Around 14,000 people in the U.S. experience a water damage emergency at home or work every day. According to an estimate, around 98 percent of basements suffer water damage during its lifetime.
From natural disasters to damaged plumbing, there are several causes of residential water damage. Water damage can be overwhelming and can leave a homeowner confused about how to handle the mess. No matter how menacing or bleak a situation may appear, keep calm.
In most cases, you can get the water damage restored at your home. Before you reach out to a water damage company, create a recovery roadmap.
To help you get started, we have put together a list of some simple steps to take after water damage.
Ensure Your Safety and the Well-Being of Your Loved Ones
Your safety and the well-being of your family members should be your primary concern. If there is standing water, turn off the electricity to prevent electrical shocks. Shut off the main water inlet valve to reduce contamination risks.
When a major flood occurs, turn off the natural gas. Floodwater may carry silt, oil or chemical waste, and raw sewage. If these contaminants come in contact with food, the food becomes unsafe to consume. To prevent food poisoning due to accidental consumption, get rid of contaminated food.
Don’t walk through flooded areas, as floodwaters may carry sharp objects, raw sewage, and hazardous waste. If you must wade through a flooded floor or go down into a flooded basement, wear waterproof boots or hip waders.
Call Your Insurance Company
Talk to your insurer as soon as you can (preferably within 24 hours) after a flood to determine how much damage your policy will cover. The nature and extent of protection provided by your insurance will depend on the type of policy you have.
Take as many pictures as you can before, during, and after the cleanup. These photos will help prove your claims when an adjuster visits you to look at and assess the damage.
Start Water Damage Cleanup Immediately
Try to start water damage cleanup within 24-48 hours after re-entering your house. If you determine that the damage is too extensive, contact a water damage company.
If you decide to take the DIY route, put on protective gear before wading through floodwater. Store salvageable items in a dry room and get rid of the ones that are too damaged or no longer safe to use.
Depending on the extent of damage, you may have to move the drywall, flooring, and insulation to stop mold and mildew spores from spreading. Dry out and clean damaged furniture.
Floodwater may carry sediments, leaves, garbage, and tree branches. Remove any debris brought in by the water.
Dry Out Different Areas of Your Home
Once floodwaters recede, you can start drying out different areas of your home. Use electric, gas, or hand pumps to get rid of stagnant water. Place pumps on the lowest part of the flooded floor. Remember, water and electricity are a lethal combination. Be careful when using electric pumps, or you may get the ‘shock of your life.’
Dump the excess water into your sewage system, backyard, or a tanker truck. After you have successfully removed water from your home, circulate dry air within your house, open windows and doors to let in the fresh air. Use central air conditioning to get rid of excess moisture. Do not use your HVAC system if the system was underwater.
If it is safe to use, place high powered air circulator fans throughout your house. Dehumidifiers are quite effective at drawing moisture out of enclosed areas. Drying out your house on time (within 3-4 days) will prevent mold growth and wood rot.
Assess the Damage
Once you get rid of unusable and unsafe items and dry out salvageable items, hire an inspector to perform a detailed inspection. The professional will inspect your roof, foundation, and different parts of your home to assess the nature and extent of the damage.
If your appliances are damaged, you may have to call an electrician separately to check your electricity line and appliances before you use them.
Walls can experience water ingress during and after a flood. Water can also seep through drywall, ceilings, and floors. Mold spores can grow on a damp surface within 24-48 hours after flooding. To prevent mold and mildew, remove water-damaged items as soon as possible.
Do not try to remove mold on your own, as it could make the problem worse and cause potential health hazards. Instead, hire a mold remediation specialist for the job.
If your house needs extensive repairs, find a temporary recommendation where you can live till the repair work is complete. Before you contact a water damage restoration contractor, check with the local authorities whether certain repairs require permits.
Make sure to address all the leaks. Consider installing a flood barrier or elevating your home to prevent damage the next time flooding occurs.
It is best to let the experts take care of the water damage restoration. At West Coast Fire and Water, we have assembled an A-team of water restoration experts. Our fast turnaround time, professionalism, and expertise give us a competitive edge over other players. If you are looking for a water damage company in Sonoma County, contact us at (707) 462-5326 to discuss your project with our team.