Water damage, whether from flooding or leaks, is a serious problem and can’t be taken lightly. When water pools in an area it is not supposed to, water damage problems can ruin your house and its contents. Residential flooding is a disaster and can be a traumatic experience for any homeowner, and the water damage in your home can lead to various issues.
Not only do you have to worry about your property being damaged, but you also run the risk of electrocution. The structure can even collapse if the water damage problem is extensive. Water damage can also lead to mold and mildew growth, which is why water cleanup and restoration are so important. Also, discovering water damage in your basement or home can be frightening and stressful for many homeowners, regardless of how large or small the area is. If it is your first time dealing with this type of event or emergency, you may not know how to proceed safely.
During such an event or disaster, it is vital to know what you should do if you experience such a tragedy. Knowing what steps to take after water damage in your home will help keep your loved ones safe and minimize any further damage.
What is Water Damage?
Water damage is a term that describes several possible losses caused by water intrusion and destroying the interior of your home. Water damage happens in your house when water finds its way where it should not be and harms a system or material by destructive processes, including rotting of wood, bacteria and mold growth, and rusting of steel.
It is worth noting that the damage may be minor or extensive, depending on the amount of water and how long it takes to detect the source of the leak.
Residential water damage can be caused by various reasons, including:
- Frozen pipes that burst and saturate your ceiling or walls
- Rainwater that leaks into your rooms or basement
- Sewage damage
- Leaking appliances
What Happens If You Leave Water Damage Untreated?
Whether you notice a tiny water stain on the ceiling or a little drop under the sink, both may lead to more significant and costly problems. You should know that water damage is especially problematic because it can easily go unnoticed, and if left untreated, water damage can cause extensive damage to your residential property.
Flood waters often contain harmful microbes and bacteria that can make you and your loved ones sick. These organisms include viruses, bacteria, mold, fungi, and other chemicals. Did you know that some of these substances may lead to respiratory problems and skin irritation? They can also cause other problems, such as eye irritation, nausea, and headaches.
If left untreated, water damage can be an eyesore, and hard to paint over. If you don’t treat it, water damage can harm the structural integrity of your home. Water can also corrode pipes, which causes a vicious cycle. Once pipes corrode, they tend to leak, leading to more water damage and a higher need for water removal and water damage restoration.
10 Important Steps to Take Immediately After Water Damage in Your Home
Here are some steps you should take as soon as you notice any signs of water damage in your home.
1. Identify the Source of the Problem
Whether due to flooding, corroded pipes, a broken HVAC system, or appliance malfunctions, you should see if you can identify what has caused water damage. Even if you think that the water damage in your home is minimal, you must take action as early as possible to prevent further damage. You should locate the source of the water. If it is a leaking pipe, you can repair it with epoxy putty or pipe tape.
2. Turn Off the Power
Remember that electricity and water do not mix. This is why you should turn off the power if you’ve experienced flooding, and don’t re-enter a flooded home before the electric power is turned off to prevent electrocution. Electrocution can be lethal, and you must take steps in order to make sure that no one in your family is exposed to open wires. Also, wear rubber boots and protective clothing.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
You will be pleased to know that in most cases and situations, residential water damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance. So, depending on the specific insurance plan that you have, you may qualify for reimbursement for the remediation and repair of water damage in your home. You should talk to your insurance agent and schedule an inspection to assess the extent of damage and losses.
4. Document the Water Damage
No one likes to remember how their home looked or felt while it was damaged by water, but photos are an essential part of the documentation you require for insurance purposes. It is vital to take pictures of your affected belongings, such as furniture, electronics, appliances, and clothing. You can take these photos with your smartphone or camera to show the extent of the water damage.
5. Sort, Evaluate, and Assess
After documenting the damage, take a close look at your personal belongings. It is time to sort through your personal belongings. Items that are too worn or damaged should be removed. Certain water-laden items and objects can quickly develop mold and mildew. So, if you own expensive or valuable furniture pieces, you should promptly remove them to prevent future rot.
You may be able to clean some lightly damaged items in your home. However, if you are unsure, it is better to ask a water damage restoration company for help.
6. Remove All Water
If you’ve a water pump, you can hook it up and start removing the water. You can also use a shop vacuum. Use heavy-duty extension cords to run the equipment in rooms where you have turned off the power.
7. Start the Drying Process
Once you have removed the water, get to drying your house! After you have ensured there’s no potential for electrical damage, you can turn on your dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and fans to dry the house. If possible, rent dehumidifiers and large air movers to expedite the drying process.
8. Clean, Repair, and Restore
Water can cause a significant amount of damage to your home, especially when flooding happens. For example, flooring has to be removed, and walls need to be put up again. Use high-quality disinfecting cleaners to cover all surfaces, including ceilings, and floors.
After cleaning, follow up with repairs and restoration as required for water-damaged ceilings, drywall, and floors. If money isn’t an issue, it is best to hire a professional water damage restoration company.
9. Don’t Ignore Mold Hazards
Mold and mildew are two of the most significant issues that accompany flood or water damage. So, when you notice a leak or water damage in your home, ventilate the area by opening your windows. Mold removal and mitigation are critical parts of water damage restoration.
You can treat all affected surfaces, such as wood, with an antimicrobial product designed to kill mold. During the summer, it is best to turn on the air conditioning. During the winter, you can turn on the heat.
10. Call a Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
The water damage restoration process is critical to address water damage and to restoring your home. Repairing a home after severe water damage can be a big project. If you’ve doubts or concerns about doing it yourself, you should call a water damage restoration company to get the best results.
How to Identify New or Old Water Damage
There is no cut-and-dry method to know precisely how long the water damage has lingered. However, there are a few ways to be reasonably sure if the water damage is old or new. In most cases, new water damage is characterized by one dark water spot without any rings around it. Also, on the surface, it will feel wet but firm. In contrast, older water damage will likely have a softer and squishy feel to its surface with dry water rings around the spot.
How Long Does Water Damage Take to Dry Out?
Generally, you can expect the exposed areas in your home to dry within four to five days, provided they aren’t exposed to extremely humid conditions. In some cases, the drying process might take only two days, while it can take weeks in other cases.
The time period that water damage repairs take to complete will mainly depend on the time it takes for the affected materials to dry up and the severity of the damage. However, the water removal and restoration process must start as soon as possible.
Does My Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?
In most situations, home insurance policies cover residential water damages. If water damage happens suddenly or accidentally from a source inside the home, like a busted pipe, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover it.
Also, traditional homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover natural flood events. So, if the water comes from outside your home, it won’t be covered by a standard policy.
Hire a Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
Repairing water damage effectively and safely requires specialized knowledge and equipment and is best left to the experts. So, without taking any risks, hire Conejo Restoration, a professional restoration company that provides 24/7 emergency water damage repair and restoration.
As a family-owned, IICRC-certified business, the professional experts at Conejo Restoration can clean, dry, and restore your home. If you are looking for water damage restoration near me, call Conejo Restoration at (805) 338-6653 anytime.