Property Damage - What to Do Next?

Houston City Councilman Stephen C. Costello gives advice to residents

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/28/2015, 1:51 p.m.
If you suffered property damage as a result of Monday night's flooding, I urge you to report the damage by ...
Steve Costello

Dear Friends,

If you suffered property damage as a result of Monday night's flooding, I urge you to report the damage by notifying Houston 311. This will help the City of Houston's Department of Neighborhoods and Office of Emergency Management prepare a formal assessment of the total number of affected structures, which is required for the City and State to qualify for federal recovery assistance. Residents may call Houston 311, download the Houston 311 app on their mobile phones or visit to submit a flooding report. If you need further assistance, please call my office at 832-393-3014.

I've included below some important information for those who have sustained damage.

It is an honor to serve you on City Council. Stay safe.


Stephen C. Costello

Next Steps

If your car was towed, find where it was taken by visiting or call 713-308-8580.

If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.

Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.

Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.

Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.

Cleaning and Sanitizing to Prevent Mold Damage and Flood Related Illness

Turn off main power if wiring is wet or moldy. Have electrician check the house's electrical system before turning power on again.

Open the house to fresh air when the humidity is lower outside than inside.

Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture unless mold has already started to grow (fans may spread existing mold).

Use the HVAC system only if the ducts have not been inundated (any forced air central heating ducts that have come in contact with water or mold should be professionally checked).

Remove all wet items such as furniture, rugs, bedding, toys, carpeting, ceiling tiles, drywall and wood by-products. If wallboard is soaked, remove to a foot (12") above the water mark and discard. Drain walls by removing baseboard and drilling holes near floor. Dry panel-type wall by pulling the bottom edge out from studs. Check interior of the wall for hidden mold.

Remove all wet insulation. Discard all but rigid insulation, which can be reinstalled after disinfecting and drying.

Discard soaked or moldy carpeting. Clean all other items first with soap and warm clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with one cup household liquid bleach per every 5 gallons of water. Be sure to wear boots and gloves when cleaning.

Discard all possibly contaminated food products - anything not in a water tight container.

Water Testing Recommended for Private Water Wells

Owners of private water wells possibly contaminated by storm water runoff may submit water samples for testing to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services' laboratory. Owners can take water samples to the laboratory at 2250 Holcombe Blvd. in the Texas Medical Center. For more information, call 832-393-3939.