The flood water has receded and life is starting to get back to normal, but that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down when it comes to recovering and rebuilding. Here are some things to look out for:

• Contractors – When rebuilding your house, get at least two estimates for the work. After a big storm, lots of contractors come to areas affected to make a quick buck, then leave town again. Choosing local companies who have a history of working in The Woodlands area are usually a safe bet. If there are any problems after the work is completed, you want to be able to get in touch with them and have the same company make any repairs.

• Mold – The biggest issue after a flood is mold in your house. It can begin to grow in less than 24 hours after the water goes down and if not removed completely, can regrow at any time. After you remove everything that got wet, and everything at least eight inches above that, allow ample drying time. Use cleaning products that will kill mold, such as one quarter cup bleach mixed with one gallon clean water. Clean everything, including the wood beams and bricks, floors and upper wall surfaces. Then, set your air conditioner to about 66 degrees and use as many fans as possible to get things dry. An industrial dehumidifier can help if things aren’t drying fast enough.

• Flood cars – If you lost your vehicle in the flood and need to buy a new one, use extra caution if purchasing a pre-owned car or truck. Flood cars are bought at auction and cleaned up nicely, then put back on the market. If done well, the average buyer won’t even be able to tell that the car was previously flooded. However, after several months or even years, the damage will appear in the form of problems with the electrical systems, rust, or other mechanical issues. Obtain a CarFax report or have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy. Look under the carpeting, especially in the trunk, and check to see if anything smells like mildew. Look under the hood and underneath the car, paying close attention to screws – they are one of the first areas that will rust.

Recovering Although the recovery process can be exhausting, staying vigilant now will save you time and money down the road, not to mention having peace of mind.