Water damage can cause all types of problems for homeowners, whether immediately after the damage occurs or later on. Whether leaky faucets, floods or mold, water damage is a serious issue and can cause both safety and health issues in a home. Follow these helpful tips in order to stop, repair and prevent water damage in your home.
How to Fix Flood Damage
First, stop the flow of water. If flooding has caused a water heater failure problem or a burst pipe, shut off the main water line for your home. Hire a professional immediately if you cannot determine where the water is coming from. If your home is flooded, turn off both the gas and the electricity (this is only necessary for large issues not for small leaks or puddles). Never handle electrical appliances unless they are insulated.
Assess the damage by determining if rebuilding is worthwhile (for major damage). Take photos and other documentations to show one’s insurance company. Rescue all valuable possessions. Get rid of all standing water. The longer that that water sits the more damage it can cause. As soon as it is safe to do so, pump any standing water out of the home. Wear proper protective gear. When working in a flooded area, make sure to wear a mask, gloves and rubber boots. Place the pump at the lowest spot of the flooded floor. Clean up all debris and allow all appliances to air dry before using them.
Mold & Mildew
Look for signs of mold in crawlspaces, rafters, between walls and air ducts. Act quickly after finding water damage as mildew and mold will start to develop within a day or two of exposure to moisture. It can quickly grow until the moisture is removed. If any cables or wiring are moldy, shut off the power before cleaning. Have an electrician closely examine these wires before turning the power back on.
Dry out the air. Open windows if humidity outside of the home is lower than it is inside to prevent mold growth or to deter more from growing. Use fans to remove the moisture only if the mold isn’t clear in the area as fans can spread spores. Remove all wet items from the area immediately. Remove all moisture from ceilings and walls. If the wall has water damage from a floor, remove all of the wet materials including wood products, anything porous such as drywall and insulation. Also remove the wallboard to a foot above the water mark. Drain all walls by removing baseboards and drill holes near the floor. Look inside the walls for mold growth.
If you have significant mold growth, consider hiring professional cleaners. Mold can be hazardous. Make sure that the area is well-ventilated and always wear eye protection and gloves if tackling the project on your own. Clean all hard surfaces such as glass, metal, solid wood and plastic first with non-ammonia soap and hot water. Disinfect all surfaces after cleaning with 10% bleach solution. Allow this solution to stay on the surface for at least 10 minutes before rinsing the area with clean water. Clean all rugs, books, carpets, bedding, furniture and clothing. Disinfect with pine-oil cleaner and allow materials to dry completely.
Prevent Future Mold Growth
Replace all damaged materials with flood-prone materials such as tile, sealed concrete, waterproof wallboards or stone. Put indoor/outdoor carpeting in basements and use water-resistant glues. Checks for cracks or leaks around each door and windows to make sure all seals are watertight. Look for discoloration in paint and/or caulk. Also look for any swelling around frames themselves. Seal any cracks in the foundation as they can cause major damage to a home’s structure. Replace all shingle coming loose. Prevent seepage from occurring by making sure that all gutters and drainage pipes drain water away from the home. This is achieved by the proper slope around a home.
File Insurance Claims
Call your insurance company and process a claim. The protection you have depends on your coverage and your agent can start this process immediately. Make a list of all damaged property before cleanup. A claims adjuster will know when you are disposing health hazards and many of those things can still be claimed. Keep all receipts during a flood to make sure that you get compensated properly. For example, supplies, any services hired or motel bills all can usually be claimed.