If you own a home with a basement, you’ve probably dreaded the day that you might have to deal with serious water damage. You can alleviate some of your fears by preparing a well-thought out contingency plan that includes the immediate actions to be taken when the crisis is discovered. The most important thing is to act quickly, in order to avoid irreparable damage to your personal possessions and your family’s physical health. Don’t underestimate the amount of harm that a “small” amount of water can cause. You need to really take things seriously at these early stages to prevent a disaster at the end.
If left untreated Water damage will inevitably cause mold growth. Mold growth has the potential to destroy your furniture, walls, floors, etc., and it can also cause serious allergies and respiratory problems to humans and their furry friends. Therefore it is very important that the air-quality in your home is clean and healthy. If you ever feel that the air-quality is a problem please call an Industrial Hygienist.
Here is a list of the kind of things you should do once water hits your floor:
Move as much as you can up and away from the wet areas. Move fast!!!
Speed is of the utmost importance at this stage. First make sure you know where the shut off valve is and turn the water off. Don’t worry about organizing as you move things, just move them quickly to a dry area that won’t be in the way of the plumber or Water technician. If it is safe to disconnect all electronics from plug sockets do it and remove them (or even better, turn off the power source to this part of your house.) This is the time to focus on whatever is movable, and depending on what you have stored in your basement, you will have to make split second decisions: what’s more important to you, stereo speakers or your family pictures? Carpet might be able to be salvaged, but unless it is very new and expensive, it will probably not be worth all the effort and money you will have to spend to get it dried out because when it dries it could shrink.
Have important phone numbers available for immediate access
Now is not the time to be scrambling around trying to find the phone numbers of your insurance company representative, water/mold removal specialists, and plumbers. You should have these numbers handy; consider taping them on a wall or in the back of a closet somewhere you or anyone in the home could find them.
Getting rid of the water
Once you have gotten as much as you can out of harm’s way, called a plumber and water restoration specialist, now it’s time to start focusing on water-removal. Good for you if you have a sump-pump (or consider renting one if the problem is very treacherous), but if not, use whatever manual means possible to get rid of the water. Soak it up with old towels, sweep it out with brooms, mop it up, and use buckets if you have to. Do what you can while waiting for the specialists.
This is also the best time to start taking pictures of all the damaged items that you’ve removed (particularly those that you don’t believe will be salvageable), so you will have them for future insurance claims. Take as many pictures as you can with the date and time possible.
Dry up, Disinfect and Dispose
Once all signs of floodwater have been removed, it’s time to start working on the “deep-drying” that is needed to insure mold doesn’t have a chance to grow. Your water restoration technician will be using Use fans, and dehumidifiers to dry out the area. It might be a good idea to buy one if you don’t already own one to use after the restoration is complete. If you have a finished basement, by now you have probably noticed some damage to the drywall. Don’t worry! The restoration team will check to see how high the water was absorbed into the drywall and cut away the damaged parts.
Once the technician has successfully gotten the area completely dry (including any wood beams, insulation, gypsum, etc.) it’s time to disinfect. Your technician don’t use the cheap disinfectants you can buy at just any store. These chemicals are made just for this reason.
The technician will make responsible arrangements to dispose of all the damaged items and garbage that is unsalvageable.