How to Handle Water Damage
In many ways, water damage can be worse than other types of property disasters. Water can come from a variety of sources: flooding, excess groundwater, storm or other weather event, a home system malfunction, a damaged roof, the after-effects of a fire or a burst pipe from severe winter weather.
In addition to the immediately visible damage, water is able to permeate many areas that you can’t see, so it’s virtually impossible to know if there is still water hiding, slowly destroying your property. Proper water removal, remediation and mitigation is essential from the start to ensure water damage problems don’t come back to haunt you later.
What is water remediation?
When an unexpected water disaster occurs, you just want to get things back to the way they were as quickly as possible, but simply spreading things out and putting a few fans around the area won’t be sufficient. Mold and mildew can grow in places you can’t see.
Get expert help
You need a team of certified and trained water restoration professionals who can bring in the specialized equipment necessary to make sure that every drop of moisture is gone. Make sure you check references to be sure they’ve got the experience necessary to do your job right. Stick with a locally owned company over a large, national company that might be subcontracting out your job.
I have a flooded basement! Now what?
Spring showers may bring flowers, but they can also bring unwanted water into your basement. Heading down the stairs to find a flooded basement gives you the sinking feeling that you’ll never get the mess cleaned up and some of your treasured possessions might be beyond repair from the water damage that’s occurred. Don’t despair. Here’s some helpful information:
Stop the flow and secure the area
The obvious first step with a water issue is to stop the source of water, if possible. If the water is coming from a burst pipe, find the water main and shut it off. If you can’t find the main, or if the water source is external, your best bet is to contact a disaster restoration expert. They should have a 24/7 response team and be able to get someone to your home quickly to assess the water damage situation. In the meantime, be sure you keep your family safe and dry.
Choose a disaster restoration expert
Remember that an inch of standing water can do as much water damage as several feet of standing water. Once your building and its contents get wet, you need a plan to remove the water and a team of experts using highly specialized processes and equipment.
Notify your insurance company
Your disaster restoration company should work in tandem with your insurance agent to ensure that all of the necessary work is covered and there won’t be any surprises down the line as you work to repair the water damage. One of the best ways you can be sure that all your treasured possessions are covered is to create a home inventory and keep it in a safe place so you’re prepared in the unfortunate event that a water disaster resulting in water damage strikes. As you add valuables, update your inventory.
What does the water restoration process look like?
Here are the steps in the water restoration process:
- Document the damage. Your water restoration company will photograph and document the affected area, including your personal possessions that have been damaged.
- Make a plan. Your water restoration company will create an effective and comprehensive drying plan.
- Remove the water. Next, your water restoration experts will use specialized water extraction equipment and industry-best practices to remove the water from the affected areas.
- Dry the area. Your water restoration company will then ensure that the area is well-ventilated and set up high-tech drying equipment that will run 24/7 as long as they’re needed.
- Inspect the progress. Lastly, your water restoration experts will perform routine inspections as the water mitigation process moves forward and continue to monitor the area of your water damage until every trace of moisture is gone.
How do I keep my family safe in a water disaster?
Water disasters can take a heavy toll on your family’s physical and emotional wellbeing. With an ounce of prevention, many water disasters can be avoided. Stay on top of regular maintenance like changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, preventing ice and snow from building up on your roof in the winter, taking good care of your pipes in cold weather and maintaining a sump pump if you live in an area with lots of heavy rain. All of these things can help you avoid water damage and keep your family safe. Above all, have a plan that the whole family is familiar with so that everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes.