Even clean water damage such as occurs when a faucet is left running causing an overflow, or the water line on your refrigerator breaks, there is potential for any residue on carpets and floors to mix with the clean water and create an unwanted mess.
The most common results of water damage are sodden drywall, ruined carpets and shorted-out electrical circuits, all which add to the problem. When cleanup and repair efforts are not undertaken immediately there is potential for mold to start sprouting, causing further damage to the home.
Whether caused by flood waters or a clean water leak it is imperative that the affected area be put under quarantine at the earliest possible moment.
Safety is the Priority
The safety of your family should be your first concern when dealing with the results of water damage. Electricity and water do not play nicely together so all main power switches should be turned off immediately and steps taken to insure water does not come in contact with them. If the main switches have already come in contact with water it is advised that you leave the house immediately until the water is removed completely.
Stop Further Water Damage
In the case of a plumbing leak, once you are confident that it is safe to enter the home, it is imperative that the water mains be shut off to stop further damage from running water. Any attempts to clean up will be in vain if water is allowed to continue to flow, and the potential for structural damage to occur rises the longer water is left sitting or running.
If the water damage is caused by flooding or torrential rains there is little point in attempting to undertake any cleanup until weather conditions improve and the cause of the flooding subsides. What can be done however is to take steps to try and stop further water entering your home. Sandbagging the exterior of the home, fitting shutters to windows and placing tarps over roof holes can all help to reduce the damage to the interior of your home.
Clean Up and Dry Out
Soaking up the water and drying out the home is critical. The sooner that the drying out process can begin the better the chances are that extensive damage is avoided. If water is allowed to lie for any length of time it will soak into walls, floors and carpets, inviting mold to start growing. Mold is a serious health hazard and all steps should be taken to avoid it occurring. When undertaking the clean up and drying out process you should always wear a breathing mask and protective clothing such as gloves, coveralls and waterproof boots. This will reduce the chance for disease to be spread when coming in contact with sewage and / or chemically contaminated water.
If the water damage was significant enough it is likely that furniture and carpets became damaged beyond saving, and should be removed from the home as quickly as possible. Your insurance company will need to know what items were disposed of and the value of them. Everything that came into contact with water will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Electronics will likely need to be replaced if water has affected them to the point where they no longer work properly.
Water damage should be taken very seriously and that is why hiring a team of professionals who are experienced in dealing with all forms of water damage is highly recommended. They will have all the necessary tools, techniques and knowledge to be able to come into your home and take the necessary steps to clean, dry out and repair the home back to what it was prior to the damage occurring.