I survived Sandy...But my house was flooded with salt water...Now what?

What can I do/ save?

Having been through this twice in the last thirty years I thought I’d write this Hub in the chance that the people who need to see it might actually get a chance to get online and see it or that other’s might see it and pass it along.

One of the first things you want to do, if you haven’t already done it, is take pictures of the damage before you start to clean up. 90% of your Flood Insurance adjusters are reasonable people who understand the need for people to feel they are “doing” something, but over the years working on claims representing the homeowners as a builder I have run across a few who are caricatures of the typical adjuster and it

s best to be prepared

Salt water flooding is “cleaner’ than the river flooding you see, from say, Katrina, where there was a lot of sewage mixed in with the flood water. That means if you get the wet drywall and insulation out, your studs and sheathing should be ok to dry on their own if the wave action did not actually displace your home.

If you get to your pictures while they are still wet you can frequently spread them out and let them air dry. They may curl, but they can be pressed flat later. If you let them dry together as a mass they will stick together and you will never get them apart. Particularly favorite books or diaries may benefit from freezing until you get a chance to pay attention to them when they thaw.

Good quality power tools like Milwaukee, or Porter-Cable that have been under salt water should be rinsed thoroughly with fresh water and allowed to dry thoroughly before you try to use them. If you leave the salt water in them they will corrode beyond use within a couple of weeks at most. I have seen good quality tools survive fresh water flooding by simply drying out, but if you try to use them too soon, they will short out and you still lose them, this is a game of patience.

Outboard motors that have been submerged in salt water again need to be thoroughly flushed with fresh, and then saturated with WD40, or if you can find an Outboard shop in business they have products which will help the drying process. Outboards routinely get dropped overboard and survive.

Lawnmowers and generators, weed whackers, leaf blowers, etc, are probably all toast, soggy toast at that. It might be worth a try to rinse the generator, but with cool weather, the likelihood of drying it out enough that a start did not short everything out is pretty slim.

Computers full of salt water are hopeless. Now is when you learn the value of having your stuff backed up off site if it is “really, really” important. If it is that important and your backup were in the same room as the computer (a mistake that all too many of us have made at least once :) there is a company called Drivesavers.com. They may be able to help.

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