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Water Damage Do’s & Don’ts

Water Damage Do’s & Don’ts

Water damage is a difficult problem to deal with, whether your property is affected by a leak or a flood. Damage caused by water can happen at any time due to problems within the property such as plumbing issues, pipe bursts, appliance malfunctions, and leaks, or due to weather conditions like humidity, rain, and natural flooding.  If you find a major leak that has caused significant damage to the surrounding area, or flooding in your basement, you may be unsure of what to do next.

The reason water damage is so dangerous is because it will keep spreading through your property until it is removed, and it can cause significant structural damage and mold growth.  No matter what degree of water damage has affected your home or business, you need to act fast and ensure that you take the right actions to try and limit the spread of the water and minimize the damage.  In this guide, we will discuss the best actions to take when you discover water damage and the actions you should avoid so that your property can be restored.

Water and Flood Damage Restoration - Castle Pines, CO
Water and flooding can cause significant damage in homes and buildings

Damage Caused by Water and Flooding

Water is a necessity in homes and buildings as well as in nature, but when water gets where it is not supposed to indoors, it can cause major damage.  The reason excess water and flooding indoors is so dangerous is because of how it can spread through the property.  Common building materials and furnishings including wood, drywall, carpeting, insulation, wallpaper, and drapes are porous.  These materials absorb water which allows it to spread, and the materials that absorb the water will also become stained, buckled, warped, and corroded.  Severe water absorption can lead to structural damage.

The other problem caused by water damage is mold growth. This is because mold thrives in areas with a source of moisture which makes areas affected by water damage and flooding highly vulnerable. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to appear after water damage or flooding.  Mold growth will cause further damage to the water damaged materials and create an unsafe situation as exposure to mold can lead to health issues.

The following are the most common causes of water damage:

  • Flooding: Natural flooding from heavy rainfall or flash flooding can cause flooding inside your home. Parts of your home can also become flooded due to a problem like a pipe burst or overflow.
  • Overflow: Water that overflows from a sink, toilet, bathtub, appliances, and pipe bursts can cause serious water damage.
  • Sewer backups: Sewer backups occur when a problem within the sewage system forces sewage water into your home through the drains and plumbing fixtures. Water from a sewage backup is damaging and dangerous because it contains harmful contaminants.
  • Gradual leak: A slow leak from a pipe, the roof, or the foundation can slowly spread through the surrounding walls, floors, and ceiling and cause significant damage.

When water damage occurs, one of the things you have to consider is whether the water is contaminated.  There are three categories of water damage based on the cleanliness of the water:

  • Clean water: Clean water is free of contaminants and poses no risk to your health. Examples of clean water include a sink overflow or a pipe burst.
  • Grey water: Grey water is water that may contain contaminants and it comes from an unsanitary source such toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines.
  • Black water: Black water is water that contains a dangerous amount of contaminants and it is harmful to your health. Sewage is an example of black water and water from natural floods and storms can also be considered black water if it contains sewage or other dangerous materials.
Water Damage Restoration – Commerce City, CO
ServiceMaster technicians use advanced water extraction and drying equipment

What to Do After Water Damage

Water damage requires a quick reaction because the water will continue spreading until the damage is addressed. The longer you wait to deal with water damage, the more likely serious structural damage and mold growth will occur.

Taking the following actions will help you limit the damage caused by the water and start the restoration process:

  • If possible, shut off the water immediately at the main shut off valve. This will stop water from a burst pipe or leaking appliance.
  • Turn off the electricity in the affected areas as the combination of electricity and water is very dangerous. Turn off the electricity entirely if you are not sure which areas of the home are affected.
  • Document the damage by taking pictures and videos to help with your insurance claim.
  • Contact your insurance provider to start a claim. They will send out an adjuster to evaluate the damage and determine if the damage is covered.  Make sure to keep a record of all your communications with your insurance provider, including phone calls and emails.
  • Call ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration for professional water damage restoration.
  • Use towels, rags, and mops to remove as much standing water as possible.
  • Move valuable items away from the affected areas and put them somewhere dry. Separate damaged personal items and valuables so they can be treated with advanced restoration methods.
  • Ventilate the area by opening windows or using fans to help with the drying and prevent mold growth. Open all internal doors including closets, draws, and cabinets to help with the ventilation.
  • Remove rugs and other non-permanent flooring from the affected areas.
  • Move furniture and other objects out of the affected areas if possible. Prop up wet cushions to help them dry and put aluminum foil under all furniture legs to prevent damage to wet flooring.
  • Open luggage and place it in a dry area.
  • Turn off your HVAC system.
  • Get curtains and drapes off the floor by putting the bottom of the drapes through a coat hanger and putting the hanger on the rod.
  • Keep water damage books packed tightly together on the shelves to prevent the pages from warping. Our professionals can treat them with a specialized drying process.

What Not to Do After Water Damage

There are several actions you should avoid after experiencing water damage that could make the damage worse or put you in danger.  Make sure to avoid the following actions:

  • Do not try to use any electronics or appliances while standing on a wet surface and do not enter a room with standing water until the electricity is shut off.
  • Do not enter a room if the ceiling beneath the floor is sagging. The extra weight could cause the ceiling to collapse.
  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner to remove water, there is a high change of an electric shock.
  • Do not leave wet clothing and other textiles in a pile or they could become affected by mold or mildew. Separate them the best you can and make sure they are cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Do not try to remove permanent carpeting or flooring, this is best left to the professionals.
  • Do not leave books, newspapers, and magazines on wet surfaces because the ink can transfer onto the surface.
  • Do not open windows if it is raining or humid outside because the moisture from the outdoors can speed up the mold growth.
  • Do not try to clean up contaminated water like sewage and do not try to remove mold growth. Professionals are best equipped to handle the removal of mold and black water.

Call ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration After Water Damage

Water and flooding can cause significant damage in homes and buildings as it can easily spread through porous materials and create the right conditions for mold growth.  If you take the right actions after finding water damage or flooding in your property, you can limit the spread of the water and start the restoration process.

Calling our professionals at ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration is the most important action you can take following flooding or water damage.  We provide complete water damage restoration services to remove all excess water and dry and restore the damaged areas to get your property back to its original condition.  Our technicians use advanced water extraction and drying equipment and we can also safely remove mold growth.

ServiceMaster Fire and Water Restoration is available 24 hours a day at (303) 791-6000 to provide emergency water damage restoration in the Denver, CO metro area and Elbert County.

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