Flooding and water damage are all too common in homes and businesses across the US. While we all know about the ways in which flooding caused by heavy rainfall can devastate the structural integrity of a property, few people realize the dangers of leaky pipes, overflowing toilets, broken showers, damaged household appliances, clogged rain gutters and backed up sewer systems.
Even seemingly minor household flooding can lead to serious problems including mold and mildew, water stains, cracked ceilings, bubbled wallpaper and even issues with the structural integrity of your property. If an appliance has been leaking for a long time, you may also start to notice your water bills creep up.
So, what should you do if you experience floods or water damage in your home or business? We’ve collated a list of handy dos and don’ts below to ensure the full restoration and recovery of the building.
Even if the water damage in your property is minor, do not skip the following steps:
1. Turn off your water at the source
As soon as you notice a sign of water damage in your home or business, it is vital that you shut off the water supply, as this gives you a chance to do some investigating. If the source of the leak or flood is not obvious, look around the vicinity of the water damage for signs of a cracked pipe or a faulty appliance. As the water supply is shut off, you will be able to handle the pipes without making the issue worse.
Generally speaking, water supply valves can be found in the basement of a building, although you may need to ask your building manager or landlord if you are unable to locate it. Turn the valve clockwise to shut off the water supply and do not turn it back on again until the issue has been addressed, or an expert has told you it is safe to do so.
2. Seek professional assistance
While you may be able to make some rudimentary assessments of the water damage in your home, only an expert will be able to complete an accurate diagnosis and repair. Even seemingly minor problems may be hiding much more extensive issues that could be costing you significant sums of money in the long term.
Water damage experts such as the team at Georgia Water & Fire will be able to carry out comprehensive water extraction and repair jobs, ensuring that your home or business is clean, safe and presentable.
It is important to understand that, as well as being experts on the topic of water damage, these professionals have access to cutting-edge equipment that allows them to handle your problems quickly and effectively. Enlisting their help as soon as problems arise could help to prevent further flooding or the growth of harmful mold.
3. Get in touch with your insurers
Finally, you must contact your insurance company to help cover the cost of repairs necessary to address the water damage. While it can be a long and sometimes stressful process to file a claim, you risk your claim being rejected if you fail to start the process promptly.
Once you have made initial contact with the insurance company and explained the situation, they will probably ask you for evidence of the damage to your home or business premises. This means you will need to take photos of the water damage and any leaks or cracks in appliances or pipes. You may need to give details about how you handled the issue, including how long it has been going on for.
Remember to keep all the information relevant to your claim such as your claim number and the contact details of the water damage experts helping you out. This will make the process much smoother when you are contacted again by your insurance company.
So, what should you avoid doing upon spotting water damage?
1. Waiting too long to address the damage
While it is important to document any damage as soon as you notice it, you must remember that the longer you wait to start cleaning up, the worse your problem is likely to get. If your furniture or wooden floorboards have started to swell up, for example, they must be treated by water damage experts as a matter of urgency. Otherwise, they will continue to swell and crack beyond repair.
Similarly, extended water damage to the support structures of your property could start to alter their shape, potentially costing huge amounts of money in the long term. In a worst-case scenario, this kind of structural damage could lead to the collapse of your property.
While you may not be particularly bothered by mold and mildew, it is vital to understand that this pesky fungus can spread at an alarming rate and can even take root in fabrics and wooden structures, essentially rendering them useless.
What’s more, mold can be seriously harmful to health and is known for causing allergic reactions, respiratory issues, kidney and liver problems, and even brain damage.
2. Using inadequate equipment when cleaning up
Fighting water damage with towels and mops will always be a losing battle. While you may be able to clear up pools of visible water using everyday household items, fully drying out a flood-damaged property and preventing further issues requires professional-grade equipment, including
A powerful fan: This could prove useful in the immediate aftermath of a flood or leak. Although a fan is unlikely to completely dry out your property, it could help to mitigate the effects of a flood in the time before water damage experts arrive.
A flood pumper: Industrial flood pumpers are great for addressing extensive water damage in homes and commercial buildings.
An air scrubber: This will help to improve the air quality of a water-damaged building.
A moisture probe: This can be used to detect invisible patches of moisture.
Of course, this specialized equipment is very expensive, and you may not be able to use it effectively if you are not a water damage expert.
This is where we at Georgia Water & Fire come in. We have the skills and equipment necessary to address flooding and water damage, no matter how extensive. Get in touch with us today if you would like to enlist our services or have any questions.
Don’t skimp when it comes to your family’s health and safety.
Call us here at Georgia Water and Fire Restoration for professional mold removal to ensure full mold removal and a safe environment for your family.