How to Handle a Water Damage Emergency

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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 storm water 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.

Author:Water Damage Advisor
Water Damage Advisor

The Water Damage Advisor content team is made up of multiple contributors, writers, and editors. We are your resource hub for anything related to water damage, mold and restoration needs that you may be challenged with facing.

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11 Responses

  1. I agree that it is important to contact your insurance company when dealing with water damage. It makes sense that doing this can help you get the services you need from someone that accepts your insurance. I can see how anyone looking into this would want to contact a professional to help as soon as they can in order to avoid greater damages to their home.

  2. All these tips are very helpful for everyone if they face any water damage emergency. We always need to hire professional in this condition and also take care our valuable things. We also need to contact with insurance company. Thank you so much for sharing these tips.

  3. Yes, 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.

  4. Water damage can be a pretty scary thing since it can spread quickly and cause mold to grow. I agree that you should work with professional restoration services of some kind who can help with the drying process. It’s important that the right steps are taken effectively to prevent further damages from spreading in your home.

  5. Emergency water damage definitely needs to be dealt with right away. The window of time for bacteria to start growing is only 24-48 hours, so it’s critical to get everything dry ASAP. Thanks for laying out the basics of how to handle this type of crisis.

  6. Matt, it makes sense that the source should be stopped before focusing on the water damage itself. Our basement has recently flooded which has made me very concerned for the hardwood flooring. I think that we better work with a restoration service before the damage gets to be extensive.

  7. Thanks for the tips on water damage. My neighbor had a flood recently, and I want to be prepared if I am ever in the same situation. Thanks for mentioning to be sure to her precious valuables out first. We will remember that.

  8. I am so glad you mention to make sure to work with professionals! My sister’s family home was recently hit with pretty major flooding, and a solid amount of damage was done to the lower levels. I’m going to have to let them know that professional restoration services will have the proper equipment to get their house back to livable condition quickly as you stated!

  9. The advice to not worry so much on flooring and rather focus on valuables was helpful. My mom’s home had a flooding issue, and we are doing our best to not get discouraged with the situation and save her possessions. After doing all we can, we will contact a flood restoration expert to help get her home back in order.

  10. A good friend of mine is dealing with some problems in her home. She has been looking for some help to get everything back in order and I want to help her figure out how to reverse the storm damage. I will let her know to work with a professional water damage service to get the best results.

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