If your plumbing system has failed and you are left with water damage, do you know how to handle the situation? Here are 15 easy steps to help you through the process before calling a licensed professional in the water damage restoration field.
1) Turn off the water at the point where the water damage has been caused, whether it was a broken appliance or a pipe. In some cases, it might be necessary to turn off the water at the main which is usually outside of the home or in the basement if you have one.
2) Call your insurance agent after discovering the water to ensure you have coverage for this loss. Even if these instances occur duing the night, most companies have a 24 hour emergency line available to meet emergency needs (removal of standing water). It is important to follow the instructions that the insurance agent gives you so that your claim doesn’t become voided.
3) Move any dry furniture, upholstery, or other valuables to safe areas of your home that weren’t affected by the water damage.
4) Remove the water with a wet dry vacuum if it isn’t dangerous to do so. Only proceed with this step if a professional restoration firm isn’t on their way or if your insurance company tells you that it’s okay. By removing the water quickly, you are helping avoid mold issues in the long run.
5) Cut away wet carpeting with a carpet knife and place it outside where mold won’t have the chance to grow or transfer to any other moist surfaces on your property.
6) Remove the items that are soaked with water and place them in a dry area, such as your garage, or a covered area outside. This will be easier when it comes to cleaning these items later or throwing them out. If any of your valuables were in boxes that have gotten wet, remove them immediately so that you can salvage them.
7) Get rid of any small or completely soaked items that cannot be salvaged after you have taken a complete home inventory and taken photographs of the damage. Later, it would be beneficial to retrieve receipts of the manufacturer’s warranties for the insurance process. Don’t get rid of expensive furnishings such as furniture, electronics, or antiques until your insurance company has warranted you to do so.
8) Remove any wet baseboard and kick plates by pulling them away from the wall with a crowbar.
9) Cut away at any wet wallboards or paneling, cutting at least 12 inches past the wet areas so that mold cannot have a chance to grow, but make sure not to cut through any wiring or piping within the walls.
10) Remove and discard wet ceiling materials.
11) Pull out and get rid of any wet insulation.
12) Sanitize all surface areas and flooring by wiping them down with an appropriate anti-bacterial cleaning solution and sponge.
13) Aim fans at any wet surfaces to help eliminate any moisture from your property. If the weather is mild and not muggy, you can speed the process up by opening the windows.
14) Clean the furniture and any personal items once you are authorized to do so by your insurance company. For any valuables or antiques, consult a professional on the proper way to clean or restore them.
15) Set up an appointment for home repairs once it is approved by your insurance company.
If you have undergone extensive water damage, it is always in your best bet to contact a certified professional in the field. They have the knowledge, experience, and proper equipment to rid your home of water and any lingering moisture.