With what some are calling a thousand year flood, much of the Houston area is left with the aftermath of the historic storm. Thousands of homes face flood damage, but as residents return home the extent of that damage is what remains to be seen. Flooding is a very unique type of storm damage, while some residents might only need to replace carpet and furniture, others might find the entire home uninhabitable.
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) August 30, 2017
Flood water is never the cleanest water. It typically contains everything from mud to bacteria and even sewage. So when the flood waters enter a home, anything the water touches typically needs to be replaced. This includes carpet, furniture, walls, and even structural components at times.
- Short Circuits
The house equivalent of dropping your iPhone in the toilet. This means most electronics in the water, including appliances, will need to be replaced. And depending on the extent of the water, outlets and wiring and any hardwired electronics throughout the house might need replacing as well.
- Structural Intregity
Water-logged studs, floors, or foundation are all subject to weakening. Any strong wind or current will only up the probability that extensive damage will occur. Even warped studs or a cracked foundation can make an entire home unsafe.
That is just the tip of the flood-related iceberg. Every part of a house can be damaged from flood waters, even the ground surrounding the house can make the house itself unsafe. And all of that plays into just how hard it will be to rebuild after the flood.
"STILL IN RESCUE PHASE – WILL STAY IN RESCUE PHASE UNTIL EVERY CALL IS SERVICED"- Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Tuesday. #Harvey #TXwx
Posted by WeatherNation on Tuesday, August 29, 2017
- Best Case Scenario
This is assuming no damage to structure or electrical components.
Porous items such as carpet, rugs, mattresses, furniture, or even vinyl floors and drywall should be removed and thrown away. Items that do not absorb water must be dried, cleaned, and disinfected to prevent contamination from the flood waters and stop the spreading of harmful mold.
- Electrical Damage
Turn the main power to the house off. No matter what happens, this should be your first step. Just as a safety precaution.
Have an electrician inspect your home before doing anything. A trained professional will know what to look for and what to do in this situation.
Most likely you will also have to throw out any small electronics submerged in the flood waters.
- Structural Damage
Some damage can be assessed by the homeowner, but once again it is best to consult a professional.
Rotted wood or floor boards or plaster, even insulation can be easily replaced. But when it comes to things like the foundation, air ducts, electrical, gas lines, sewage lines, roofs, and other major home components– the undertaking sometimes outweighs the value of the home.
While no person wants to her that his/her home is destroyed, that is sometimes the case during extreme flooding. That’s why some home owners have to move following devastation from a major flood.
FIRE AND FLOOD – Heartbreaking scenes coming out of Port Arthur, TX right now with devastating flooding & families still…
The Insurance Debacle
The very unfortunate side of flooding is that many home owners do not have flood insurance. An overwhelming majority of home owner policies cover water damage but not flood damage, and clearly distinguish the difference between the two. With flood insurance, the repairs will be recovered by the insurance company, it is best to contact you insurance agent immediately to get help walking through the proper steps to filing a claim. But without flood insurance, alternative means of financing repairs become a necessity.
Experts estimate only about 20% of the home owners affected by Harvey have flood insurance, meaning almost 80% of residents in the area will pay out-of-pocket for the flood repair to their homes. There are assistance programs residents can apply for and some banks are working with homeowners during disaster recovery. But the sad fact is that many residents, just as we saw in Katrina, will be forced to sell their damaged homes and relocate.
For WeatherNaiton — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo