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What to Do do Save Your Photographs from a Flooded Basement

Two years ago, we published a blog post about saving photographs from a basement flood and water damage.  Now, in light of the recent 2021 heavy rains and subsequent floods in metro Detroit, is the perfect time to re-vamp the post and re-share some of those same tips:

What to Do to Save your Photographs from a Flooded Basement

Basement floods can cause physical damage to your home as well as have an impact on your emotional well-being.  Large appliances such as furnaces and water heaters may need to be replaced, furniture may have to be tossed out, and even flooring might be ripped up.  While all of these problems are serious, they can be fixed.  What is sometimes harder to deal with, is the loss of memories that are often stored in the basement.  We are talking baby clothes, old school projects, grandparents’ memorabilia, and of course–photographs.

Your kids may have a hard time believing that hard copies of pictures used to exist without also being saved to hard drive or Instagram camera roll.  But that is just what makes these pictures so precious–they cannot be replaced.

in 2019, photographer Liz Roll wrote an article for The Weather Channel describing her process of salvaging photographs from her brother’s flooded basement.

Her tips include:

  1. Get pictures and albums out of the water as soon as possible.  “Albums can be propped up to start the drying process.”
  2. Start working on the albums before tackling boxes of loose photographs.  Begin with the types of albums with peel-off pages and then move on to the albums with slots for each photo.  You want to do albums first because the longer the plastic sits on the pictures after being wet, the more it will damage the pictures.
  3.  While working on the albums, you can leave loose stuck-together pictures soaking in a tub of water for 1-2 days.  This will help to prevent them from sticking together even more.
  4.  Dry photos outside in the sun, and don’t hesitate to use to scissors and cut off damaged areas in order to save other parts of a picture.

Please check out the full article and read all of Roll’s tips for salvaging photos before getting to work on your own basement.

Also, remember to never re-light a pilot light that has gone out during a flood prior to have a professional come and inspect it.  For more information about getting your basement back to normal after a flood, contact us at FLAME Heating, Cooling, Plumbing, and Electrical!

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