Majority of homeowners have to do with water damage at some point. This is why it’s important to know exactly what to do when this happens. Statistics have shown that about 40% of homeowners have water damage in their home. In addition, water damage is one of the most common claims filed against their homeowner’s insurance. This piece would provide tips that would help you limit further damage that could be caused by water, and also ways to dry, clean up and sanitize your properties and house structures after water damage.
Some Steps You Can Take On Your Own Without Hiring A Water Damage Restoration Company
- Identify the source of the water:
The first thing you should do in a water damage situation is to locate where the water is coming from. However, you must know that doing this could be tricky. As an illustration, water damage ceilings damage can be difficult to identify precisely where the water is coming from, and if it’s a roof issue or not. You’d need to hire a water damage restoration expert if you didn’t identify where the source of the water damage.
- Shut off the water source and electricity:
The next thing to do after identifying where the water is coming from is to go shut off the main water supply of the house. This would prevent further damage to your properties, and also reduce the cost of repair and restoration, especially if you don’t have insurance. However, you should only attempt to do this, when you’re sure of your safety. The next step is to cut off the electrical power supply to the house. You should still do this, even if there is a widespread power outage in your area. The way to do this is by looking for your fuse box and turning off the main breaker, as well as the individual fuse switches. Electricity and water do not mix well, as it can lead to electrocution, and kill people on a large scale, should electrical power be restored. In situations where there is severe flooding, you should hire an electrician to come to inspect, clean and dry the power box, before the electrical power can be switched on again.
- Move contents away from the affected area:
The next thing to do after shutting down the water source and electrical supply to your building are moving any personal items, furniture, and other valuable properties in the building from the water affected area, to a dry area. It’d be best if you move the properties to somewhere that is elevated than the water affected area. Secondary damages may be done to your properties if you leave them to sit in water. This would make them difficult or completely impossible to restore or repair. There are some properties that would be difficult to move; examples include heavy furniture. Other things that may be difficult to move include cabinets. In this case, you may need to hire a water damage restoration expert for help. As always this should only be done when you’re certain of your safety. It’s better to lose your properties than to lose your life.
- Remove the water:
You’d have to remove the water, after the water source and electrical power supply has been cut off. The difficulty level of this largely depends on the amount of water you have in your building, and also the way you’d be extracting the water. In a situation where you have a lot of water in your house, you may need to call a water damage restoration company, as they have special equipment and machines that can remove water swiftly. On the other hand, if the amount of water in the house isn’t large, you may remove the water with buckets and so on. There are various ways of removing water from your building. People make use of hoses, buckets, bail or siphon to remove the water. However, you should be careful not to hurt yourself; water is heavy. You should be careful when lifting materials that have been soaked in water. They tend to weigh a lot more. You should wear rubber boots and gloves, and avoid any contact between your gloves and your As a rule of thumb; you should hire a professional if more than 100 square feet are affected.
- Get the air moving:
The building and properties in it would still remain wet, even after removing water from it. The next thing to do is drying the affected area, to prevent the growth of molds, bacteria, mildew and so on. You can remove the baseboards yourself if you’re the handy type. Else, it’d be best to call a professional to help with the drying process. You can place several fans in various parts of the affected area. This will help get the water into the air during evaporation. Running a dehumidifier would also help to reduce the humidity in the house. Water damage restoration companies do have professional drying equipment and moisture detecting devices. Your home fans and a dehumidifier cannot get the job done, like the professionals’ equipment would do. Asides this, the restoration experts don’t just have the equipment, but also have the expertise and experience to get the job done quickly.
- Ensure the property is structurally safe:
In flood situations, you must ensure that the house is structurally safe before you enter. Some of the ways of identifying a house that has structural damages include checking for buckled walls, floors. You shouldn’t enter the house if you notice that they are damaged, and stands a chance of collapsing. You should also check out for cracked foundations. You should contact your utility company if you notice that there may be damage to your gas, water, electric or sewer lines. Overall, your safety is paramount, more important than whatever valuables you may have inside your home.
- Document everything you do:
People with insurance companies have to inform them immediately they notice the water damage. The purpose of contacting them is so they can send the insurance adjuster to come to inspect and assess the level of damage done. You should also seek authorization from them before commencing any kind of repair or restoration process. In a situation where you can’t wait for them to arrive, before carrying out some activities, you should document everything. This includes recording videos, and taking pictures of the water damage, even before doing anything. You should record everything you do. Be careful not to discard anything you remove from the affected area.
- Call your insurance company:
The cost of restoration, reconstruction, or repair of buildings after water damage can be unbearable. However, this becomes easy when you have good insurance. Having a homeowner’s insurance that covers flooding due to burst pipes, broken appliances, back up sewers, storm drains and so on is essential. It’s important to call your insurance company promptly to quicken the restoration process and return to normalcy. The insurance company would send their agents to come to assess the damage and to determine if you’re covered for any losses. However, it’s important you follow the instructions from your insurance company about the cleanup and restoration process. You shouldn’t start any repair works until their agent has assessed the situation, or before you’ve been given the authorization to do so. You should take pictures and videos of the damages, and present to your insurer, as you move through the process. Ensure there is a clear communication line between the insurance company and you.
What Are the Things You Can Do Until Help Arrives?
Your main priority after water damage must be your safety, and also the safety of those in the affected area with you. Below are some questions you’d need to ask yourself to ascertain your safety:
- Is it safe to remain in your house, or is it better to remain outside?
- Are there any chances of electrical hazard, as this is one of the most common causes of hazards in water damage?
- You should only engage in activities that would are safe to perform.
- You should be careful of wet materials, as they are usually very heavy.
Above are some of the tips involved in keeping safe until help arrives. Below are some of the things you should do and the things you shouldn’t do in a water damage situation.
What To Do?
- Water damage insurance:
According to the law, it’s well within your right to determine what water damage restoration company would work in your home or building. Although some insurance carriers have their “preferred contractors” that they recommend, they do this because they already have agreements with the insurance companies, as an illustration, they might have an agreement with companies that would handle water losses in a certain manner and at pre-determined prices. You must be careful with these companies, as they may rely on referrals from the insurance carriers for the company’s livelihood. This is why you should read the terms of your insurance contract clearly before signing up.
- You should wear protective clothing when cleaning:
As mentioned earlier, flood water is usually filled with various substances, such as debris, dirt, toxic chemicals, dangerous animals and so on. This is why it’s important for you to protect yourself
- Water damage mitigation:
Water mitigation is a process by which further damage to your properties and building structures are limited. Some of the things done include the removal of materials and structures that can’t be salvaged, and also the cleaning of the affected areas of the building. Other water mitigation activities include the application of disinfecting agents, deodorizing and drying the structure. This may involve the use of various chemical products, machines and some special equipment such as dehumidifier and so on. Water damage mitigation also helps to prevent the presence and growth of molds, bacteria and mildews. It has been shown that molds can start growing within 12 to 48 hours of a flood. Molds carry a lot of health risk for people.
Things You Should Not Do
Below are the things you shouldn’t do in a water damage situation:
- You shouldn’t make use of your home vacuum, as electrical shock might occur, which may even lead to the damage of the equipment itself.
- You should avoid walking on wet surfaces, except it’s necessary to do so, maybe to minimize safety hazards, and to prevent the spreading of damage and contaminants.
- You shouldn’t adjust indoor air temperatures unless you’ve been instructed by a qualified restoration technician.
- You should avoid going to areas of the house that has the potential for electrical shock hazards.
- You should avoid walking in the flood water unless you’re wearing rubber boots and gloves. This is to prevent contamination and exposure to contaminants.
What Are the Types Of Water Damage?
There are various types of water damage. The Institute of inspection cleaning and restoration have developed the industry standard for water damage mitigation. Below are the types of water damage:
- Clean water damage:
This is the type of water damage in which the source is a clean water source. Examples of this include plumbing supply line or a wet structure that hasn’t become contaminated.
- Gray water damage:
This is the type of water damage in which the source of the water contains chemicals or other substances that could lead to discomfort or sickness to the occupants. Examples of grey water damage include appliance discharge, a broken waterbed or fish tank, overflows from toilet bowls and so on. It’s important to know that clean water damage can turn grey if left too long before the water is extracted.
- Black water damage:
Black water damage is totally unhealthy for humans. You should try as much not to expose yourself to this type of water. They usually come from sources such as toilet trap, flooding from seawater, ground surface water, or rising water from rivers and streams. Gray water that is left to sit in a space for a long time can also change into black water damage. A unique set of restoration techniques must be applied to handle this type of situation safely. A large number of bacteria can enter the interior environment, and cause a lot of harm to the occupants of the building. Studies have shown that bacteria that is introduced to the structure could remain active for up to one month or more if left untreated. Care must be taken not to disturb the bacteria in the water and make them airborne. Bacteria that is well contained in the water and not airborne makes it not easily breathable by restoration workers or occupants. Some of the ways to ensure this includes closing all the doors during a clean-up. The industrial fans and air conditions typically used for drying outbuildings should be avoided, as they would further distribute these bacteria. Special machines such as negative air machines, with filters, should be used in removing bacteria and other contaminants from the air during restoration work.
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