Damage to your home can be an extremely overwhelming situation for any homeowner. Knowing what to do to properly handle the situation can also be very difficult. Water damages are one of the most common homeowner's claims, so it's a good idea to keep a few common tips in the back of your mind if you find yourself with unwanted water in your home.
The first thing you should do in the event of water damage is locate the source of the water and ensure that the flow of water has been stopped. Cleanup can't happen if water is still actively pouring into the home. After the water has been stopped, it's a good idea to cut the power to the home if there is any standing water. Electricity and water can make a dangerous combination. If either of these tasks puts you at risk, wait for a professional. Finally, as long as it's safe, take as many pictures as possible before starting any potential DIY cleanup. You'll want to start cleaning immediately if possible, but you'll also want your insurance company to see the damage's initial extent before any cleaning occurs. Once pictures have been taken and the area has been deemed safe, remove as much standing water as possible and set fans to begin the drying process.
Consider Volume and Source
If you're thinking about doing the cleanup on your own, you'll want to consider the volume and the water source. A tiny patch of clean water is usually something that can be handled in-house, but a basement flooded with sewage needs to be handled by a professional. It's important to remember, though, that even small amounts of water can hide in cracks and crevices and within porous materials creating the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew if not dried completely. Regarding the water source, if the water is grey or black, it should never be handled on your own. These waters contain contaminants that need to be cleaned appropriately to ensure the safety of the home and everyone in it.
If you've determined that the issue is beyond the scope of your ability to handle it, it's time to contact your insurance company. You'll want to find out what kind of coverage you have for the loss and what your deductible is. If you decide to file a claim, you'll be assigned an adjuster to handle it. Often your insurance company will put you in touch with a preferred restoration vendor, but sometimes they'll advise you to find one on your own.
Contact Restoration Service
A restoration professional can work directly with your insurance company and you to ensure the job is done correctly. A project manager or technician will assess the damage and help determine the most appropriate course of action. Standing water will be extracted, and drying equipment will be set right away so the damage doesn't worsen. Once everything is dry, unsalvageable materials will be removed, and everything else will be cleaned and sanitized to prepare for reconstruction.
Five Things Not to Do After a Water Damage
- Safety First! Do not enter areas that pose a threat to your health due to electricity or contaminated water.
- Do not use a household vacuum to suck up the water. These are not created to work with water and cause a risk of electrical shock and damage to the vacuum.
- Avoid walking on wet surfaces as much as possible. Walking through wet areas runs the risk of spreading possible contaminants through the rest of the property.
- If water has made its way into the HVAC system, do not activate the system. This can also spread any possible contamination.
- Do not stay in the home if there is structural damage or extensive black water damage.