Water damage emergencies are a common catastrophe. Approximately 14,000 homes and businesses undergo some form of water damage each day. The key to overcoming the destruction is quick action from the property owner. Here are ways to limit water damage if a home undergoes a flood.
The losses that result from water damage are significant. About 37 percent of homeowners report losses due to water damage. A hefty 98 percent of basements will inevitably flood during their lifespans. The average cost of water damage insurance claims is $6965.
Step 1: Ensure Safety
Clearly, a water damage emergency must be dealt with swiftly to avoid costly repairs and losses. Homeowners who are confronted with a water damage disaster are advised to firstly ensure the safety of the home’s occupants by shutting off the power to the home.
Dress in protective gear, such as rubber boots and gloves, before wading into the water. Floodwaters teem with bacteria, mold and other toxic substances that can be harmful to human health. The water may also be contaminated—which may not be immediately visible.
Once inside the property, shut off the water supply. This step prevents more water from leaking inside, especially if the leak is due to a burst pipe or malfunctioning appliance. Call the city to ensure the storm drains are open if the flood is due to a rainstorm.
Visually examine the home. Walls and floors that appear buckled are indications that structural damage has occurred. Being inside a damaged property is a safety risk since the walls and floors could collapse. Warped and cracked foundations are also safety hazards.
Any suspicions of damage to the gas, electric and sewer lines should prompt a call to the utility company. Also notify the insurance company of the water damage; gather evidence of ruined belongings and structures by taking numerous photos, videos, and detailed notes.
Flood Safety – What to Do in Case of Water Damage – ServiceMaster Restore Video
Step 2: Remove Standing Water
Removal of the standing floodwater should only begin once the insurance company has authorized cleanup. Use a bucket to bail out the water and a hose to siphon out excess floodwater. A wet vac may be used to suction out large amounts of water from carpets and floors.
Be aware that the rapid removal of floodwater is necessary to avoid additional repairs and extensive demolition. The longer standing water is allowed to remain in the property, the greater the property damage will be. Consequently, water damage restoration will become costlier.
Water is pervasive, meaning moisture can trickle into concealed areas, through structural materials in floors and into walls and ceilings. Moisture meters are able to detect water inside these structural cavities. Use moisture meters to locate moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth.
A professional water damage restoration professional will be adequately equipped with moisture meters. Without addressing the moisture in hidden areas, the building materials are likely to shrink, split and otherwise gradually deteriorate. A professional inspection will ensure hidden water is eliminated.
Step 3: Salvage Goods
Salvage any belongings by moving them to higher ground and away from the water damaged areas. The sooner the damp household goods are removed from the premises, the faster they can dry out. Mold spores can latch onto wet items in as little as 24 hours.
Step 4: Dry and Disinfect
Drying the property is the next step to limiting water damage to the home. If weather permits, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate and accelerate the drying process. Run the air conditioner or heater and set up industrial fans or dehumidifiers in rooms.
Wooden subflooring can take months to fully dry. Remove the flooring to expose the subflooring and allow it to dry. Discard floodwater-drenched carpet padding. Carpets may be salvaged upon meeting two conditions: the floodwater is not contaminated, and the carpet is underwater for less than 24 hours.
Large pieces of furniture that have become dampened by floodwater will attract mold colonies before they are able to fully dry. As a health safety measure, throw out the wet furniture. Disinfection of building materials and wood is the next step.
Mold spores are extremely tiny and cannot be seen. Homeowners can prevent a mold infestation after a flood by disinfecting the property. Prepare a solution of hot water and detergent to wash the walls, floors, and other building materials. Follow by disinfecting with a 10 percent bleach solution.
Step 5: Rebuild
After the home has been fully dried and disinfected, rebuilding may begin. The extent of the restoration depends on the level of water damage. Weeks of construction may be necessary for severe water damage; minimal water damage may require only mopping and drying.
Prepare to reconstruct the home by utilizing the reimbursement provided by the homeowner’s insurance company. While labor costs and building materials should be factored into the reconstruction plan, also include the costs of replacing furniture, electronics, and other household items.
ServiceMaster Flood Damage Restoration Services
Savvy homeowners know that immediately consulting a reputable water damage restoration company, like ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning, is the key to successfully limiting further water damage to a flooded home. Our technicians arrive promptly to halt the spread of water damage.
Our flood damage cleanup services are comprehensive. We begin with an emergency extraction of the water followed by a thorough dehumidification. We sanitize the property and apply an antimicrobial solution to safeguard against waterborne pathogens. Our technicians monitor moisture levels.
If your property undergoes extensive water damage, ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning specialists are available for demolition and debris removal services. We also provide air quality control services. Carpet and upholstery cleaning are a routine part of our water damage mitigation services.
ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning technicians also assist homeowners with filing insurance claims. If you need temporary storage to house water damaged goods, we are equipped with secure storage facilities. Mold remediation is an important part of our water damage restoration process.
Homeowners who live in the surrounding communities of Houston, Texas, are encouraged to call ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning for any-sized water damage disaster. Our licensed, highly skilled technicians are available on an emergency basis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.