Flooding is one of the most serious issues that a homeowner might have to deal with. Climate change has increased the likelihood of flash floods even in areas that were previously thought to be flood-free. Even so, there’s also the fact that something as common as damage plumbing pipes could also cause flooding and extensive damage.
Regardless of what caused the flooding, you have to prepare yourself for dealing with water damage cleanup. Working with a water damage restoration company is good, but there are still a few things that you have to keep in mind to make sure things go smoothly. Here’s a checklist to help you figure out which things to prioritize before and during a water damage restoration project:
1. Secure The Area And Your Belongings
You should always prioritize the safety of people and property when dealing with water damage. Flooded water can be contaminated with bacteria and harmful substances. Furthermore, it could also be a serious electrical risk if outlets or wiring got exposed to moisture. Make sure children and pets do not wander close to the damaged area.
It would also be wise to turn off the utilities ASAP when you find a burst pipe that was causing the flooding. Shut off your home’s gate valve to make sure more water won’t lead to more flooding. Turning off circuit breakers is also a priority, but if the circuit breaker itself is wet, you need to leave the task to an experienced electrician.
It’s also crucial that you protect your most valuable assets. Electronic gadgets, wood furniture, and items made of porous materials should be moved away from the water-damaged area. If you have to leave the home before repairs can start, make sure you secure all important documents and jewelry so you can take those with you.
2. Contact Your Insurance Provider
The next important thing to do is call your insurance company and let them know about your situation. According to what policies you have, your homeowners’ insurance will have different terms. The insurance provider will send someone to inspect the condition of your home and assess the level of damage.
You need to be as detailed as possible when reporting the damage to make a strong case for your claim. Taking pictures of the damaged area is highly recommended, as well as a rough breakdown of possible repairs needed to restore the damage. All this information can help the inspector accurately assess your home’s current situation. While it’s unlikely that they will cover 100% of the expenses, being detailed should help you get enough coverage to make water damage restoration more manageable.
3. Discard Everything That Are Too Damaged Or Unsafe To Use
Water damage restoration is done on the home itself, but there’s not much that can be done for objects that got submerged in the flood. When clearing the area to make way for the restoration crew, you have to figure out which items are still salvageable and which ones have to be discarded.
Plastic items and non-electronic items can be reused after a thorough wash. However, electronic gadgets and most electric appliances may be severely damaged to be considered safe for use, even after being thoroughly dried. Of course, items made of highly absorbent material such as foam-padded chairs or pillows may have to be discarded, especially if it was soaked by dirty flooded water.
4. Remove Excess Humidity Around Your Home
You will still need to take care of remaining moisture after removing all standing water from your home. This is usually a job for the pros, as they have the necessary tools and equipment to dehumidify a room within a short span of time. If the service provider can bring a portable generator, the HVAC unit should be able to get most of the humidity out, but there’s still a need to air out the area by opening a nearby window to let dry air in and damp air out.
At the very least, you can use a series of electric fans to allow air to circulate over damp walls and spaces. Dehumidifiers also work great for getting rid of those last droplets of excess moisture. Professionals can use a hygrometer to check if the room is sufficiently de-humidified.
5. Inspect Your Home For Mold Formation
Even after water damage has been controlled and solved, you still need to inspect your home for possible mold formation. Mold and mildew can be prevented if the water is dried out within 24 hours, but since that’s rarely the case when it comes to water damage restoration, there’s always a chance that mold has already started growing in the previously-flooded areas.
When hiring water damage restoration professionals, ask them if they can thoroughly check for signs of mold even in hard-to-reach areas that got damaged by flooding. They can conduct a mold infiltration test by getting samples from your home’s surfaces and the surrounding dust formation. These samples are usually sent to third-party laboratories to be checked for mold spores.
There are many reasons for water damage at home, and it is something no homeowner wants to deal with. However, if you keep a checklist of the things mentioned above, working with water damage restoration experts can help you effectively undo the damage done by floods, plumbing leaks, and other sources of water damage.