The heavy rains that have battered parts of KwaZulu-Natal since yesterday morning, resulting in further flooding, and infrastructure and property damage, have left many homeowners mopping up water in parts of their homes.
And for those struggling to remove excess, standing water in hard-to-reach places like basements and bedrooms, Johan Kruger, Husqvarna South Africa’s national sales manager, says these are the six steps to take:
Step 1: Be safe
The first thing to do is turn off – and disconnect if possible – electricity points that are affected before you go anywhere near the water. The risk of electrocution is real.
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Step 2: Be prepared
Ensure that you put on protective gear like gumboots and rubber gloves if possible.
Step 3: Evidence for insurance purposes
Take a few photographs as these may be required by insurance. Document the source of the flooding, such as where the water came in, as well as what furnishings or parts of the room were affected.
Step 4: Priority furniture removal
Remove the loose furniture and wooden items first. Most wood, but particularly reconstituted wood products – like chipboard or laminated wood – swell when they come into contact with water. Place these in a dry spot.
Step 5: Draining the water
If the water has not been able to drain out of the affected spaces, it should be removed as quickly as possible. Water pumps are perfect for this and are affordable and easy to use. In fact, the entry-level water pump will remove up to 12 000 litres per hour, while bigger units can obviously take on bigger volumes and distances. If you have no use for a water pump other than to pump out the excess water, consider hiring one.
Using the pump is as simple as putting the inlet pipe in the water and the outlet pipe where you want the water to go. Remember to prime the pump by opening the small cap on top of the pump housing and pouring water into it. Make sure there’s fuel in the tank, although they are all fuel-efficient, and start.
Once the water is out, the cleaning can start. If a lot of debris and soil came in with the water, this will be a manual process. If flooring, like carpets, has to be removed anyway, consider loosening them around the edges and rolling the dirt up in them; thereby removing the dirt and damaged flooring simultaneously. Remember to keep taking photographs in case your insurer asks for evidence. Consider washing the walls and floors with a disinfectant to combat any nasties that could have come in with the water.
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Step 6: Drying up
To dry the floors and walls you can use heaters, fans or even a leaf blower.
“We cannot fight against nature, but we can always fight against the circumstances we are surrounded with,” Kruger says.