Everyone experiences some wild weather once-in-a-while.  Hopefully, you’re able to ride it out in safety and your home and property doesn’t experience any damage. But after a weather event like Tropical Storm Irma, there may be some cleanup required. Here’s some tips to help you take care of the mess.

Outdoor Cleanup

DO NOT GO NEAR DOWNED POWER LINES.

If you notice downed power lines on or near your property, or anywhere, DO NOT APPROACH THEM. Call the electric company and report the lines. Stay away from the area until a qualified professional has dealt with the lines and deems the area safe.

Move leaves and small branches away from the house. Make a pile to bundle or bag, per your waste carrier’s specifications. Usually brown bags sold in home improvement stores are acceptable.

If you have larger branches or limbs down, you may want to cut them before moving them. Use extreme caution, especially when starting a chainsaw.  Here is how to safely start a chainsaw:

Decks and Patios

Once you have the ground debris cleared, sweep porches and decks and check for damage. If you let debris sit on wood decks for a long period of time, you may wind up with rot,  so make sure the deck gets swept during your initial cleanup. If you noticed damage to supporting beams, stay off the deck until those posts can be repaired.

Roof

As you clean your yard, look for shingles that may have been blown off the roof. If you find any, call a roofing professional to complete an assessment. Usually damage sustained during a storm is covered by home owner’s insurance. Don’t risk injury by climbing on to the roof; have licensed and insured professionals do that for you.

Windows

Check your windows and screens for damage.  Once you know the status of the windows from the outside, check the seals inside. If you notice water around the seals, dry the area thoroughly and apply new caulk.

Indoor Cleanup

Wet Floors

Use a wet/dry vac to remove as much water as possible. If area rugs or mats got wet, consider having them professionally cleaned, especially if you evacuated and returned a few days later.

If your wall-to-wall carpet was flooded, unfortunately, it cannot be cleaned. Remove the carpet and padding and install new flooring.

Furniture

Dry your furniture. Wooden furniture may take a few days to completely dry. If a dresser or other piece of furniture with drawers got wet, you may have to wait for swelling from the water to come down before you can open the drawers. Once you can, remove the drawers and let them dry separately. Do not dry furniture in direct sunlight.

Wipe down furniture with a mixture of mild soap and water. Rinse with clean water then buff with a dry cloth. Have upholstered furniture professionally cleaned.

Some furniture may require a polish after cleaning to regain their previous luster. If furniture was in standing water for an extended period of time, you may want to consider having a professional assess the piece to ensure that legs or other critical points haven’t been compromised.

Wash linens — including any clothing that may have gotten wet in the storm —  at least twice to make sure they are clean.

Walls

If you’ve had a broken window or other minor damage that wet your walls, have no fear! Wipe down the wall to remove dust or dirt and let it dry. Once dry, apply primer over visible water marks to make sure the stain doesn’t bleed through. (You don’t need to prime the whole wall, just the affected spots will do.) Once the primer is dry, you are good to repaint!

If you notice crumbling drywall or mold, call in professionals, especially if it is a reappearing watermark. Make sure you don’t have a persistent leak that needs to be addressed or mold hidden away in the walls.

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