We see and read about homeowner emergencies all the time. We just never imagine it happening to our house … until one day, it happens. Last week it happened to me when I got a phone call about a flooded house, my brand new house in Florida. While I was in Maine helping my sister, neighbors called the HOA property manager because “water was gushing out the front door and garage”.
When I owned a handyman business, I dealt with these problems all the time. It feels a lot different when it's your house. I'm going to share what I'm learning so you'll be more prepared as one day you might have an emergency. Hopefully you'll be nearby while I'm trying to navigate this from a thousand miles away.
Want to see my house before the flood …
Next I called my son and asked him to head over to the house. Amazingly with the water shut off, you could hardly see evidence of the gushing water. It's Florida and it only takes an hour for things to dry after a downpour.
How to Deal with a Flooded House
Then I called my insurance agency as their number is in my phone. A short explanation that my house was flooded and I needed a water restoration company was all it took to get the ball rolling.
- Homeowners should call their insurance agency right away. They're the people you know and they're more familiar with how the insurance process works.
- Insurance agency called the insurance company to open a claim.
- Insurance company called a water restoration company. Rytech called within one hour of my call to the agency. Rigo was already driving and said he'd arrive at my house in two hours … wow!
What a Water Mitigation Company Does in a Flooded House
Fortunately my sons live and work within an hour of my house. Otherwise the sheriff (called by my neighbors) would have made a forced entry into the house. Ryan got to the house about a half hour after I called him at work. Once he recognized the electrical outlet on the floor (something new for me), he left to find a pair of rubber boots.
Once safe, Ryan walked around the house taking photos. He also checked the sinks and toilets until he found the source of the flood, a water supply line in the master bedroom popped (dangling below).
My son worked with the water mitigation team that night until 11pm, clearing the water out of the house. They also removed baseboards, toe kicks under the cabinets (below) and got all the furniture off the floor, using my moving pads and foam blocks.
My son had to sign paperwork before the water mitigation company could start work, which I mention so you're not surprised.
- Authorize water mitigation company to bill insurance company directly.
- Approve use of chemicals needed to retard mold growth by signing Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), standard in the construction industry.
They returned the next day and set up an entire spiderweb of high powered fans to circulate air to dry everything from the drywall to the cabinets, furniture and personal belongings.
Here's what the house looked like with all the fans strategically placed throughout the house (but not the garage).
The most important thing with a flooded house is drying everything quickly before mold grows. That's happening inside the house but it only took 4 days for mold to start growing in the garage. I'm still in Maine and will stay here if a friend can come sort out everything in the garage. Otherwise I'll be flying back to Florida tomorrow to clean up this mess.