Water damage occurs to homes nearly every day of the year. Moisture originating from the plumbing or weather events can create both minor and major problems. If you’ve never experienced water damage before, it’s a good idea to be aware of the steps that should be taken in the event of a problem. These are the top 9 actions you need to take after the property faces water damages.
1. Turn Off Electricity and Gas Lines
Turn off your electricity and gas lines when you face water damage, reports Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. This step is particularly important if the water damage is associated with flooding. Water becomes a conductor with electrical wiring in questionable condition.
If you have minor water damage, this step may be skipped. Simply use your common sense to assess the situation.
2. Keep Children and Pets Away From the Area
Ideally, send the children and family pets to a loved one’s home. Water damage goes hand in hand with mold and mildew growth. Spores can easily thrive and become airborne. Be sure to protect yourself as you survey the damage. Wearing a face mask might be a good idea. Some spores are particularly toxic when breathed in.
3. Contact the Insurance Company
Every homeowner must have insurance. It’s the law in most states. You’re required to notify the insurance of any loss. Pull your policy out, and give them a call. The company should create a claim with an associated adjuster.
The adjuster will visit the home as quickly as possible. He or she must verify the extent of the damage.
4. Collect Important Items
Some damages are pretty extensive. The home may be significantly damaged. In these cases, collect any important items within the home. Important papers, heirlooms and other items should be pulled and taken to a secure location. This task is particularly important if the home is uninhabitable. You want to keep those items with you in case the property is vulnerable to theft.
5. Take Many Photos
Your insurance adjuster will take many photos of the property, but that fact doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same. Immediately following the damage, capture the images with your smartphone or digital camera. Take photos from several different angles. The perspective will help you recover your losses with the insurance company.
6. Discard Waterlogged Items
Some items cannot be salvaged after water damage. Carpet, furniture and drywall are several examples. They soak up the moisture and contaminants. Drying them out is nearly impossible. There will always be contaminants.
With the approval of the insurance company, you’re welcome to safely discard the waterlogged items. The home can start with a dry space as recovery efforts continue.
7. Dry Out the Premises
Lowes points out that drying out your property is a crucial step. Standing water corrodes materials and harbors microbes.
A remediation team can bring industrial-strength blowers to dry out the water damage. They use specialized meters to verify when the moisture has left the materials. These blowers usually take a few days to fully dry out the home.
8. Consider Temporary Housing
With blowers and unusual odors emanating from the water damage, it’s normally a good idea to seek out temporary housing. Your insurance might cover a hotel stay, or you may stay with loved ones. Finding a stable place to stay is important as an immediate step. It helps you normalize the situation, especially if children are involved.
9. Choose a Reputable Contractor
A final step to take after experiencing water damage is hiring a qualified contractor. Ask about expertise involving water damage or floods in the past. Many contractors work exclusively in this area. They should be licensed, bonded and insured.
This contractor will be in charge of fixing up the property. Create a strong, communication channel with the crew so that your requests are integrated into the repairs.
Always keep in touch with your insurance company during the recovery process. The repairs will go smoothly as a result of your efforts. With some time and professional help, your home can look like no water has ever touched its walls. Fight the corrosive nature of water by following these steps. Ignoring water damage will only compound the problem.