Taking fast action after water damage has occurred is vital for preserving your home and its contents. Your efforts will prevent the development of mold and mildew, preserve your indoor air quality, limit the destruction of building materials, and ensure that your property retains its value and overall integrity. Here are 7 steps you can take to dry out your water damaged home.
1. Identify the Source of the Leak
The very first step in these efforts is to identify the source of the leak. Attempting to extract water from flooded areas will not prove beneficial if more water is still flowing in. Whether you have a burst or leaking pipe, a whole-house back-up in the plumbing system, or a broken appliance, the problem must be identified and resolved at its source before water damage restoration can occur.
2. Determine the Type of Water You’re Dealing With
There are three basic types of water that homeowners can encounter. Clear water is any water that comes from a fresh, potable source, such as a leaking pipe or faucet. Clear water is not likely to contain biological or chemical contaminants and it does not pose any significant threat to human health.
Gray water is the second type of flood water that homeowners can encounter, and is often emitted from broken appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. It can contain moderate amounts of biological and chemical contaminants and should be treated with care.
Finally, there is black water. This is water that enters the home from a backed up sewer line or other, similar source. It is filled with harmful microorganisms, biological waste, and chemical contaminants. This type of water should only be addressed by trained professionals with the proper extraction and clean-up equipment.
3. Extract Standing Pools of Water
Standing bodies of water should be extracted as quickly as possible. Before doing so, however, homeowners should have their utilities turned off in order to prevent electrical shock. Wet/dry vacuums can be used for the initial process, but a professional should be called to ensure that all of the affected materials are thoroughly dry. Collections of water along baseboards and in corners can be dried with mops or paper towels.
4. Remove Items That Have Been Saturated
Saturated floor rugs, furnishings, and other items should be taken out of the home to dry, and for any special restorative treatments.
5. Address Moisture Trapped In Air Pockets With Heaters
Water damage can have a long-term effect on building materials, given the air pockets that these materials contain. Strategically position small area heaters near all affected areas in order to dry these pockets out. Severely damaged drywall and baseboards will need to be removed. The drying process should be continuously monitored in order to look for new problems, and to ensure that the chosen methods are working.
6. Remove Excess Moisture from the Air
Open windows and doors to ventilate the home, and set up air movers. These will remove excess moisture in the air so that indoor humidity levels return to normal.
7. Treat Affected Surfaces to Eliminate Harmful Microorganisms and Odors
Once all affected surfaces are dry, these must be treated with powerful disinfecting and deodorizing solutions. This is an important step for preventing mold growth and the development of strong, unpleasant odors.
Homeowners should submit insurance claims for water damage as quickly as possible as this will also play a major role in expediting the clean-up process. It is vital to hire a professional emergency restoration company to ensure that proper safety and clean-up equipment is used.