Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, tropical storm or storm surge often means coping with flooded roads, homes and communities. If your home has flooded after a storm, starting the recovery and rebuilding process can seem overwhelming. Dealing with your insurance company, removing all the flooring, drywall and sheetrock, deciding what to repair and what to replace – the entire process can be a daunting and emotional one.
Taking proper care of your flooded home and its contents is important to salvaging as much as you can, but staying safe is just as vital. Here are tips on how to care for your home’s gas systems after a flood.
1. Ensure Your Home is Safe Before Entering
If your home flooded during a storm or hurricane, the desire to assess the damage and salvage as much as you are able to can be strong. However, it’s imperative to wait until your home has been declared safe before entering. An electrician, gas contractor, utility worker or firefighter can determine when it’s safe to reenter your home and begin the task of cleaning up.
2. Do NOT Turn on Your Home’s Gas Supply
Even if your home is no longer submerged by floodwaters, your gas pipes could still be filled with water. It’s important to have a licensed gas contractor check your pipework before turning on your home’s gas supply. If your gas installation pipework has in fact flooded, the water will need to be drained and your appliances will need to be checked again to ensure they are safe for use.
3. Do NOT Relight Flooded Gas Appliances
If any of your home’s installed gas appliances have been exposed to floodwaters, never attempt to relight them by yourself. Trying to relight any of your flooded gas appliances (water heaters, furnaces, boilers, stoves, etc.) can result in a fire, explosion or carbon monoxide hazard. A licensed gas contractor must assess the damage and determine if they are safe to relight.
4. Use Gas Pumps and Generators with Care
If there is still standing water in your home (but your home has been deemed safe to enter), you may want to clear out the floodwater in order to assess the damage and prevent any more. Stay vigilant when using any portable engines indoors, as there is high risk for carbon monoxide poising. Make sure you use your water pumps and generators in well-ventilated areas and keep a carbon monoxide detector nearby to limit prolonged exposure.
5. Keep Debris Away From Your Gas Meter
As you clean up your flooded home, odds are you’ll have a mountain of debris to put out for trash collection. Avoid piling debris for pickup close to your gas meter, as the mechanized equipment used to pick up heavy items could cause it severe damage. In some cases, this could even result in the gas meter being pulled out, causing a potentially hazardous situation. If this does happen, it’s imperative that you call your utility company immediately.
Your home’s gas systems and appliances should always be handled with care and caution, and should be inspected by a licensed gas contractor. Take that extra step to ensure your home and family’s safety during the post-flood recovery process.