Cleaning up water damage in your home

by grobbins

 

Curling rolls of soggy carpeting and area rugs…Soaked cardboard boxes of photos and other treasured documents… Matted and misshapen stuffed toys…Water-stained sofas, recliners and lampshades…

Sadly, mounds of these and other damaged goods are becoming an all-too-frequent sight at our curbsides and alleyways.  The intense storms of the last few years have brought record amounts of rain, leaving many homeowners with water damage from flood, backup or seepage.  But whether you’ve got rainwater seeping in your basement walls, or a leaky pipe, water has the potential to cause a large amount of damage in very little time.  If you are currently dealing with water damage in your home, be sure to follow these steps to minimize the effects and additional loss.

 Locate the Source

If the water is caused by a leaky pipe, faucet or appliance in your home, you’ll need to locate the source of the leak.  Always be sure to turn the electricity off before searching for the cause in order to avoid electrical shock.  In the case of weather damage—be it  hard rain or hail entering your home through a leaky roof, or a backup through a sewer drain—you may not be able to stop the flow completely.  Take any action possible to block or divert the water from entering your home, and insure that all exterior drainage systems are working effectively until the rain subsides.

 Assess Damage

After you have located the source of the water damage and mitigated the potential for further loss, you should assess the damage.  In cases of minimal damage, you can likely clean up the mess on your own, with the right tools and equipment.  In severe cases, where flooring or drywall is flooded or warped, you will need to consult a professional restoration company who can take proper precautions to avoid irreparable long-term mold damage.  As a homeowner, it is important to act quickly in situations of water damage.   Delaying even a few hours can be harmful to your home and the health of your family.

 Drying Out

In cases of minor damage, the first thing you should do to reduce the chance of mold is get a breeze of fresh air running through your home.  If the rain has stopped, open windows, turn on ceiling fans, and bring in additional high-powered fans.  Not only will the air flow decrease your drying time, it will reduce the chance of lingering mildew smells.  Setting up a quality dehumidifier will help remove the moisture molecules that cannot be seen.  Check the tank often and clean it as necessary.  Taking these precautions swiftly and diligently will reduce the chance of long-term mold and mildew.

 Damaged Valuables

When you have the fans and dehumidifiers in place, scan the area for any damaged valuables including papers, bills, photographs and books.  For items that can easily be replaced, throw them away as soon as possible.  Photograph or photocopy anything of significant value.  Photographs and other items of sentimental value can be placed in a freezer to be preserved at a later date.

 Cleaning Up

A wet/dry vacuum is one of the most important tools for water damage cleanup.  If you have wood floors, water will need to be removed as soon as possible to avoid warping.   For carpets and furniture, clean up quickly, and if salvageable, try to allow for sufficient drying time before replacing.  Treat submerged surfaces with mild detergents to kill bacteria and prevent odors.  Professional cleaning services can help in situations of extensive damage.

 If you are cleaning up water damage in your home, and you think you might need a referral for professional help, or help filing a claim, contact us today–we can help!

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