Water can cause serious damage to the structure of a building, as well as the possessions contained within. When a flood, burst pipe, or other water-based disaster occurs, it is critical that you know what to do in order to minimize damage. Even a small amount of flooding—as little as a few centimeters—can still be a breeding ground for potentially harmful mold growth, so never underestimate the importance of immediate solutions. Here are 7 steps to help you with minimizing water damage and cleaning up.
1. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Time is of the essence. Immediately contact your insurance company and let them know what happened, and what they advise. This ensures that there is no miscommunication, and that you can get monetary compensation if applicable. You may want to take detailed pictures or video of the damage and the cause.
2. Act Fast
Immediately unplug any electronic devices. Save any moveable items such as furniture, carpets, and anything else of value. The longer your possessions are underwater, the more damage they are going to take. Shut off the power to prevent further electrical problems, especially if the water is rising above the electric outlets.
3. Remove the Water
If you have safe access to power, you may want to rent a pump or a wet/dry vacuum. If that is not an option, you may need to use buckets, towels, and mops to soak up as much water as possible. You can pour the water down your drain, or if the sewer is backed up, you can pour the water onto an absorbable service like a yard or other outdoor area.
4. Dry the Wet Area
After removing the water, it is crucial that you dry the affected area. If the weather permits, open all windows to promote drying. Set up fans and dehumidifiers. If you do not have fans or dehumidifiers, ask friends or family members to borrow them. Fast drying is essential to minimize damage.
5. Eliminate Bacteria
Once everything has been dried, there may be residual bacteria left over from toilets, sewers, and other sources. Use a powerful disinfectant to thoroughly clean any surfaces that were affected by the water.
6. Apply Concrobium
Concrobium is a product that stops mold in its tracks. Apply a thin layer, and allow it to dry overnight. If you need to cover a substantial portion of your home, you may find that renting a mister from a hardware store makes the job significantly easier.
7. Dispose of Damaged Items
Some items may be beyond saving. Arrange to have them picked up, or bring them to your local recycling center or dump. Look into your local waste management options, and have your items disposed of responsibly.
Hire a Professional if Necessary
Some water damage problems are beyond the scope of an untrained person. If you feel overwhelmed, companies like Vital Restoration are known for providing expert assistance in a timely fashion. You can call for a free estimate, so you can know exactly what to expect. While dealing with water damage can be trying, remember that there are solutions. The safety of you and your loved ones is the most important thing, so try to maintain perspective as you get through this difficult time.