Water damage can appear from different sources: natural disasters like floods and heavy rains, leaking pipes, or burst sewer lines. What all these causes have in common is that water damage restoration must be done as quickly as possible to prevent numerous further issues.
Finding a contractor to refurbish the affected parts of your home in the first 24 hours is vital. There is a whole range of predicaments that come as a side effect of water damage. If you are insured against this kind of accident, this is the moment to call your insurance company.
To minimize damage, save what you can, and protect your family from a host of troubles following the event. Learn how to act when the water damage threatens your home. With the help of a few simple but important tips, you will get a good grasp of what awaits you.
Determine the entry points and all damaged locations
Parts of your home that are most sensitive and require immediate water damage restoration are floor covers like carpets, insulation, porous materials like plaster and drywall, wood and framing, electrical appliances, pipes, and especially HVAC and electrical installations.
Oftentimes, the roof structure is hit by natural disasters allowing water to find its way through the walls. Before you can renovate and utilize your roof to the fullest extent, you should take care of the damaged part. When inspecting your home, specialists will look for any additional leaking from the sewer, greywater, and clean water pipes.
Hence, to solve any problem, you need to deal with its source. And to deal with the consequences of water damage, you need to determine the exact location(s) where unwanted water came from and its amount. Unless your home was affected by a flood or there is apparent leaking from the pipes, you will have to inspect it thoroughly first.
Take care of electrical installations
The more dissolved substances in water, the better an electrical conductor it is. Water easily finds its way through walls making electrical installations dangerous to use. Do not turn on electrical appliances before you repair the installations. Unplug them all carefully. Use battery-powered lighting to move around the home instead.
To allow your chosen contractor better access to the water-damaged areas, you should put away your furniture, wall art, and floor coverings. The best way to keep your belongings safe during home restoration is to keep them away. Ideally, you will rent a nearby storage unit. Clean, dry, and wrap your furniture and store it short-term. Be mindful to stack your belongings wisely so as not to damage them while in storage. It would beat the purpose of renting a unit.
Dehumidify your home and dispose of the sodden items
Depending on the amount of water in your home, you may opt for several different dehumidifying solutions or a combination thereof. If you’re affected by a flood, you will first need to use the submersible pump that sucks out water out of your home. The so-called sump pump is helpful if the water level in your home is several inches deep.
Otherwise, you can dry out water with the help of portable dehumidifiers of various sizes, wet/dry shop vacuum, and natural or mechanical airing. Make sure you do not plug any electrical appliances within your home unless your electrical installations are repaired. Also, do not use HVAC until you made sure your home is dry and mold-free.
Water damage restoration implies that you also try to save your furniture and other sodden belongings. Wet/dry vacs are a great help when it comes to carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. If you don’t have the appliance, look for an expert carpet cleaning services. Desiccants will absorb moisture from smaller items as long as you place them in water-proof airtight containers. Change the bags with desiccant as soon as you notice they are saturated.
Deal with the mold
Mold grows and spreads quickly in the presence of water (and humidity in general). However, it is not unpopular only due to its appearance. Certain strains of mold are toxic and cause severe respiratory issues and skin conditions. Don’t deal with mold offhandedly. It is not enough to simply paint over it.
Before you can put a fresh coat of paint on your walls and decorate your home, you need to make sure mold is eradicated. Best results are achieved if you peel the layer of wall paint infested by mold and dispose of it, as soon as you notice the first dark spots of fungus. If the mold has spread already, it may have also infested the deeper layers in your walls, floors, or ceilings. Do not hesitate to arrange for a professional mold removal service.
Deep clean and sanitize your home
Before you bring your furniture back from storage, thoroughly clean your home, and disinfect it. Mold is, unfortunately, not your only problem. In the majority of situations, water that damaged the home was not clean and contains various strains of bacteria that can seriously damage your health. If you are uncertain which chemicals (aside bleach) you should use to properly disinfect your home, talk to the licensed professional cleaners in your area, or ask for their assistance.
A few final notes
Whether you plan to continue living in your current home or sell it in the near future, you should ensure it is structurally sound and does not pose any health risks. For those who plan to sell their homes: take steps to increase the value of your home, and make renovations to ensure a good ROI.
In this case, it is advisable to invite a home inspection team and have your house professionally assessed. If they locate any structural or electrical issues caused by water damage, you should not waste any more time to repair it. The potential buyer will most certainly require a home inspection before they commit. If you have ignored water damage restoration, you can expect the buyer to step away from the deal or ask you to drastically reduce the selling price.