The repair of minor water damage in your home can be handled with standard DIY techniques. This guide will take you from complete recovery to “just maintaining” until professional help arrives.
- Safety First!
Even if the water is clear and comes from relatively clean source, (called a category 1 spill) it can turn sour in a short period of time. Always wear gloves and boots. If you have respiratory problems, or are prone to infections, consider a mask and goggles too. If you must use electric, run a cord from a non-flooded room, and never use fan or electric tools in standing water.
- Stop the leak
Shut off the water to the area or appliance. If you’re not exactly sure what is leaking, you’re going to shut off water to your house until you can find it. Locate your main valve BEFORE you have an emergency. If you don’t know how to turn it off when an emergency arises, calling the water company or 911 will get you the help you need. Depending on the severity of flooding, you might want to cut off any gas or electric as well.
- Document the damage before you clean
Take as many pictures and videos as you can. Get lots of angles, and close ups of any damages. The better documentation you have, easier it is to get your insurance to pay. Try to maintain integrity of the scene. Only throw away things you must (like moldy items or broken glass) because of a danger factor. If you decide to file for damages, your agent will want to see the scene as “true” as possible.
- Remove all standing water
For the most part, towels buckets, mops, and possibly a fan should suffice for supplies. If you have standing water, and need to use a pump or fan, be extremely careful!
Remember: electricity and water don’t mix! As we discussed before, you may have to run extension cords from a non-flooded area. Never put anything electrical except a pump in standing water.
- Dry out walls and furnishings
Once the standing water is eliminated, and the floors are relatively dried, dry out the walls and furnishings (those that cannot be removed) with fans and dehumidifiers. Weather permitting; you might open doors and windows for a helpful cross breeze as well. You should keep air circulating in the affected area for a week to 10 days. If you have dehumidifiers, you can run them with the house closed up.
- Bleach (or any disinfectant) is your best friend!
You want to start disinfecting immediately. As water sits, mold and bacteria begin grow in it. Bleach is the most certain way to kill it, but can be harsh and must be handled with care. You can find a host of other safe and effective disinfectants at your local stores. If the mold or a sour smell persists after using a mild disinfectant, you may have to resort to bleach.
- Dispose of ruined items and elements ASAP
Not everything destroyed in a flood can be safely placed in a dumpster it is important to separate r electronics for proper disposal. You should also bag extremely moldy object or hazardous items to keep them contained before dumping. Water damaged electronics can be highly corroded, which is bad for the environment, mold and toxins, can spread quickly—even at a landfill.