How to Cope with Residential Water Damage

How to Cope with Residential Water Damage

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The holiday season is upon us and if there is one “gift” you don’t want this year, it’s residential water damage. From floods to leaky faucets, water damage is the gift that keeps on giving — especially if the property damage is not handled quickly and efficiently. Here are a few important steps to take as soon as you discover water in a place it shouldn’t be.

Shut off the water: If the flood damage has been caused by a burst pipe or a water heater failure, stop the flow of water immediately by shutting off the main water line for your home. If you don’t know where the water is coming from, call an expert for help.

Turn off the power: Water mixed with electricity can be deadly. To be safe, shut off the electricity and gas from the main source if your home is flooded. If you have to stand in water to do this, call an electrician. Never handle electrical appliances unless you are properly insulated.

Document the damage: Before you begin your water cleanup effort, make sure to document the flood damage for your insurance company. Take pictures, videos and provide any other information that will help them accurately assess the damage.

Remove important possessions: Protect heirlooms, jewelry, artwork, important papers, money and photographs, if possible, by removing them from the flooded area.

Extract the water: Water continues to cause damage the longer it stands. Start your water extraction efforts as soon as it is safely possible. If the flood is from natural causes, wait until the waters have receded below your home before you begin to pump out standing water. Always wear proper protective gear, such as rubber boots, gloves, and a mask or respirator. Because standing water is often contaminated, children and pets should be kept away.

If you are handling the water removal yourself, place the pump at the lowest spot of the flooded floor. You can use a wet-dry shop vacuum to remove the water if the water isn’t too deep. Shop vacs usually hold 4-5 gallons, so it might need to be emptied frequently.

Clean up flood debris: Flood water can leave behind nails, mud and other materials. Because the mud left behind can be toxic, you need to remove as much of it as possible, and then clean the area. Check for residual flood mud in air ducts, as it will be hazardous when it dries. Also, you will need to be on the lookout for snakes and rodents, who might have sought shelter in your home after the flood.

Air dry all appliances before use:  Allow all of the affected appliances and outlets enough time to completely dry before turning them on or trying to use them.  If you are not sure how long this drying process should last, check with the manufacturer.

Find the mold: Within 24-48 hours of exposure to moisture, mold and mildew begin to develop. Left unchecked, mold quickly grows and spreads. You might be able to see some of it, but mold can also grow in places you can’t easily see, such as air ducts, crawlspaces, under carpets, and in between walls. If you detect a noticeable musty earth odor, you are probably dealing with hidden mold growth. It’s important to act quickly to have the moisture completely removed and to exterminate the mold and mildew. Consider hiring a mold remediation professional, especially if there is a significant amount of mold growth. Mold is hazardous when being cleaned, because disturbing the mold causes it to release spores. If you opt to clean the mold yourself, be sure that the area you are cleaning is well-ventilated and that you wear gloves, a mask or respirator, and eye protection.

Dry out the flooded area: Once you have extracted all the standing water and cleaned the debris, you need to get the flooded area completely dry as rapidly as possible. If the outside humidity is lower than the inside, you can open the windows and use fans to circulate air. If you have noticed mold growth, do not use fans as they can spread the spores to other areas of your home. Newer technology used by professional flood repair services can speed up the drying process tremendously. Remove everything that is wet from the area, including toys, furniture, insulation, drywall and carpets. If the flood occurred in a place where food is stored, you’ll need to get rid of any food product that was not in a watertight container, as it will be contaminated. If carpet is moldy, it will also need to be discarded. It is nearly impossible to remove mold from carpet fibers.

Water damage restoration, when done quickly ad properly, can salvage much of your property and possessions, saving you time, money and headaches. Environmental Consulting Group is a locally owned and operated business that is certified in expert water removal, flood repair and mold remediation. We use the latest technology to dry your home and eliminate mold more quickly than anyone else. If you are faced with a flood, contact us today.