Water damage is always a real threat to homeowners. Water intrusion can be immediate and disastrous such as flooding from heavy rains, burst pipes or a broken appliance. But even a tiny leak can become catastrophic if not addressed. The result of either water crisis is the wetness that can damage belongings, electrical systems and the building’s structural integrity. Moisture also allows mold to begin colonizing within 24 to 48 hours.
Reduce the Risk of Water Damage and Mold Growth
In the aftermath of a flood or excess water, there are essential steps you should take to protect your family and your property.
Step 1: Protect People and Property
Before entering the affected area, make sure it is safe to do so. Check for any electrical hazards and turn off the power supply to the affected area if necessary.
Step 2: Identify and Stop the Source of the Water
If the water damage is caused by a burst pipe, leaking appliance, or any other controllable source, shut off the water supply to prevent further flooding. Contact a plumber or relevant professional for assistance if you cannot stop the source.
Step 3: Notify the Insurance Company
If you have insurance coverage for water damage, contact your insurance company to report the incident and start the claims process. Document the damage with photographs and provide all necessary information as requested by your insurer.
Step 4: Salvage Your Valuables
Remove items from the affected area, including furniture, electronics, rugs, and personal belongings. Place them in a dry area to prevent additional damage.
Step 5: Remove Excess Water
If there is standing water, use a wet/dry vacuum, buckets, mops, or towels to remove as much water as possible. The faster you remove the water, the better your chance of preventing further damage and mold growth.
Step 6: Professional Inspection
Hiring a professional is the best option since not all damage is visible to the untrained eye. An experienced water damage inspector can identify materials and structures that need restoration or replacement.
Hidden Water Damage
The destruction and expense caused by long-term water damage are worse than the initial cleanup and replacement efforts of flooding or standing water. Water damage can be buried deep in your home’s structure and go unnoticed for weeks, months or years when it’s just a pinhole leak in a pipe or the result of improper cleanup or restoration. Signs you have hidden water damage quietly wreaking havoc on your home and health:
- Unusual odors that are musty, moldy or wet
- Paint or wallpaper that bubbles and peels
- Walls or ceilings with stains or discoloration
- Floors, baseboards or crown molding that are warping or buckling
- Ceiling tiles that are sagging or discolored
- Higher than normal indoor humidity or moisture levels
- Unexplained health issues
Schedule a Professional Water Damage Inspection
While homeowners or business owners can clean up many water issues, the possibility of missing a leak or wet materials is real. Left unchecked, water damage can lead to structural problems and mold growth, which can have long-term effects on your health or property. If your property has been affected by water intrusion or flooding, contacting a professional water damage inspector is the best way to minimize damage and ensure a healthy environment. They will conduct a thorough assessment to identify the extent of water damage in your home or business and make restoration recommendations.