Steps to Take After Water Damage

One of the most devastating things you can ever experience is severe water damage or flooding in your home. Whether you are dealing with broken pipes, leaking appliances, or more serious issues like sewer backups, flooded basements, or even water damage after a fire, they can all cause major issues.

Making matters worse, you have no time to waste in dealing with water damage repair. Mold can start developing in as little as 24 hours, even from small amounts of water. Water damage may also result in all sorts of safety hazards and structural problems that you may not even notice until it’s too late.

The first priority is stopping any leak you have or whatever the source of the problem. Once you have stopped it from causing more damage, you need to contact a professional to start taking the proper water damage restoration steps to repair and restore your home back to normal after a flood and prevent additional water damage and moisture damage in homes.

Flood Damaged Home

7 Immediate Steps to Take After Water Damage In Your Home

1. Call Your Insurance Company

Your homeowners’ insurance will vary depending on what policies you have. The insurance company will send an adjuster to look at and assess the damage and determine if it is a covered loss.

Document the values of each and every item you can think of and take as many photos as possible before, during, and after cleanup. This will help the adjuster when he or she is able to come assess the damage.

Note: Not all home insurance policies cover flood damage. For more information about how flood insurance works, check out our blog post.

Safety First after Water Damage!2. Protecting Yourself, Appliances, and Valuables

The most important step in any major home disaster like flooding and water damage, is to make sure yourself and your family are safe. There are several things you can do to stay safe in your home.

Turn off the power

Water and electricity obviously do not mix. But, if turning off the power requires you to enter or stand in wet areas it is best to leave it alone and call an electrician. Do not reenter a flood damaged home before turning the electricity off.

Wear Protective Gear

Be sure to wear protective clothing–such as rubber boots and gloves–when you re-enter your home. This will protect you from injuries that can get bacteria filled water in them.

Protect Your Valuables

You can lift wood furniture off the wet carpet areas and insert tin foil under the feet to prevent staining of the carpet. Likewise, remove any rugs that may be on wet flooring.

You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure it is also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. Don’t drive through any flooded areas!

3. Start Water Damage Repair Immediately

Before starting the process of water damage removal in a flooded home, be sure to document all of the damage first.  This will help with any future insurance claims you make. 

If possible, water damage restoration should start 24-48 hours after you’ve been cleared to re-enter your home. In many situations, the damage is too extensive for one person or family. Get help from a restoration service to stay safe and ensure the water damage removal process is done correctly.

Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home. Furniture may also need to be dried out, cleaned or thrown away depending on the level of water damage. Water and moisture can damage hardware floors quickly, so this process should be started as soon as possible.

4. Drying Out Your Home and Removing Humidity

If you decide to begin the drying process yourself, make sure you wear protective gear. Determine what is salvageable and throw away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use.

With a lot of standing water, you can start removing it with buckets or plastic tubs. Then use a mop to absorb excess water in hard-to-reach areas. Go and rent a wet-dry vacuum from a local hardware or even grocery store to finish the job once most of the water is gone and let the area ventilate and dry thoroughly.  Using a dehumidifier can help speed up this process. If there isn’t too much standing water, you can just use the wet-dry vacuum from the start.

Once all standing water is removed from your home, you will still have to tend to damp belongings, particularly if you live in a very humid area. If you are able to get your electricity back on, use central air conditioning to remove humidity. Floor fans such as Air Movers and dehumidifiers can help dry damp areas of your home as well.

Avoid mildew, molds, and other lingering issues that could result if you rush back in. You may need the assistance of a professional restoration contractor like Jenkins Restorations to ensure a dry home.

Time is of the essence and studies show that starting the drying a home within the first 24 hours and completely drying a home within 3-4 days will almost completely remove the risk of mold and mildew.

Mold in a home5. Identifying Mold

Mold can begin developing after the first 24 hours of a flood, and once it has started growing it can be difficult to remove. The quicker you remove items from water and begin drying them, the less likely they are to be lost to mold.

If it gets bad, you’ll often have to completely remove the affected areas. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional assess the situation.

Preventing Mold After Water Damage

As soon as you discover water damage in your home, it’s important to take what measures you can to prevent mold. Be careful that you’re not spreading mold spores throughout your home as you’re attempting to dry things out.

Usually, it’s best to have a professional assist with the drying process, significantly lowering the chances of getting mold.

In the event of mold, our sister company, Jenkins Environmental, can assist you in removing it and restoring your home to a safe and healthy condition.

6. Deciding What Needs To Be Restored After Water Damage

The repair of water damage in your home from flooding is typically what takes the longest amount of time. Flooring and sometimes even walls need to be replaced, broken possessions are often in need of repair, etc. If major construction is needed, make sure you hire an expert!

7. When To Move Back Into Your Home

Once you have the go ahead from your insurance company, your restoration/construction company, and your local government(in the case of natural disasters), it’s time to move back into your clean, dry, mold-free home!

Download this FREE guide to help you figure out what to do after water damage.

If you need professional help, contact us today for 24/7 support.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Water Damage?

The time that water damage repairs take to complete will depend on the time it takes for the material affected to dry up and how severe the damage is. If you’re just dealing with a single room, maybe two, it will likely take less than a month- 72 hours for drying out, and another 1-2 weeks to actually repair the damage.

Maybe you are just dealing a burst pipe, or worse yet you have a flooded basement. Regardless of how bad the initial damage is, you cannot afford to wait to start the water cleanup process. Water spreads very quickly and will get absorbed into the floors, the walls, your furniture and other areas in your home.

Another way to remove water from your home is adding in a sump pump. A sump pump is used to drain water from a basement or crawl space. The sump pump is connected to a drainage pipe that leads outside of the home. When the water level rises above the bottom of the sump pit, the sump pump activates and pumps out the water from your home.

Preventing & Reducing Water Damage:

Once you have stopped the actual leak, you need to immediately start the process of water mitigation, which is the process of preventing or reducing the amount of water damage, to prevent additional damage.

The drying process for homes affected by water damage can vary.  Technically there’s not an precise estimation on how long the drying time would take. However, on average,  a water damaged home may take around 5 days to dry. In other cases, it could take as little as two days, or in other situations, it may take a few weeks to dry out a home.

Does Water Damage Happen Immediately?

The effects of water damage can happen fast. Within minutes, water leaks will spread evenly in your property, soaking everything that gets in the way. Your walls, floors, upholstery and belongings all become soaked in water. As soon as water creeps in, your carpets may get stained and your photographs, books and other paper goods may start to bulge and warp. This makes the water damage remediation process, even more important to get started as soon as possible.

If the water is black water, like from sewage, anything the water touches immediately becomes a potential bio-hazard. With this type of water damage, the home will need to be decontaminated.

If the water is clean water, like from a water heater or washing machine, standing water in the affected areas is much less of a concern. You still have the damage of course, but the risk of a bio-hazard is less likely.
Water Damaged Child's Toy

Water Damage Within 1 to 24 hours:

Within just a single hour up to a day after your home has been exposed to water, it will begin to cause damage. This is when drywall begins to bulge and break, furniture begins to swell and crack, and metal surfaces begin to tarnish.

Water Damage Within 48 hours up through 7 days:

Between hour 2 and the end of the first week, the damage will compound. Your home will experience growth and spread of mold and mildew. The doors, windows, and wood flooring may swell and warp, and metal may begin to rust and corrode. At the same time, there is a possibility of serious biohazard contamination.

Water Damage After More than a Week:

If water damage persists for more than a week, mildew and mold growth, structural damage and biohazard contaminants may pose serious risks to you and your family. The delay in restoration time may also increase the cost to repair water damage significantly.

Mold spores and the need for mold remediation and decontamination services are almost guaranteed at this point.

What to do About Flood Damage

If you live in a flood zone or experience heavy rains, you should be prepared for flooding. The best way to prepare for flooding is to know where the water is coming from and how much water is coming into your home. One common place for flooding is in your basement. Finding the source of the water coming into your home will help you decide whether or not you need to evacuate. If you are evacuating, you should pack important documents, medications, and other items that you may need during evacuation.

Classes of Water Damage

There are three classes of water damage: Class I, II and III. Each class represents different levels of severity. It’s important to understand what type of water damage you have before deciding if you need professional assistance with the recovery process. Category 1 water damage is defined as “Clear water”, Category 2 is “Grey Water” and Category 3 is “Black Water”. For more information on the 3 water damage categories click here.

Risks of Untreated Water Damage

When dealing with untreated water damage, there are several potential health hazards associated with this situation. These include bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi, chemicals and gases. Some of these substances can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, eye irritations, headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, among others.

One of the most immediate risks when experiencing water damage is to your property, possessions and family. It can be incredibly difficult to see these items ruined by a flood or other disaster that leaves them soaked through with wetness from top-to-bottom. Left untreated, water damage can also harm the integrity to your homes structure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Homeowners insurance provides coverage for damage that is sudden and accidental (such as a rupturing water heater or a pipe burst). With flood damage, regardless of the source of the water, it may not be covered by standard homeowners policies. Be mindful that the water damage resulting from lack of maintenance is not covered on a standard homeowners insurance policy. Flooding can occur from storms, sewer backup, and overflowing bodies of water such as rivers,  ponds, lakes, etc. Luckily you do have the option to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Yes. Water damage can be one of the most common and most serious emergencies your property can experience. Whether your home has been affected by a storm, flood, roof leak, HVAC leak, busted pipes, overflowing appliances or sewage backup, a water problem can easily distress and threaten you and your home’s safety as well as your property value.

From mold to compromised frames and foundations, water damage can cause a range of serious, underlying issues.

If not addressed immediately, mold and mildew begin growing within 24-48 hours after water damage.

Sometimes you can see the damage immediately, but other times it takes hours or even days for the damage to become visible.  It’s important to act quickly and safely to ensure your home and your health aren’t in jeopardy from exposure.  Jenkins Restorations can easily help with this process.

Unfortunately, no.  Unless mold has been completely removed mold spores can remain dormant or inactive but can still be a threat to your home.  Mold removal can be done effectively with a professional who specializes in mold removal.

Have You Recently Dealt With Water Damage In Your Home?

After flooding or other water damage, make sure to call Jenkins Restorations to get your home – and your life – back to normal again.

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