How to Deal With Water Damage
A terrible storm has just passed through. Luckily nobody was injured, and no trees fell down on your garage, but you didn’t escape totally unscathed. You open your basement door only to see five inches of standing water filling your favorite entertainment enclave.
It’s just bad luck. But now that it happened, what do you do? Here’s a quick guide to help you start taking action right away to make sure you end up with the best possible outcome.
1. Prepare to Investigate
Naturally, you want to get down in the basement and see exactly what kind of damage has been done. But before you go stomping around in the dark, you need to set yourself up for success.
First, you need to shut off gas and electricity. At this point, you don’t really know the extent of the damage, so you want to minimize risk as much as possible.
Next, make sure you’re wearing proper boots and protective gear. You have no idea what got shifted around during the storm, so you want to be sure you are safe. Plus, you don’t know if sewage got mixed in with the rain water, so you have to be extra careful to avoid illness.
Mold is another issue to consider, so if you are sensitive to airborne illnesses, consider wearing a mask or respirator. This is especially true if you are returning to your house several days after the storm. Mold grows quickly in a fertile environment.
2. Take Detailed Photos
Once you’re prepared to safely enter the space, you want to take as many photographs of the damage as you can. This is going to help a lot when you make your insurance claim because you will have detailed evidence to show the extent of the damage.
This is also important for the water restoration crew. When they arrive, the water may have receded, so having photos can be helpful to show them exactly how high the water was, which helps the team estimate the level of damage and discover hidden issues.
3. Start the Drying Process
Now that you have a complete record of the damage, your next step is to clear out as much water as you can, as quickly as you can. The longer the water remains in the space, the more damage it will do.
Materials such as sheetrock, insulation, and plywood are susceptible to water damage, but might be able to survive if the water is cleared out quickly enough. Use a pump, broom, and/or squeegee to clear out the water.
Once most of the water is removed, you need to provide ventilation by opening doors and windows. You can also use extension cords to power fans to support the drying process. While you can’t undo the damage, you can stop it from spreading by drying out the area as quickly as possible.
4. Call in a Professional Water Restoration Team
At this point, you’ve done about all the “first aid” you can do. It’s time to call in the doctors for surgery. A professional team has the experience, tools, and expertise to restore your flooded basement to its original form. Don’t try to handle all this yourself.
Understanding the true scope of water damage requires knowledge and expertise because the damage is not always obvious. A wall that seems fine on the outside might be filled with rot and mold on the inside. This is why it’s best to call in the pros.
And remember, if the entire situation is too overwhelming, you can always just skip steps 1 through 3 and go straight to calling the pros. There is no need for you to stress out over the damage. Just leave it to the professionals.
If you are in the Wichita area and looking for water restorations specialists, contact Hoggatt Cleaning & Restoration. We handle the entire water restoration process including water removal, mold removal, and carpet and upholstery cleaning.