Water damage is one of the most serious emergencies that can happen to your home. Uncontrolled water has the potential to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your structure and contents.
Being prepared to deal with a water damage emergency is about knowing what to do when it happens and reacting fast to stop incoming water, protect people, pets and possessions, then begin the nasty task of cleaning up the mess.
Here are the 5 main steps for dealing with a water damage emergency.
Step 1: Stop the Source of Water Ingress
The biggest cause of water damage emergencies is a burst hot water tank or pressurized water line. Knowing where your shutoffs are located is critical for immediately stopping the water flow and getting control before the damage worsens.
Flooding often occurs from exterior storm water. Nature is impossible to stop but stormwater can be diverted away from your house by blocking or damming the water run and by ditching. The most dangerous water floods come from backed-up sewer pipes. This is best left for a professional to stop.
Step 2: Think Safety
Shut off all electrical sources in the damaged area by snapping the circuit breakers or unplugging devices. Water is an excellent electrical conductor and a flooded home could easily deliver a serious shock. Make sure all people are safely away from standing water especially curious children. Pets can also be at risk and need to be controlled in other areas.
Step 3: Protect Your Possessions
Remove or raise furniture, boxes and other valuables from the flood water. Water-soaked articles quickly begin to get moldy which is the beginning of rot. Get your highest risk valuables out to safety where they can start drying in warm, moving air. Don’t worry about carpeting or other flooring as well as baseboards or door mouldings. Protect your precious valuables first. Other things can be replaced.
Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Company
The next practical step is to contact your insurance company and find out how they’ll approach the water removal and flood restoration. Insurance companies have professionals who specialize in water damage restoration that they can call on for emergencies and pay them as part of your coverage. Attempting your own water removal and restoration may compromise your policy and leave you with unnecessary expenses.
Step 5: Work With the Professionals
Work with a water damage restoration professional to remove flood water and begin the drying process. Restoration professionals have the proper industrial equipment like pumps, air movers and dehumidifiers to extract flood water and related humidity. They also have moisture detectors, hygrometers and remote cameras to find trapped residual water that you, as a homeowner, can’t locate. Water that remains behind walls and in tight places will cause you grief for years to come.
Remember, uncontrolled water can cause thousands of dollars in damages to your structure and contents if not professionally dealt with. Taking these 5 steps can prevent that grief.