Water may be essential to human life, but it can spell death for a home. Water damage can cause all sorts of a headache for homeowners, both immediately after the damage occurs and in the long run. From floods to leaky faucets, water damage is a serious pain and can cause significant health and safety issues. Follow this guide to stop, repair, and prevent water damage in your home.
Fixing Up After a Flood Residential Water Damage
Stop the flow of water
. If the flooding has been caused by a burst pipe or a water heater failure, shut off the main water line for your home.
Get in touch with an expert immediately if you cannot tell from where the water is coming.
Turn off the power. If your home is flooded, cut off the electricity and gas from the main source. This isn’t as essential for small leaks or puddles, but for large floods turn them off to be safe.
Do not handle electrical appliances unless you are properly insulated.
If you have to stand in water to turn off the main electricity, consult with an electrician
Assess the damage. Before you begin your cleanup effort, first determine if rebuilding is even a worthwhile option. Take ample photos and other documentation to show the insurance company.
Rescue your most valuable possessions. If you can, find and remove your most important items from the flooded area, such as heirlooms, money, jewelry, etc. Don’t spend too much time extracting and cleaning individual items, as the water is still doing damage to your home.
Get rid of standing water. The longer the water sits, the more damage it will cause. As soon as it is safe, pump out any standing water. If you are dealing with a natural flood, wait to pump until the flood waters have receded below your house.
Wear proper protective gear. When working in a flooded area, be sure to wear rubber boots, gloves, and a mask or respirator.
Keep children and pets away from any standing flood water, as it is often contaminated.
Place the pump at the lowest spot of the flooded floor. If the water is deep, you may need to lower the pump using a nylon rope.
If dealing with a small amount of flooding, you may be able to use a wet-dry shop vacuum to remove the water. These often only hold 4–5 gallons (15.1–18.9 L), so you may find yourself emptying it often.
Clean up debris. Be careful, as there could be nails and other materials left behind by the flood water.
Mud left behind by floods often contain a significant amount of toxins. Shovel out as much mud as possible, and spray down your walls with clean water. Make sure to check for mud in air ducts, as it will be hazardous when it dries.
Snakes and rats may seek shelter in your home after a flood
Allow appliances to air dry. Do not use any appliances or outlets until they have had enough time to completely dry. Check with each manufacturer for recommended action.