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After flooding

Drying out

Air circulation is the best way to dry out a property and also clears the air inside. Be patient and make sure the property is completely dry before you move back in.

Some do’s and don’ts

  • Do open your doors and windows to ventilate your home.
  • Do ensure your house is secure (see below).
  • Do unblock airbricks and vents.
  • Do wash your hands with disinfectant if you came into contact with water directly.
  • Do check external walls and the roof for structural damage before entering a property.
  • Don’t attempt to turn on any services until they have been checked by an expert.
  • Don’t eat any food that has come into contact with floodwater.
  • Don’t attempt to move any heavy or unstable objects by yourself, get help.

Dry the property
When drying out a building it is a good idea to start at the attic and work down, removing damaged or destroyed items and opening vents etc as you go.

  • You can allow your property to dry naturally, but that can take months. Forcing the drying process can speed it up so that it only takes a number of weeks. Whatever way you choose to dry your property, make sure that the moisture trapped within the structure of the property is removed. Some times the walls may feel dry on the outside, but they are still damp internally. If in doubt get a professional in to ensure that your property is completely dry.
  • In all cases, the earlier the drying process is started, the greater the chance of success will be – the first 48 hours after a flood are the most critical.
  • If your heating has been tested by a professional and is certified safe to use, it can be turned on to help dry the house. Keep the temperature at around 20 to 22°C. Excessive temperatures should be avoided as rapid heating may lead to cracking of plasterworks, etc.
  • Be aware that temperature alone will not dry your property. Air circulation and humidity are critical factors to consider.
  • Good ventilation is essential so keep windows and doors open during good weather and ajar during wet weather.
  • If you are using a dehumidifier leave external windows and doors closed especially during wet weather.
Don’t forget security
There have been instances of looting during the aftermath of a flood and while it is important to ventilate your house, it also pays to be security conscious. Remember that burglar alarms may have been affected by the water and might not work.

Do not leave external windows and doors open when the property is unoccupied, and make sure that it is properly locked when you leave. If necessary cover any open or broken windows with security mesh.