Drip. Drip. Drip. Every time there is a leak in the house, you almost can’t get that irritating dripping sound out of your head. But, after a few weeks, you get used to it, and it doesn’t bother you anymore. In most cases, leaks result from leaky pipes, sewage backup, storms, floods, and overflowing appliances. The damage they leave behind is devastating, but only if they are gone for long.
However, the best way to deal with water damage is to handle it immediately. So what steps should you take as a homeowner to do that?
#1 Identify the source
Some sources are easy to identify, such as busted pipes and natural disasters. The ones that are harder to spot are those behind the wall or ceiling. Damage from the above sources is the easiest for homeowners to clean because it’s clean water.
Greywater and black water from home appliances and toilets are the worst because they might contain harmful bacteria. Experts don’t recommend homeowners to clean black or greywater on their own because the water is dirty and contains bacteria that are harmful to their health.
#2 Switch off the power
After stopping the water flow, the next step is to disconnect the house’s power and gas sources. This is important if you are dealing with excess water like floods. Ensure that you are adequately insulated before you handle any electrical appliances. Consult an electrician if switching off the main power requires you to be standing in water.
#3 Dry the area
Did you know that mold and mildew can start growing within 24 hrs if you don’t clean standing water? If there are low-lying areas in your house, chances are you will have pools of water around your property. To ensure that you dry out all the water, remove as much furniture as you can so you can see each corner of the space.
If there are any wet areas left, use fans or dehumidifiers to dry them out. You can also use your air conditioner to help remove humidity. In case of a flood, you might need to call in industrial water extractors to help remove the water.
#4 Look for hidden moisture
After cleaning the water and activating the fans and air conditioning to help in the drying process, you must check for hidden moisture. Hidden moisture can cause further damage to your property as it will encourage the growth of mold, bacteria, and other contaminations.
You can check underneath the floorboards and carpets to see if water has sipped through it. If it has, take the fans to the affected areas to dry them out completely.
#5 Perform a mold inspection
Once everything is dried out, including the hidden moisture, it doesn’t mean that all is well. Look in the water-damaged areas for possible mold growth. According to Mold Busters, you should be careful because some mold types are toxic and can cause serious health issues.
If there is no mold, the better, but you can clean it yourself if you find some in a small area. However, large affected areas should be removed by professional mold removers or remediation services.After all the mold is removed, ensure that you disinfect all affected areas and other items around.
#6 Remove porous materials and drywall
Water damage can affect your walls and other porous materials on your property. You will need to repair or replace drywall, carpet, and damaged flooring in your house in most cases. With drywall, if the damage is not too extensive, you can dry it and repaint it. If there is not too much water damage, you can fix it by drying out the area immediately.
Don’t forget to inspect the roof and siding for water damage, especially if they are not adequately sealed. Replacing a roof is way more costly than a wall or carpet, so be thorough when checking for water-damaged areas around your home. Repair any potential weak spots you see on the siding and shingles to keep water out.
Finally, remember to salvage your most valuable possessions, such as essential documents, money, and jewelry. This will save you time as cleaning individual items might lead to more water damage to your property. Also, please don’t use any electrical appliances until they have entirely air-dried.
Before spending your money on replacement and repairs, consult your insurance provider to see where you can save some coin.