How to Deal With Water Damage in Your Home
Water can cause damage. And water damage can be minor, major, or catastrophic. It can ruin your home’s structure; your furniture and electronics; and worse, your personal property. They key is to act quickly and to minimize damage - and that all depends on the volume of water and the time that the water has been sitting around. What’s most important to realize is that any water damage is serious – it demands a comprehensive and appropriate cleanup.
Where a basement (or lower level) has even one inch of floodwater, the potential for damage is huge. And beyond the physical harms, water damage can contribute to mold growth and compromise indoor air quality. The key, again, is to act quickly and judiciously - do what you can on your own, and with some help, but don’t hesitate to call in some professional help. The experts have the tools and expertise to handle water damage and to set the stage for cleanup.
Remove and eliminate everything
Where applicable, electricity should be turned off, electronics unplugged, and anything that is movable should be removed. Where water has risen above electrical receptacles, taken extra caution. Pull up the carpeting, the wall-to-wall broadloom, and any under-padding. While some things can be saved, the main focus in avoiding water damage is to remove everything.
Attempt to get rid of all the water
Without power, the manual approach will have to do – it means buckets and mops and towels. Where possible, the water can go down the drain, or worst case, outside. Using an industrial wet-dry vacuum is a good move, although electrical issues can be a concern. In some cases, renting a pump is a good option – anything to get rid of the water and prevent water damage.
Totally drying out flooded areas
When the bulk of water is removed, there are special fans that can help dry out a flooded area. A dehumidifier should also be employed, although this is quite a slow process. Windows and doors should be opened to allow for faster drying and better air circulation. Where drywall has been saturated, cut it all away generously, so that no water damage is discernable.
Continue to clean and disinfect
Once a flooded area has properly dried out, and anything suffering water damage has been eliminated, it’s time to clean and disinfect. Cleaning products and disinfectants will likely get rid of various bacteria and some initial accumulation of mold. Where water damage has been particularly severe, it may be time to contact a professional with sophisticated equipment.
Prevent mold from developing
Preventing mold from developing is probably the most important thing after water damage. And doing it right will pay off in the long run. There are some excellent retail products that provide excellent results (some non-toxic), but nothing beats having water damage handled professionally. Yes, there is cost to consider, but with a good contractor, results are assured.
In the end, the ideal solution may be to handle the immediacy of the water damage on your own, and then rely on a professional firm to expedite the final cleanup and remediation.