildew spores can irritate the lungs even of those who are healthy. Those with a compromised immune system, young children, and the elderly are at a heightened risk. Mold is also important to clean up because the longer it grows, the worse damage it causes.2
- And more!
Why You Shouldn’t Attempt DIY Flood Cleanup
The danger of cleaning up your home after a flood cannot be overstated—floodwater isn’t tap water. Floodwater is notorious for being highly contaminated and dangerous to human health. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor has found that floodwater often contains many infectious waterborne microorganisms, as well as noxious agricultural or industrial chemicals. For this reason, it is difficult to maintain good hygiene in the cleanup process.
Those who clean up floodwater must be careful to wear special chemical protective outer clothing, a respiratory mask, gloves, boots, and goggles to avoid waterborne disease. Mold spores that are typically in flooded homes can be dangerous—particularly black mold. A mold remediation company should be contacted if there is more than ten square feet of mold in the home, for safety reasons. Mosquitoes or other insects may be attracted to flooded areas, as well.
Some homeowners choose to go the DIY route because they think the cost of hiring professionals is prohibitive. However, those who attempt to save money by cleaning their homes alone often face costs they weren’t prepared for as a result of their lack of experience and knowledge dealing with water damage cleanup.
Homeowners may not be able to adequately assess property damage or be aware of the health risks associated with contact with floodwater. This not only can cause further damage to the home and other belongings, it can cause health problems from improper safety precautions. It’s more important to stay healthy and get the process done correctly than attempt to save money on a project as involved as flood cleanup.
Procedural Standards for Flood Cleanup
Although there are no U.S. government regulations to standardize flood cleanup and water damage restoration, the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has suggested procedure standards, called S500, which established the groundwork for flood cleanup professionals.
Under IICRC S500, water damage is placed into three categories, including:
- Category 1. Flooding is a result of a sanitary source such as a clean toilet tank or broken water lines.
- Category 2. The water has some amount of contamination and is unsafe to digest. Water may have come from the dishwasher, washing machine, or a filled toilet.
- Category 3. This water is extremely contaminated, such as Hurricane Harvey floodwater. Ingesting this water could result in severe health hazards, including death. This water could be from raw sewage or standing water which has produced microbial growth or be laced with unknown chemicals.
Category 1 and 2 can quickly advance to category 3 if not addressed quickly, which is why it’s important to begin water damage restoration immediately.
Contact a Reputable Houston Flood Cleanup Company
If you have been affected by Hurricane Harvey flooding, please call Kiwi Services’ emergency hotline, 24/7, at 888-961-4682. Our IICRC-certified skilled team of flood cleanup professionals has 30 years of experience, and we are equipped with cutting-edge tools to mitigate the damage caused by floodwater and resulting mold. We will act quickly and efficiently so we can help protect your home from further damage. We also work with insurance companies for billing purposes.
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