When your home is your pride and joy, not to mention probably your most significant investment, it’s devastating when an area of the property is damaged. Unfortunately, water issues are a common problem many people face each year, whether from burst or leaking pipes, faulty appliances, floods, or some other situation. If faced with cleaning up unwanted water, there are certain things you have to do, and do quickly, to reduce damage.
Disconnect the Power
To ensure you and your family, including pets, are safe, immediately disconnect the power to rooms where water has come in. This is particularly urgent if the water has reached or risen above electrical outlets, or will soon.
After disconnecting the power, also unplug electronic devices, provided you can do so safely without risking electrocution. Unplug products such as appliances, lights and anything else that’s in the vicinity of the water. Moisture can often rise rapidly, so it’s best to get things out of the way ASAP.
Get as Many Things as Possible Out of the Water
The next step is to remove your belongings from the water. The sooner you do this, the better chance there is of them not being damaged beyond repair. Consider calling in a group of family members, friends, or neighbors together to help you get this job done quickly.
It might not be something you’d typically think of, but it pays to remove large area rugs from flooded rooms, as well as wall-to-wall carpet. If they don’t end up sitting in water for too long, you will hopefully be able to have them professionally cleaned and then put back in position. Note, though, that doing this doesn’t guarantee success as some fabrics shrink from water damage.
Remove Excess Moisture
With your belongings out of water-laden rooms, you can begin the job of removing the excess moisture. How you go about this will depend on the level of water in each space, and the resources you have on hand. If a sudden deluge has significantly flooded a room, but you still have access to power in non-affected areas, you may be able to utilize a sump pump. These are handy because they suck up water quickly. Do be careful when using this kind of powered device, though, as you don’t want to get electrocuted because a cord gets wet.
For low levels of water, or where you can’t use power tools, opt for bailing out water with buckets, and soaking moisture up with towels and mops. A wet/dry vacuum is a useful tool, too. During the cleanup, wear protective gear, as the water that’s come into your home may be full of bacteria and other nasties.
Dry Off and Sort Items
Once you’ve cleared rooms of as much water as you can, help the spaces to dry out properly. Floors, drywall, insulation, and even beams may need to dry to make the area useable again. If it’s not raining, open as many doors and windows as you can to increase air flow. Set up fans and dehumidifiers to help reduce drying time, too.
While this is happening, lay out your wet belongings in the sun if the weather is on your side. Start sorting through items to determine which ones can be saved straight away, which need to be professionally cleaned and/or repaired, and which will have to be put in the garbage or recycling bin. Before you throw too many things out, though, speak with a specialist restorer who works with water-damaged goods regularly. They may be able to bring items “back to life” that you wouldn’t have thought possible.
Prevent Mold Growth
Since a big issue stemming from water damage is potentially harmful mold and mildew, you must disinfect the affected rooms. Disinfectant removes much of the bacteria that can come into properties via overflowing sewers, flood waters, burst pipes, etc., and it will help to stop mold from growing within a day or two. Disinfect any part of a space that got wet, including ceilings and the tops of walls, if the water reached that high.
Being confronted by water damage in your home can be stressful, heartbreaking, time-consuming and costly. However, if you move quickly to complete the activities listed above, you’ll feel more in control of the situation and limit the damage caused by the water.