Water damage is a homeowner’s worst nightmare. Not only can it cause devastating damage and decrease the value of your home, but it can also pose real health risks if left unaddressed. There are a number of issues that can lead to water damage in the home, ranging from something as simple as a leaking appliance to something as serious as flash flooding. Here are some tips to help you understand how to deal with water damage in your home:
Damage from moisture starts (and worsens) almost immediately. Absorbent materials retain water and expand, active mold growth begins and structural damage occurs all within the first 48 hours of water damage occurring. The type of restoration you’re looking at will vary depending on the severity of the damage (did the entire basement flood or was there a small dishwasher leak contained to the kitchen?) In any scenario, though, it's important to act quickly.
Turn off the power and/or water in the affected areas, if necessary. Move any furniture, rugs or other valuables so they're not sitting in water. If you’re handling the damage yourself, be sure to wear protective gear and carefully determine what you can save and what needs to be discarded. You may need to remove layers of flooring, drywall or even insulation, depending on the level of damage. If the damage is too much for one person to handle, never shy away from contacting a professional water restoration company that can assess and handle the damage for you.
Regardless of the cause of the water damage, document everything with pictures and videos to share with your insurance company and property claim adjuster. Make sure you’re proving the cause and extent of the damage to ensure your provider will cover the restoration costs. Your insurance provider is likely to send a property claim adjuster to assess the damage and determine what will be covered by your policy. Don’t forget to document any collateral damage to items like furniture, appliances or electronics.
Dry It Out
Once all the standing water has been removed and the damage has been assessed, try to dry out secondary items like furniture, rugs and even your floors that don’t need to be replaced to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers can all be used to remove moisture from damp areas in your home. Be extra cautious that you aren’t spreading mold spores throughout your home while attempting to dry out a specific area.
Take Preventative Measures
Regular home maintenance and routine inspections are the best way to prevent water damage from ever happening. Sometimes water damage starts as a minor problem that goes unnoticed for months before turning into a major issue that can wreak havoc on your home. Plan regular inspections to keep tabs on any leaks, cracked pipes, damaged seals or any other areas where water might start to enter your home. Properly maintain your appliances to avoid leaks. Complete appropriate seasonal maintenance like clearing gutters, disconnecting hoses and insulating faucets to avoid water damage caused by winter weather. Keep an eye on your water bill–a sudden increase in your monthly expenses might mean you have a leak somewhere.
Although water damage can be one of the most destructive events for a homeowner, it is unfortunately not all that uncommon. It's important to know the signs of water damage, understand how to handle it and take a few preventative steps to protect your home and your investment.