Water is necessary for our homes, but when something goes wrong, the effects can be disastrous. Residential water damage may be caused by anything from a leaking pipe to flooding during a storm. Whatever the reason, you must act quickly to mitigate damage and salvage your belongings. Here are a few tips for dealing with water damage in the home.
Stay Safe When Dealing with Residential Water Damage
Stop the Flow of Water
If a burst pipe or plumbing problem is the cause of the flooding, immediately stop the flow of water by shutting off the main valve. If the flooding is a result of a severe storm or another natural disaster, you will have to wait for the water to stop on its own. Consider contacting your emergency response hotline and know that the damage may be too severe for you to handle on your own.
When Dealing with Residential Water Damage, Shut Off the Power
When your home floods, cut off the power to the impacted areas as soon as possible. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination and you or a family member could experience an electric shock. If it’s a small leak from under a sink or a leaking toilet, it’s generally safe to leave the power on. However, if there’s significant water damage, make sure the electricity has been turned off.
Assess the Damage
As soon as you’re able, check throughout the home and make a note of all the areas that have been impacted by water. Take plenty of photographs as these may be necessary for your insurance company.
Keep Your Valuables Safe
If the water does not present an immediate threat, remove your belongings from the flooded area. Act quickly and move these items to a dry, secure location. The longer they are exposed to water, the less likely you’ll be able to salvage them.
Cleaning Up Residential Water Damage
Remove Standing Water
Begin the cleanup process by removing standing water. Use a pump or a shop vac if there isn’t much liquid. Wear protective gear including gloves and a mask for this job. Dump the water outside the home and use fans to help dry the area.
Once the water has receded, shovel mud and debris from your property. Remove any damaged carpeting, drywall, wallpaper, and furnishings. In the case of a severe flood, you may have to rebuild the entire space.
Inspect for Mold
Aside from the water damage, high moisture levels can cause mold and mildew. Mold growth will negatively affect indoor air quality in your home. Mold can begin to form in as little as 24-48 hours and will continue to spread unless it is removed and treated.
Begin drying the damp areas as soon as possible to prevent mold from developing. If the outside humidity is lower than the humidity indoors, open the windows. Use fans and a dehumidifier to get moisture under control.
Reduce the Likelihood of a Recurrence
Some issues are one-time events with little likelihood of recurrence. Make sure your plumbing is in good condition and make repairs at the first signs of a plumbing problem. If you live in a flood-prone location, use water-resistant building materials to limit the damage if flooding occurs again.