Winter months can bring a lot of water damage to Western North Carolina in the form of burst frozen pipes. If you’ve just experienced water damage in your home or business, the first thing you want to do is call a Disaster Restoration company (like us) right away. The reason for this is that you want to have a professional handle the cleanup and restoration process so that it’s completely and thoroughly done.
Here’s 7 things that you can do, right now, to lessen or prevent water damage from occurring.
Tip #1 – Shut Down the Water and Turn off Electricity
This seems obvious, but, be sure that you shut off your water main value and turn off the electricity at the breaker. Electricity and water don’t mix and are very dangerous to be around. Mold starts developing in standing water after around 24 hours. You don’t have time to wait around for mold to start developing. Did you know that after water damage, mold can grow behind your walls? You don’t want that.
Tip #2 – Document Everything
Having evidence of your damage will help with your insurance claim down the line. Pull out your smartphone and take pictures of everything. If any of your friends or family are there, ask them to take pictures as well. It can really help if you have a DSLR digital camera. Go through your home and business and patiently document everything.
Tip #3 – Find The Water Source
After you’ve turned off the water, it’s time to investigate for the water source. Sometimes the source will be obvious, like water pouring through a burst pipe or basement window. If you can’t find the source, be very careful because it could be a sewage backup situation. Sewage backup can be toxic!
There are actually three different types of water:
- Clean water: from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, etc. This type of water can sometimes be cleaned up by yourself.
- Gray water: slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc. This type of water can have contaminants and needs special gear to cleanup. We recommend hiring a specialist. Black water is dangerouns and can cause very serious health problems. Do not every try to clean up black water yourself. Call processionals.
- Black water: sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, etc.
If the source of the water is clear and you can stop it, do so. Turn the water off to your building to combat a spraying pipe or overflowing shower, or close an open window.
Tip #4 – Wear the Right Gear
If you find clean or gray water, next it’s time to prepare for doing the cleanup. Be sure that you have the right gear to do this type of cleanup. Buy a mask if you don’t have one. Be sure you’re wearing closed toed shoes. You want as little of your body as possible to be exposed to the water. Don’t enter water that’s too deep! Protect your hands by wearing gloves. Gloves will protect your hands from scrapes and abrasions that could let in waterborne bacteria. You want to protect yourself by keeping your skin away from water as much as possible! Don’t enter the water if you have any open wounds.
Tip #5 – Remove Damaged Items
Once you’re wearing the right type of gear, it’s time to remove any and all damaged items such as carpet and furniture. If you find anything soaked in water, you’ll need to either remove the item completely or cut them out and dispose of them. Water will permanently damage most porous materials by shrinking or warping them, and mildew will damage them even further. If you really have a precious piece of furniture that you want to save, remove the item from the area and try drying it out.
What you’re looking to remove is porous materials such as:
- unsealed cement
Move these materials out to a dry area where they won’t contaminate other places. Don’t let them drip on your carpet!
Tip #6 – Dry Out the Area
Very soon, the restoration crew will be arriving. You can help out the process by removing moisture ASAP before it causes more damage. Use fans to circulate air in the affected area. If you have one, use a dehumidifier to dry out the surrounding wood, carpet, and materials. You don’t want any moisture left in the area.
By now, the restoration crew should be arriving. They’ll take over removing water and property. In time, your house will be like new–particularly if you followed these restoration tips. Stay safe and take action!
Tip #7 – Decontamination
As the restoration crew takes over, now it’s time to take care of yourself. Remove all your clothes and take a long and thorough shower to remove any contamination on your body. Call a doctor if you start experiencing couching, itching, or any other health issues.
Call A Professional
A large amount of water is virtually impossible to contain. If your home has visible water damage, it more than likely has damage in places that you cannot see. Water can sneak underneath carpets, seep under walls, and slip through all sorts of cracks. An untrained person will only be able to decontaminate a fraction of the water damage. However, a professional will know exactly where to check for contaminants that can harm you. A professional service will also come equipped with all the necessary tools for cleanup. If your home or business has experienced water damage, get in touch with us today at 828-595-4776 or the contact page.