A home is only happy as long as it is healthy and trouble free. Unfortunately, bad stuff can happen. The more prepared you are with solutions to the icky stuff, the easier it is to recover and move forward. So what should you do if you end up with a flooded home?
Steps to take when your happy home faces water damage
Water damage, whether from a natural disaster or plumbing issues, can ruin your floors, walls and ceilings. If you don’t get the place dried up quickly, you could face a severe mold problem, and of course your personal effects could be damaged beyond repair. Acting quickly and following the right steps can save your home from complete destruction and save you from having to spend a lot of money on repairs.
Immediate Clean up
If it is safe to do so, your first step should be to turn off the breakers to the affected area – you don’t want get shocked by electrical current running through the water or end up with a fire on top of your flooding problem. (If water has already reached your breaker area, consider calling in a pro – safety first! Just like you don’t want a hairdryer anywhere near your bathtub, electricity and water should never mix.) In addition, assuming the problem came from a broken pipe, turn off the water supply (in fact, this is a good reminder to make sure everyone in your home knows where the water shut-off to your house is located.) Once you’re safe, and the source of the water has been addressed, rescue any of your personal items and take them to a dry area, and clean up as much of the water as possible. You may be able to use a mop for lighter jobs, but if there is an exorbitant amount, a wet-dry vacuum will be a great help.
Completely Dry the Area
Cleaning up the water you see is important, but the most important thing is to dry up the water you can’t see – in the carpet pad, in the sheetrock, in the insulation in your walls… This means drying the room or rooms completely, possibly using a commercial air mover to force water off floors and out of carpets, walls and furniture. Along with that, you’ll want to set up a dehumidifier. This machine will suck all of the excess moisture from the air, not only helping to dry the room quickly, but preventing mold from growing.
Should you tackle this on your own? That really depends on the size of the problem and your skill set. If you’re up to it, you can rent the right kinds of machines at places like Aurora Rents. If you don’t feel you are up for it, trying calling a local pro like Puget Sound Water Rescue, Day and Nite Water Damage, or Water Damage Fix.
Fix the Problem
Of course, it goes with out saying that you’ll have to fix the original problem too. Call in a plumber if needed. As they open the walls to make repairs, check for any lingering moisture or mold that might have grown, replacing insulation and patching sheetrock as needed. Oh, and don’t forget to call your insurance company early on. While slow leaks are often not covered by insurance, catastrophic damage like bursting pipes usually is, so do consider filing a claim.
Seriously, I hope neither your nor I have to face this kind of situation, but like with any emergency planning, the better prepared you are with information, tools, and resources, the less of an emergency you’ll face in the first place. Water damage can be an inconvenience, but it doesn’t have to spell total disaster. As long as you take the proper measures as quickly as possible, you can prevent severe damages and save yourself a lot of money.
May your home always be happy!