The Complete Guide to Quickly and Effectively Dealing with Water Damage

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Water damage can have a devastating impact on residential properties, leading to expensive repairs and potentially hazardous health conditions. Water damage is caused by a variety of factors, including storms, plumbing leaks, floods, sewer backups, appliance malfunctions and more. Most commonly water enters a home through the roof due to heavy rain, through windows or doors due to strong winds, or through plumbing pipes due to a ruptured pipe or leaking valve. 

No matter the source of the water damage, it can cause serious damage in a short amount of time. Water can quickly seep into flooring and drywall and cause mold growth, which is hazardous to your health. It can also discolor carpets, cause furniture to warp, and lead to the failure of electrical systems. Furthermore, if water is not handled promptly and professionally, it can lead to permanent structural damage and further complications.  

In this blog post, we will provide tips on the steps to take if you ever experience water damage in your house-from shutting off the main water line to drying out areas and calling in the professionals. 

What to Do If You Have Water Damage in Your Home

Isolate the area with water damage 

It is essential to know the extent of your water damage so that everybody can be protected. To accurately determine the extent of the water damage, keep people and animals away from the area, as it could cause potential harm. Additionally, shut off the electricity in case water has come into contact with any wires. Moreover, immediately evacuate everyone present if gas, contaminated water, or electrical routes have been exposed to the water.  

Shut off the water source if possible 

If you are able to shut off the source of the water, it is important that you do so as quickly as possible to minimize damage. This can be done by shutting off the main water supply valve to your home, which is usually found near your water meter or at the street side of your house. If the water has come from a burst pipe or appliance, find and turn off that valve too. Doing this will help stop further flooding, which will reduce the extent of damage caused.  

Determine the type of water you’re dealing with 

Water is one of the most important natural resources in the world, and it comes in many different forms. There are three main categories of water: category 1, category 2, and category 3.  

Category 1 – this water is generally considered to be the cleanest type of water. It usually comes from springs, streams, rivers, and lakes that are relatively unpolluted. It is also sometimes referred to as “potable water” or “drinking water” since it can be safely consumed without any additional treatment. 

Category 2 – also known as gray water, this water originates from sources like agricultural runoff, industrial wastewater, and other sources such as plumbing overflow, sump pumps, dishwashers, etc. This type of water typically requires some sort of filtration system or additional treatment before it can be consumed safely. 

Category 3 – also known as black water, this water has the highest levels of pollutants and contaminants. It is generally found in flood waters, groundwater, industrial wastewater, sewage, and agricultural runoff. This type of water should not be consumed without extensive filtration or treatment processes to make it safe for human consumption.  

Contact a qualified restoration company 

When it comes to water damage, it is essential to contact a qualified water restoration company as soon as possible. These professionals are experienced in responding quickly and work efficiently to ensure that all affected areas are dried and treated as soon as possible. Working with a professional ensures that your property is thoroughly evaluated and that the best possible approach to repair and restoration is taken.  

Initiate the water removal process 

Taking on water mitigation yourself may save you some time and money, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on safety. If you’re tackling the job yourself, you must remember to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) before beginning.  

PPE needs to be sturdy enough to handle working around the elements of extreme temperature changes, solvent drips or spills, electrical currents, and mechanical dangers. Equipment like gloves, masks, coveralls, and hats are recommended to prevent injury from any environmental danger presented during residential water mitigation.  

In addition to having the ideal gear for the job, never overlook the importance of doing more than what is necessary to stay safe on the job site. Proper knowledge gained from professionals in terms of skillset can be invaluable in mitigating floodwater properly and securely. 

Remove excess water 

Working to remove excess water is an essential step in a successful cleanup. Buckets, wet vacuums, utility pumps, towels, and mops are all effective tools for water removal. If you don’t own a wet vacuum, it’s easy to rent one from any hardware supply store.  

Salvage what you can 

It is essential to take prompt action if you’ve experienced water damage to minimize any further destruction. Start by removing any furniture, objects, carpets, and flooring from the affected area. Once these pieces have been safely removed, divide them into two categories: items you can salvage with drying techniques, a thorough cleanse, or proper sterilization; and those that are beyond saving and need an unavoidable toss into the garbage. 

Remove wall decor 

If you notice water damage on the ceiling or walls, it’s important to clear them of any picture frames or decor. Ceiling tiles are especially vulnerable to water damage, so make sure to take those down as well. Removing these items will stop them from being affected by any moisture in the room and prevent any further damage from occurring. It’s also a good precautionary measure to take while restoration takes place. 

Remove drywall and baseboards 

Removing any exposed wet drywall and baseboards is essential in limiting a water damage disaster. This can be an arduous task, even if the water spill is relatively small. The unfortunate truth is that the drywall usually should not be salvaged as it quickly begins to degrade when wet, making cleaning and sanitizing practically impossible. However, depending on the type of baseboards installed, you may very well be able to salvage them by drying, cleaning, and sanitizing thoroughly. But keep in mind that normally a degree of discoloration will occur and leave visible evidence of the incident. 

Begin drying out the affected area 

When it is safe to restore power to your home, you may start drying it out in the following ways: fan(s), applying heat, and opting to open windows (noting that outside humidity levels should be factored into this decision). A dehumidifier can also bring down the levels of moisture in particularly wet and uncomfortable spaces.  

However, if there is concern that water may have potentially interfered with electric networking, it’s best to be cautious: an electrician or professional water damage specialist should look things through before turning on the electricity. 

Search for evidence of mold growth 

As you go about drying out the water damage in your home, it’s important to be aware of mold growth. Look out for clear telltale signs like black or brown spots. If you catch an unpleasant musty smell coming from somewhere in the home, take precautions—investigating further will help you uncover brown water damage marks on walls or ceilings that may have been gradually increased from the wet conditions. Keep your eyes peeled and nose ready to detect possible mold growth. 

Decide if you want to file an insurance claim 

Not sure whether you should file a claim through your homeowner’s insurance policy? Before making a decision, closely evaluate the damages to ensure that filing an insurance claim makes sense. If you do choose to proceed and file a claim with your insurer, you must document and photograph the damage before things are cleaned up. This way, your insurer can have a full account of the events leading up to and during the process of repair. 

One in 50 insured homes has a water damage or freezing claim each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Water damage, including flooding and severe weather, can cause structural damage to homes, as well as the destruction of personal belongings and furniture. It commonly takes place due to bursting pipes, overflowing sinks and toilets, roof leaks, appliance malfunctions, and more. In addition to property damage, water damage can also lead to health risks such as mold contamination, which can cause serious respiratory problems. Proper preparation before a potential water disaster is key to minimizing the risk of residential water damage and its associated costs.  

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