Water damage can occur as a result of a number of incidents, including excess rain and flooding, basements or plumbing leaks, and after-effects of a fire put out with excess water. Several months ago, we published a blog on How the Water Restoration Process Works. This blog will focus on actions that you should consider taking immediately after the water damage occurs.
5 Actions to Take ASAP after Water Damage
Because it doesn’t take very long before excess water can advance to more devastating damage, you need to take immediate action. Here are some tips (and cautions) to help you mitigate the damage as much as you can.
1. Be Safe!
If the damage is extensive, you may need to vacate the premises while the professionals take over. Before you do so, and while awaiting the arrival of the professionals, you may want to take care of a few things, but only if it’s completely safe to do so. If you have any doubts as to the safety of the environment, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
If deemed safe to enter the premises, make sure to wear protective gear, like rubber gloves and boots. You may even consider wearing a helmet to protect yourself from falling debris. The first item to take care of is the electricity. Turn off all power and unplug electrical devices. Turn off the main water shut-off valve to avoid further water damage.
2. Call Your Insurance Company
The water damage restoration may or may not be covered by your insurance; it depends on the circumstances and your level of coverage. It doesn’t hurt to check in with your agent whether or not they will pay toward the cleanup process.
Take photos of the damage and all valuables. If you were diligent enough to have taken before pictures as well, comparing them will make it easier to assess the level of damage. Any photos can help the insurance adjustor assess the damage.
3. Determine the Source of the Water Damage
Water damage can be caused by three different types of water:
- Clean water (Category 1) – comes from a sanitary source like an indoor water pipe or water heater. It usually poses no substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure.
- Gray water (Category 2) – contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if contacted or consumed by humans.
- Black water (Category 3) – is grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic or other harmful agents. Such water sources may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances.
4. Proceed with Cleanup of Category 1 Water
If you are positive that the excess water is from a clean source, you can proceed further in cleaning it up and drying out the premises and its contents. If it’s warm weather, turn down the air conditioning; if cold weather, crank up the heat. This will accelerate the dry-out process. Remove area rugs to a dry spot. Put foil or plastic underneath furniture legs to protect it from further damage.
5. Call the Professionals at St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration
If you are unsure of the extent or source of the excess water, or if you suspect the water is either Category 2 or 3, it’s best to have as little contact with it as possible to avoid contamination and illness. Calling in the professionals is your best course of action here.
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration has experienced technicians in the water restoration process. They also have the equipment, expertise and resources to safely restore your home to its pre-damaged condition.
St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration offers 24/7 emergency service because we know quick response is crucial to proper restoration after catastrophic events. Contact us immediately for help in these situations.