Arriving home to discover a pipe break or hot water heater rupture is not something anyone wants to experience, but every year more than 1.5 million homeowners find themselves in this exact situation. Not only is this stressful for the obvious reasons, but most homeowners aren’t sure what they can (or should) be doing to prevent further damage!
While we can’t turn back time, following the do’s and don’ts of water damage can reduce the extent of damage, prevent secondary damage, and get your life back to normal quicker. Here’s how!
While this may seem obvious, it’s very commonly forgotten in the heat of the moment. In order to prevent further damage, take a moment to turn off the water if it’s safe to do so. In cases where electricity may be impacted, it’s best to have a professional take care of this for you instead.
If there is a risk of electrical outlets, lighting, or wiring being affected by the leak, it’s best to turn off the breaker to that area of your home. As with turning off the water, if safety is ever a concern, it’s best to hire a professional to do this for you.
Your insurance company is going to want to see the extent of damage, so it’s important to document the damage as you discovered it, including damage to your home (the structure) and contents. These photos will be very helpful during the insurance claims process. Your local Disaster Blaster will also take pictures and fully document your damages for your insurance company as well.
The longer that water sits, the more damage that it can do, so it’s important to mop up as much as possible right away.
Furniture that is in the affected area can be damaged as a result of the water leak as well. If possible, furniture should be moved away from the leak, or blocked up off the carpet to prevent water from wicking into this furniture and possibly damaging it.
Disaster Blaster professionals have specialized equipment and training to address moisture issues and thoroughly dry building materials. Moisture left in building materials could lead to further damage down the road including rot and mold growth, so it’s important to make sure that everything is dried effectively.
Standard vacuum cleaners are not intended for use with or around water and can be damaged, or even lead to electrical discharge or injury. Always use a wet / dry vacuum intended for use with water.
Mold spores can be spread around by air movement, potentially contaminating other areas of your home. To avoid this, never use fans when there is a potential for mold growth. Instead, you can use dehumidifiers, which will be able to remove some of the moisture as it evaporates into the air.
What “feels dry” isn’t always dry. This is why Water Damage Mitigation professionals, like your local Disaster Blaster, use specialized moisture monitoring equipment to trace the path of moisture and ensure building materials are thoroughly dry before completing the project. Going “by feel” can lead to building materials that aren’t dried properly and can encourage future mold growth.
While many homeowners think that they need to get estimates for water mitigation, that is not the case. Water damage is considered an emergency that should be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and reduce overall drying and repair costs. As a result, water mitigation billings are always completed, and submitted to your insurance company, after the work is complete and your property is dry.
We know you’re eager to get your home put back together, but completing repairs before everything is dry can trap moisture inside wall or ceiling cavities, under floors, or encourage moisture to wick into these new materials. This can lead to future issues like mold growth, rot, or the need for additional tearout in the future. It’s always a good idea to make sure that everything is dried fully before moving on to the repair portion of your project.
With 40% of homeowners reporting to have had water damage in their home, it’s unfortunately very common. While we hope that you don’t experience water damage yourself, now you at least know what to do should that ever happen.
As always, if you have additional questions, or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to Contact Your Local Disaster Blaster! We’re always here to help!
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