Where were you for the Brisbane floods? No doubt you have vivid memories of the Brisbane River breaking its banks in January 2011. While that was a significant once in a generation flooding event, Australia is known for its flooding rains. Even if you’re fortunate enough to live outside of major rainwater catchment areas and flood zones, plumbing mishaps can be a risk to any home. Along with fire, severe water damage is one of the biggest fears of any homeowner. It is destructive and potentially catastrophic for a building, leading to major repairs or even demolition.
So what are the effects severe water damage has on our home?
Black Water Contamination
Water can be divided into three categories –
- Clean water – this will usually come directly from rain damage or a broken water pipe in the home.
- Grey water – this is water that has been used such as from washing machines, dishwashers or non-toxic wastewater from sinks and showers. It is not safe to drink but does not contain toxic elements.
- Black water – this is water that is toxic and comes from sewerage or widespread area flooding.
For any black water contamination, you need to call in professionals to handle the clean-up. Exposing yourself to toxic wastewater is very hazardous and could lead to poisoning from harmful bacteria, chemicals and toxins. If you have any doubts about the origin or composition of your flood water than it is best to call in a professional to assess the situation.
Mould And Other Health Hazards
Mould can lead to health issues if not handled appropriately. If its growth remains unchecked its spores can cause illness as well as lung and sinus infections in humans and pets. Once water has presented itself in ceilings or walls, moisture can become trapped in drywall and insulation, as well as wood framing and porous brickwork.
This moisture creates a breeding ground for mould that, once present, can be very difficult to treat and remove. Mould can begin to grow within 48 hours of moisture exposure and may start to grow out of sight.
Drying out the flood-damaged area as soon as practicable is very important. Moisture may also attract insects such as spiders, mosquitos, fleas, flies and others posing a risk to inhabitants.
Water is known as “the universal solvent” as it is capable of dissolving more substances than any other known liquid. Once flooding has occurred, anything exposed to the floodwater may have begun break down. Flooding can lead to significant ground movement and may degrade the buildings footings and slab. Wind and heavy rain may also have affected structural components including load-bearing walls and roofs.
Damage to ceilings, drywall, insulation, framing and cladding (including wood, brick, stone, etc) is serious and needs to be assessed after flooding. Pockets of water can sit within internal structures for long periods after a flooding event and will lead to rot and other irreparable damage. Keep an eye out for changes to surfaces in your home as initial signs of water damage may be subtle. For example, significant damage to ceilings from rain water leaks or plumbing issues may initially show as mild discolouration or paint blistering.
Electrical Wiring & Gas Line Damage
The most immediate danger after a flooding event is electrocution and leaking gas lines. Ensure electricity and gas are turned off during clean-up efforts to prevent electrical shocks and gas explosions. If in doubt remove everyone from the area and call in an electrician and gasfitter to ensure the area is safe.
For electrical items, the most damage will occur to floor mounted electrical appliances such as hot water heaters, washers, dryers, dishwashers, ovens and any low-set electrical outlets that are below the flood line.
Gas leaks can occur if appliances, walls or foundations shift leading to damaged gas lines. You may be fortunate enough to see bubbles rising from a broken gas line from below the flood waters. Otherwise be vigilant of the smell of gas. If possible, ensure the gas main is shut off prior to the flood event, otherwise ensure it is switched off prior to entering the property on your return.
Need a Plumbing Fix? Contact S&J Plumbing and Gasfitting Today!
Have you had a water pipe break or have your gas or sewer lines been affected by flooding? At S&J Plumbing and Gasfitting, we are experienced in all plumbing and gas repairs related to flooding and water damage.
We have helped numerous clients with various catastrophic situations and have extensive experience working in flood-damaged environments. Get in touch with us today on 1300 600 508 to learn more about how we can help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.