Water intrusion can be devastating to your home. Not only does it cause structural damage, but it also poses significant health and safety risks when it is not properly addressed. Here are some ways to prevent and repair residential water damage.
Clean Up After Flooding
If your home has flooded due to a burst pipe or a severe rain event, take the proper steps to dry and clean the area to prevent mold and further damage.
Begin by making sure the leak has been fixed and water is no longer flowing. If you don’t know where the water is coming from or where your main shut off valve is, contact a professional for immediate assistance. If you have a significant leak, shut off your electricity. Once you’ve stopped the water, document the damage, take photos for your insurance company, and move valuables to safety.
Standing water from a flood needs to be pumped out as soon as possible. The longer water sits, the more damage it will cause. Get a water pump and place it in the lowest part of the floor. If you often deal with flooding, install a sump pump to remove standing water from a crawlspace or basement. Use a wet/dry shop vac to remove a small amount of water. Be sure to wear proper protective gear and keep pets and children away from standing water since it could be contaminated.
Once you’ve removed all of the water, clean up any debris that was washed in with the flooding. Remove any belongings that may be salvageable so they can dry. Allow appliances and electronics to dry completely before you attempt to turn them on.
Combating Mold from Residential Water Damage
Mold is easy to spot when there is visible growth, but it also thrives in areas like crawlspaces, between walls, beneath flooring, and in air ducts where you can not see it. If you notice a musty smell in your home, you likely have mold and should take steps to eliminate it.
When water damage occurs, it does not take mold long to form. It can start showing up as quickly as 1 to 2 days after your home is exposed to moisture. After a flood, use fans and dehumidifiers to dry the area thoroughly. If the space stays wet, there’s a much higher chance that mold will form.
Open windows, remove any wet items, and throw out carpet and fabrics that cannot be laundered. If water has soaked through your walls, they will need to be taken down and replaced. Remove damaged insulation, dry the area, and install new drywall.
When everything is completely dry, disinfect hard surfaces and wash fabrics to stop mold growth. If you begin to experience symptoms of mold exposure, such as congestion, breathing difficulties, a cough, rash, or headache, stop cleaning and consult with a professional. This may mean that you have a mold problem you can no longer handle on your own.
Take Steps to Prevent Future Residential Water Damage
If you’ve experienced the headache of residential water damage, you know how stressful and time-consuming clean-up can be. Take steps to prevent future damage by replacing materials in your home with water-resistant ones, regularly checking for cracks that could cause leaks, fixing plumbing issues promptly, and making sure all drainage pipes are working.
Residential water damage can be costly. Once you’ve removed the water, documented the damage, and eliminated any immediate safety concerns, be sure to contact your insurance agent and file a claim.