Water damage and flooding can be catastrophic for your home. Not only are such disasters physically damaging to the property, but they also bring a lot of anxiety and emotional turmoil.
While it can be challenging to think clearly in a situation like this, it’s imperative that you take immediate corrective action to ensure the best possible outcome.
The Eight Steps You Need to Take
Whether the water damage has been caused by falling water, ground water, or an problem with your home water system, you need to act swiftly and properly. The longer you wait, the greater the likelihood that water will penetrate below the surfaces of your home and cause much more serious damage.
Every situation is unique, of course, but there are several essential and necessary steps you’ll want to take to ensure efficient and effective restoration. Take a look at a few of them:
- Protect Your Health
Though it’s tough to watch your home sustain damage, you have to place your own health above that of your home. When your living space is exposed to water damage, it’s entirely acceptable to be selfish. Put yourself first and your home and belongings second.
If the water damage resulted from a natural disaster or a flood that forced you to leave, do not be in a rush to return. FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is adamant about checking for signs of visible structural damage — such as cracks, holes, warped wood, and sagging ceilings — before you enter a structure.
You should also contact the local water, gas, and electric companies if you suspect any damage that could involve your home’s systems. If the structure has been exposed to water for more than a few hours, it’s possible that moisture and humidity has already lead to mold, mildew, or bacterial growth.
Be careful about what you touch, and wear a mask to avoid breathing in potentially harmful air.
It’s vital to keep in mind that water — even if it looks clean — can be contaminated with household chemicals or sewage after a disaster. It’s also difficult to judge accurately where you’re stepping when water is more than a couple of inches deep. It’s best to wear waterproof boots that have reinforced soles.
- Disconnect the Power
Before doing anything else, you need to make sure the power inside your home is turned off. Even if it isn’t operational, the safest thing you can do is turn off the main box and all individual fuses.
This will keep you safe, should the power be reactivated suddenly. The last thing you want is to be standing in water when electricity starts to course throughout your structure.
- Assess the Damage
Once you’ve made sure you and your family are safe from electricity and structural collapse, you can assess the nature of the damage. Things could turn out to be much better or worse than you anticipated.
Perform a visual inspection and make notes of everything that’s affected. Is it just the floor and baseboards, or were appliances and furniture impacted? Is the ceiling damaged, or did water enter through the ground floor?
This information will provide context for understanding the conditions more thoroughly.
- Take Pictures
As you walk through the damaged areas, snap some pictures. The smartest thing you can do is keep a visual record of everything. The photos will not only help you with insurance claims, but they can also be referenced when it comes time to repair or decorate in the future.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Speaking of insurance, this is the time to call your agent and let her or him know about the situation. If flooding has occurred throughout the area, it may take a while for your agent to arrive, but letting the person know as soon as possible is essential.
If the water damage is exclusive to your home, a good agent will more likely pay you that visit within a few hours. Here’s a good guide for what’s generally covered water damage and flooding are involved.
- Remove Undamaged Items
When you’re dealing with water, you want to keep the damage as isolated as possible. This means removing the items that were not affected initially, and protecting the surrounding areas.
For example, if you have standing water on a main floor and there’s a basement beneath, it’s smart to protect the rooms underneath in case water trickles down through the ceiling, which it most assuredly will. Water can be unpredictable, so it’s best to take as many precautions as possible.
- Get Rid of Standing Water
As soon as possible, you need to begin removing any standing water from your home. Depending on the situation, you might have to this by hand. If so, the old-fashioned method of buckets, towels, and mops will have to do.
However, if you have electricity and it appears to be safe to plug equipment into certain outlets, then you can use a wet vacuum or sump pump. This equipment can be purchased from any local hardware store … and most businesses will allow you to rent models for the few necessary days you’ll actually need it.
- Call the Professionals
While the DIY spirit inside of you may say, “I don’t need help,” the reality of the situation is that serious cases of flooding and water damage typically demand professional assistance. After removing some of the standing water and protecting your home from further damage as best you can, it’s probably time to call a professional water damage and restoration company to finish the job.
If flooding has damaged your home — whether from a natural disaster, burst pipe, or anything in between — it’s crucial that you act as soon as possible. Delaying even a few hours can mean the difference between being able to salvage something and having to replace it.
Thankfully, a single phone call to John Moore is all that’s necessary. At John Moore, we are proud to be recognized as one of Houston’s premier water damage and restoration experts.
Whether you have a few water spots on your ceiling or a basement full of standing water, we can help restore your home to its original glory. For more information and to request service, please contact us today!