When a Pipe blasts, a drain backs up, or a flood happens at your home, it can be hard to see past the chaos and millions of queries will run through your head.
What will happen now?
Will all my belongings be ruined?
How do I stop this?
Will the insurance policy cover all the cost of fixing this?
Water damage can be extremely difficult to deal with and the more you know about it, the better you will be able to fix it. We will try to answer most of the doubts you might get when these kinds of incidents happen with you.
What is water damage and what are the causes of water damage?
The first thing to remember is that water damage catches you by surprise, no one sends you an email saying tomorrow you are going to have a water damage situation. It could be that you came back from a vacation and you found the water damage, it could be that you walked out to the basement after a few days or few weeks of being there and you discover the disaster or it could be that you wake up in the morning and you put your feet down on the carpet and your feet are wet.[amazonjs asin=”B01DFW2BQA” locale=”US” title=”B-Air VP-25 1/4 HP 900 CFM Air Mover for Water Damage Restoration Carpet Dryer Floor Blower Fan Home and Plumbing Use, Blue”]
The main causes of water damage could be:
- Damage caused by floods and storm
- Leaking water appliances(aqua-guards), plumbing etc.
- Damage caused by Tornado and thunderstorms
- Overflowing water from toilets, bathtubs, and sinks.
- Flooded basements
- Hurricanes and tropical storms
- Flooding from taking out a fire
- Sewage backups
How fast can water damage your house?
We all know the old saying Time heal all wounds, but when it comes to water damage, time does not heal anything. Things go worse and worse with each second passing.
With a few hours your house starts to smell bad, your furniture in direct contact with water starts to delaminate and swell and the carpet will begin to leach and stain.
After a few days of water flooded in your house, fungi and mold starts to appear, paint blisters and wallpaper adhesives release and start to peel away and wood structural members begin to swell and split apart.
After a While, Mold sinks become natural substances and completely destroys their integrity, the occupants should go out from the Home because of health risks, Allergen sensitivity may arise A complete gutting of the structure may seem to be necessary.
Apart from all these things, water can ruin all your electrical appliances, plaster from walls, particle board and laminated wood, Insulation etc.
As the time passes, the damage caused by water in your house increases and it not only ruins your belongings but also your house. Your success depends on how long the water has been around, so the quicker you act the lesser damage is caused. Pieces of your furniture can be saved, sometimes even the carpet but if there is any electronic appliance hit by water it is probably beyond recovery.
An important thing to remember is that even if there is even an inch of water in the unwanted places like your basement, it becomes a perfect breeding environment for molds. You might think that the growth of molds only ruins the walls, floors and furniture, etc., growing molds in your house will pollute the air inside and will cause breathing problems including asthma. So, preventing the mold growth is one of the key elements to keep the air inside your house clean and healthy.
Tips for Cleaning your home after water damage:
- The first thing is you want to do is stop the source of water leaking into your house. If it is leaking from the roof you can put a bucket underneath, if it is a pipe that bursts then you can switch off the local valve and if you do not know where the local valve is then you can switch off the entire source of water for the house.
- The second thing you want to care of is electricity. Obviously, everyone knows that electricity and water do not mix, it is very dangerous and it can be a disaster too. If there is any wire or power source near the water you should eliminate that and switch off that area. The best thing to do would be to switch off the entire electricity to the house.
- Furniture– Next thing you want to look after is your furniture. In some areas the furniture is already wet so obviously, you want to take care of that first. You should remember that water travels fast, it travels underneath the carpet through the pad, on wood floor and tile and wets your furniture. You should pull up the carpet and under-padding immediately. You might be able to save the carpet after getting it washed and disinfected, however, it may shrink in size due to washing. The under-padding works as a sponge and absorbs the water so it is unlikely you will be able to save it.
- Insurance company– You would want to call the insurance company after taking the immediate steps. Now, the insurance company sometimes are very busy, especially when the pipes burst all-over the town or when there is a heavy rain and a lot of customers are calling the insurance company. But you need to take care of your situation very fast because when stuff is wet it takes 48-72 hours for molds to start growing and you want to dry your house by then. So, when you call the insurance company you should ask three main things-
- Are you covered?
- What is your deductible?
- How fast can they come out and take care of the situation?
Now, If the insurance company immediately send for help that’s good but if not, they will help you work out the situation and send people for help eventually.
If the insurance company is taking a while to send their team to your house, instead of waiting for them to arrive, you should start working yourself and save as much as you can.
- Get rid of water: Your first priority after taking care of the electricity should be to get rid of the water in your house. You can get rid of the water in the old-fashioned way by using a bucket and mops. Soak as much water as you can by using a mop and squeeze it into the bucket. Then pour the water from the bucket into a drain or just pour it into your lawn. A wet or dry vacuum cleaner can be used as well, however, you should be careful that you plug the vacuum cleaner into a socket far away from the water. Getting rid of the water and drying it out is extremely important to prevent the growth of any fungus. You can also check the list of impact drivers which you can use for getting old screws out or screwing in new ones, the HealthyHandyman have a great list.
- Drying the area: After you are done getting rid of the water, your next task is to dry the house. Turn on all the fans to help the water dry and use a dehumidifier to help dry out the house as well. If it is not raining outside make sure you open the windows to let fresh air come in.
- Disinfecting the area: After the house is completely dried out, use some disinfectant to get rid of any bacteria that have come up from the toilet or sewers. You should disinfect all the areas including every wall and furniture touched by the flood water.
- Disposing of the damaged goods: You would be willing to throw everything into a dustbin after all the chaos but you should organize all the damaged goods in order and take them to the recycling center when possible. The damaged wet goods will stink and make the air unhealthy so they should be taken out as soon as possible. You can go to your city or town’s waste management website to check where you can take all the damaged electronics, furniture, drywall and other damaged goods for recycling.
Things you should NOT do when taking care of water damage:
- Make sure you do not use any ordinary vacuum cleaner to remove the water
- Make sure you do not use any electronic appliance while standing on the wet carpet or floor
- Make sure you are not standing on water while the electricity is still on
- Make sure you do not let the garbage pile up
- Make sure you do not leave any pools of stagnant water as it can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Water damage leads to the growth of molds and bacteria in just a few days, this affects the health of the occupants and pets inside the house. We hope the above mention points will help you in taking care of the water damage problem at your home. This can be extremely dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is very important but if you know the right thing to do, you can prevent it from getting worse.