What to Do Immediately After Water Damage
Oh shoot! There’s water damage in your home. Perhaps it’s a busted pipe, a sewage backup, or an AC leak. Regardless of the cause, what matters is that you take immediate action in order to minimize losses. In this post, we’ll cover exactly what steps to take.
In a Hurry? Here’s a Quick Summary:
- Get everybody to safety
- Neutralize the moisture source
- Contact your insurance company
- Document everything
- Hire a water damage restoration company or…
- DIY – extract the water and start cleaning up
- DIY – dehumidify
- DIY – look for mold
Need more explanation. Sure, let’s get right into it!
Water Damage Checklist
Here’s each step explained in detail.
Get Everybody to Safety
Let’s start with the obvious. As soon as water damage appears on your property, especially if it’s contaminated and dirty, like sewage or flood water, make sure you, your family, and your pets are all out of reach of the water. Of course, in some cases, the water present will pose little to no danger, but in others, you definitely want everybody to stay away.
How do you know if the water is contaminated?
Besides the visible dirtiness and bad smell, or lack thereof, you can make a pretty accurate guess depending on the source of the water.
Water originating from supply line leaks, rain, and snow is typically not threatening.
However, that can’t be said for sewage backups, floodwater, and appliance leaks and overflows (like toilet overflows).
So, if there’s contaminated water, evacuate.
Neutralize the Moisture Source
The success of this step will also primarily depend on the water’s contamination levels. In many cases, the moisture source is pretty obvious – pipe leak, toilet overflow or backup, dishwasher leak, etc. – enabling many homeowners to stop the water by themselves.
However, you shouldn’t even attempt to stop health-hazardous water damage like sewage backups on your own.
Sewage can cause many diseases and terribly affect some people. We’d only think about recommending DIY sewage backup cleanup if there’s very little damage and you’re perfectly healthy and fit.
Otherwise, you should leave everything to a professional.
Contact Your Insurance Company
If you’ve been wondering whether water damage is covered by insurance or not, the answer is that yes, you can get coverage for many accidental cases, excluding external floods (for that, you need flood insurance).
So, as soon as you and everybody else present in the house or business are safe, contact your insurance company.
Dealing with insurance can be tricky a lot of times, and this is ideally where a professional restoration company will help. They should do much of the heavy lifting for you, but that doesn’t mean that you can completely delegate everything to them and relax. Quite the opposite.
Take out a camera and start recording everything. Explain the entire event on video and take a lot of photos. While your restoration company will also take photos, you should still be pretty active and gather as much proof as possible.
Your insurance company may try to avoid paying you, so make sure that you have a rock-solid pile of evidence that you can leverage in all meetings.
Hire a Water Damage Restoration Company
If you haven’t already, hire a water damage restoration company to handle all the dirty work for you: moisture source removal, insurance company hassle, and, of course, the restoration itself.
There may be a lot of water on your property, posing a real challenge for one person or even multiple people without adequate skills and equipment to deal with it.
Professional technicians will know exactly where to start and which steps to take for a successful restoration. This is why you should avoid unnecessary headaches and potential illnesses and just call our pros.
However, not all cases will require a professional. We get that. Sometimes there’s just a little bit of damage that can be cleaned up by people present on the property.
Here are some additional steps to take if you’re going the DIY route.
Extract the Water and Start the Cleanup
Once the water has been stopped from further spreading on your property, start extracting it from the affected rooms. Get the cleaning supplies, water, and bleach for the cleanup and disinfection.
Not only will bleach help kill the bacteria brought on by water damage, but it will also help neutralize bad odors. Learn more about using bleach in cleanups.
Start dehumidifying the area ASAP. Open windows and doors, and get the drying fans and dehumidifiers in.
One of the best ways to quickly remove moisture residues from wet walls, floors, and any wet items is with the help of drying fans. A drying fan works by moving the moist air out of the way so that dry air can replace it. The greater the circulation of air, the better.
When the drying fan has drained all of the moisture from the floors, ceilings, and drywall, the dehumidifier can be turned on.
Dehumidifiers are a must, especially if there’s been a good amount of water. They’re an effective solution that won’t damage your items.
However, keep in mind that older buildings can be affected by aggressive drying, so take it easy if that’s the case with your property.
Dehumidification might take a while, but it’s important that it gets started quickly after water damage so that mold growth is prevented. Bringing us to…
Look for Mold
Even if you think that you’ve cleaned everything up and that there’s nothing left to do, double-check to make sure there’s no mold.
Mold can start growing only 24 hours after water damage, so if you’ve not been as prompt, make sure to conduct an inspection. Also inspect for any moisture behind the visible surfaces, as water can often go beyond what’s visible, leading to damage that’s often overlooked and that will cause mold growth later on.
DIY route sounds like too much work? It’s because it is. Also, there’s a very high chance you will struggle with analyzing the success of your work and whether or not there’s water damage behind your walls. Sometimes your materials, like drywall, will need replacement because they’ve absorbed a lot of water.
If you need help with water damage restoration, call us! We’ve got your back with everything: water removal, dehumidification, disinfection, and material replacement assistance. Just pick up the phone and take that first step.
Call us, our professionals are on standby!
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