Coming home to find your living space floors soaked in water is a complete nightmare. But this situation is a common reality for many homeowners. Studies show that water leaks from US homes can exceed 1 trillion gallons of water annually. That’s how common this issue is. Whether it’s from a burst bathroom pipe or a storm, a feeling of helplessness takes over as you watch the water residue slowly climb your walls. As if that’s not bad enough, you must brace yourself for one challenging task – cleaning up the damage, repairing, and restoring your living space. If you’re in such a frustrating situation, use the following tips to make the restoration process less difficult.
Identify the source
The first thing is to identify the culprit behind this nightmare. Water damage can originate from many places in your home – chief among them are burst and leaking pipes. But extreme weather (not helped by a leaking roof), clogged gutters, a broken sprinkler system, air conditioner condensation, a washing machine supply-line leakage, and leaky water heaters are some of the other common culprits. Check the parts of your home where these leakages are most likely and assess the situation. This way, you’ll know the next step to take.
Call a plumber or contractor
After identifying the issue and assessing the situation, find out if there’s something you can do to stop the flow. Maybe you hurriedly left home and forgot to turn off the tap. In that case, when you notice what has happened, please turn it off immediately. If the damage is beyond your capabilities, call an expert. Since it’s water-damaged, you’ll need a professional and certified plumber to handle it. Let them know the source of damage as soon as they arrive so they don’t waste time troubleshooting. The leakage may be due to a poorly laid-out bathroom design, old flooring, and leaky fixtures. You’ll need more than a plumber in this case. Complete bathroom remodeling will be ideal, and you’ll have to call an experienced team instantly.
Turn off the power
You can skip this point if you’re dealing with only a small amount of water. But if your basement is flooded, for example, please turn off the main power. Why? Because some of your electrical outlets may be submerged under the water. And the last thing you want is to risk electrocution. If the main circuit panel is out of reach because of the water level, your only option is to call your utility provider and have them turn off your power. You can only start drying up the place after cutting the main electricity. And don’t forget to call an electrician to inspect parts of your wiring that may have come into contact with the water. Do this before you consider plugging anything back in.
Dry the location immediately
Now, to the hard part. Speed is of the essence when fixing your home, so start drying the affected area as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more time you give the water to soak into walls, fabric, and any porous material. That means you risk mold and mildew growing in all affected areas. Don’t underestimate how fast these hazards can grow. Mold, for example, can grow within 24 hours if you leave the water standing, so you must act quickly. Try removing as many things from the flooded area as possible, including that heavy piece of furniture, to make the drying process less difficult. You can rent a couple of industrial-strength fans to speed up the drying process. Regular fans can help if the damage is not that extensive.
Get rid of the dirt
The hard part isn’t over yet. After drying out the place, remove dirt in the affected place. Water alone isn’t enough to cause mold and mildew to grow fast; it combines dirt, water, and other organic matter. So, once you mop up and remove any standing water, jump straight into full cleaning gear. Scrub the affected area with a mild detergent. But only use a cleaner appropriate for each surface you work on. You risk discoloring a surface if the cleaner or detergent is too strong.
Reassess the area for hidden moisture
Sometimes, you feel you’ve done a good job cleaning and drying an area only to notice excess water or moisture in hidden places. Perform a complete assessment of your property, not just the area directly affected by the water. Check under the flooring in connected rooms. Examine the padding beneath the rugs in other areas. You want to ensure water or moisture hasn’t found its way to other parts of your home. If they have, clear those areas and deploy your industrial fans (or the regular ones) to thoroughly dry the affected places.
Also, inspect your roof, ceiling, and siding for moisture. Excess moisture can affect these areas and leave you with costly damages, especially if your roof, siding, and shingles are not properly sealed.
Contact a water restoration professional
The above tips should work if you’re dealing with inches of water. But if the flood level is deep, it’s time to bring in the ‘big guns’; contact a water restoration professional. These are specialists in water damage repairs and restoration. They’re trained to contain water damage, salvage restorable items, and accelerate the drying time. These specialists are well-equipped and can pump dry air into the affected space more efficiently. They also know how quickly to handle the damage so you can salvage as many belongings as possible. They’ll ensure the water damage does not compromise the structural integrity of your home and foundation.
Repair and disinfect the area
Once you’re certain the water is thoroughly dry and have cleaned the place, you must repair all affected structures and items in the affected area. Also, getting rid of the dirt may not be enough. After the repair work, it would help if you disinfected the place, including all surrounding spaces. Use appropriate products to eliminate bacteria so you don’t expose yourself (and your family) to health risks. Doing this is particularly important if sewage water invades your living space because of the water damage.