Discovering water damage in your home can be scary. Whether a drain backed up, a pipe burst, or your home flooded, you have to see past the mess to discover what comes next. It’s hard to move past the initial damage and shock and take action.
You’re wondering what happens next. What do you do if you have water damage in your home? The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to limit the damage. Mold can start to form from water damage around 24 hours after the water starts to form, so you have to act quickly. Since there’s no time to waste, let’s get started.
1. Shut Down the Water Source
The first thing to do is to shut down the water source as soon as possible. Next, you need to turn off the electricity. If you’re not sure where the water is coming from, shut down all of the water on your property.
You can’t assess the damage until you’ve turned off the water, so make sure this step is taken first. When in doubt, hire an emergency professional to help you ensure the water is turned completely off. If you own your home, proceed to the next step. If not, contact your landlord and explain the situation and wait for their next steps.
2. Identify Your Water Type
You probably didn’t know there were different types of water, but there are when it comes to water in your home. Here’s what you need to look for:
- Clean water – The first type of water is known as “clean water.” This is water that’s come from rain, leaky pipes, or another “clean” source. This water is much easier to clean, and you can do a lot of the work yourself.
- Grey water – This type is dirtier than clean water, as the name implies. It could be from the dishwasher, washing machines, clean toilets, and other areas that aren’t completely clean. This water might have some contaminants, so you’ll need to be careful if you choose to clean it yourself.
- Black water – Finally, black water is the most dangerous type of water. This is any type of serious flooding from sewage, rivers, or a nearby body of water. This water is full of contaminants like bacteria and other harmful materials. You should never try to clean this water type on your own.
3. Look for Mold
Aside from determining which type of water you have in your home, you’ll want to look for signs of mold. The reason for this is because some types of mold can form quickly, and they could be harmful to you and your family members if they’re injected.
If you find signs of mold, you’ll need to be very careful. If the infected area is small, you can bag it and dispose of it yourself. If it’s a large area, shut down airflow to the area and call a professional immediately. Educate yourself about the signs of mold, remembering that some of the mold might be hidden in the walls or under the floorboards.
4. Dry Your Home
The first step you need to take other than reviewing your home for contaminants and molds is to dry out the affected area. Moisture is what causes mold and damage, so drying should be your first priority. You can use fans to circulate the air or even a large-capacity dehumidifier.
To remove the water, use a water pump or towels. depending on the size of the affected area, it might be easy to fully dry the area. Just make sure you’re continuously airing the exposed space to promote drying quickly.
5. Throw Away Damaged Materials
Finally, you need to throw away any damaged materials. This includes anything that’s been contaminated with mold or unclean water. Any porous materials like carpet, fabric, and insulation need to be thrown away since the water will continuously damage them even after you think they’ve dried.
If there’s something you want to keep, such as a beloved piece of furniture, you’ll need to isolate it and dry it quickly. When in doubt, throw it out. It’s hard to reclaim things that have been exposed to water for too long. Remember that any unsealed cement, wood, and drywall count as porous materials.
Restore Your Home After Water Damage
If you’re wondering what to do if you have water damage in your home, start with these tips above. The good news is most home insurance plans offer coverage for water damage. That means you can have a professional help you with this process so your home is back to normal in no time.
Sudden events like a pipe burst are likely to be included in your coverage, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance if you’re not sure. Water damage can be catastrophic in your home, especially if it’s been going on for a while. The good news is that the sooner you take action, the less disastrous the damage will be.