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  • Writer's pictureDavid Garrison

DIY Guide for Water Damage. Part 2, What Can a Homeowner Do About Water Damage?

What Can a Homeowner Do About Water Damage?

Part 2

Now let's talk about what you can do, how to do it safely, and how to be most effective in the cleanup process.

Evaluate the Entire Project and Break It Down

Take a look at the entire project as a whole first, break it down into a specific set of steps, and then take action. Being clear and focused on what to do in a step-by-step fashion will help you avoid overwhelm, and time-wasting mistakes. Think through what has to happen and in what order to make sure you are safe and get this work done as quickly as possible.

If Doing the Work of the Pros, Do the Work Like the Pros

During a severe emergency, residents of the home, and sometimes unpaid volunteers, may conduct mold cleanup that would usually be done only by trained mold remediation contractors. If your location allows for emergency cleanup, it is still crucial that you perform the work and protect yourself with the same level of commitment to safety as a paid professional wood. In other words, you need the necessary personal protective equipment and follow safety guidelines.

Mold Exposure Health Warning

Warning people with respiratory conditions like asthma, children and pregnant women, and weakened immune systems, should not do this work and should not remain in the home or building until the work is complete. These especially vulnerable people are susceptible to health hazards present and flooded homes.

Even for healthy people without pre-existing conditions, this work does pose a significant risk. Remember that mold is not the only consideration. We are going to look at several other health and safety risks to consider before you get started.

Structural problems

If the building is not still standing securely on its original Foundation, do not answer it by yourself. A trained construction professional needs to assess the situation first. Likewise, if this is a house that has been underwater for a long time or remained wet for an extended. Of time, check for rot before trusting the floor to support your weight. Some used a two-by-four piece of lumber to hit the floorboards to see if they are solid or not.


As we've discussed, exposure to mold poses serious health risks and those who are vulnerable should not be exposed to it. Mold spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye, so it can be difficult to tell just how serious of a threat the air quality is. While some will respond with allergic reactions such as sinus irritation or nasal stuffiness. Others May experience a life-threatening asthma attack. This can prove fatal, so take no chances.

Symptoms of Mold-Induced Respiratory Reaction

When cleaning a water-damaged home, look out for one another. If you notice someone experiencing difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, get them outside and into fresh air immediately. Likewise, if they are wheezing, noticing a painfully sore throat, suddenly feeling tired or fatigued, or feeling flu-like aches and pains, they need to remove themselves from the work area and seek medical attention for potential respiratory treatment.


In addition to mold, other Airborne risks are in play. In homes built before 1978, it is possible, or even likely depending on the area, that that home has LED and its paint. As the paint flakes peel from the walls after water damage, the dust from the paint particles can become dangerous to those who would you clean up. Again, this is where personal protective equipment is crucial, and following proper safety guidelines can make all the difference. Remember that lead poisoning is a serious, long-term situation, so taking precautions to keep LED off of your close, Hands, and food is extremely important

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Unfortunately, lead poisoning often shows no symptoms at all at first. Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in adults may vary but include headache, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, tingling in the hands and feet, and memory loss. Remember to always take proper precautions, use mandated personal protective equipment, and never take any risks because the ramifications are long-term.

Carbon Monoxide

Because carbon monoxide has no odor and no color, it is especially Liesl in cleanup environments. Remember that no fuel-burning equipment like generators or heaters should be used inside flood-damaged buildings.

Lacerations and Wounds

In the aftermath of severe storms and flooding, structural damage may have led to dangerous hazards around you in the cleanup area. Protects your hands and feet with work-grade gloves and boots to protect you from hazards like broken glass and expose nails. It is advisable to keep an emergency first aid kit at your work site at all times and keep antiseptic such as Betadine available in the event of a laceration.

Electric Shock

There is a deadly Mist circulating that rubber boots and gloves can protect a worker from electric shock. But this is not true. Always turn off the electricity at the breaker before starting work if you do not know your level of risk hidden behind the walls. Any electrical device is a potential shock risk even if it is not submerged. Always take precautions.

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