Though water damage may not seem as dangerous as an earthquake or wildfire, it can pose a serious risk. Even if the water damage seems contained or minimal, you will need to have the area thoroughly inspected and repaired to ensure your safety. If you suspect your home may have water damage, be sure to stop the damage at the source. Notify your insurance company as soon as possible and thoroughly document the extent of the damage.
Recognize the Signs of Water Damage
Water damage occurs when pipes burst, drains clog, and cities flood, but there are more subtle forms of water damage as well. Even well-built, insulated homes can trap excess moisture and condensation, especially when inadequately ventilated. If you notice musty odors throughout your home, rusty stains around light fixtures, damp or sticky floors, you should investigate the area for water damage. Mildew along your ceiling, walls, or baseboards is also a sign that your home is likely suffering water damage. Insurance is more likely to cover promptly treated water damage. So, it’s important not to ignore signs of water damage.
Disinfect Your Home
Once the water damaged area is dry, including appliances and installations such as wood beams, insulation, and drywall, hire professionals to disinfect your home. They will have the equipment needed to kill any bacteria that might have come up through sewers, toilets, etc. Call a hygienist to provide you with a clearance report!
Secure Electric, Gas and Water Lines
Water and electricity do not mix! If you are experiencing a flood in which the water level rises above your electrical outlets, you will need to turn off any power leading to the affected area. If any of your electrical appliances have been submerged in water, have them dried out and reconditioned by a qualified service repairman. Do not assume that they are safe to use because they are dry. Electrical parts can pose an electric shock hazard or overheat and cause a fire. Before flipping a switch or plugging in an appliance, have an electrician inspect your home’s wiring and appliances.
If water is coming into your home from a burst pipe, you will need to turn off the water. Shutting off the main valve that controls all the water for your home is the best protection against catastrophic water damage. Everyone in your home should know where the main water shutoff valve is located. If a pipe bursts, they will be able to stop the water.
In the event of a flood, hire professionals to inspect and clean your gas appliances. This will help prevent gas explosions and fires. Hire a professional to inspect and clean any gas appliances that were submerged under water. Replace the gas controls. The gas company or a qualified appliance repair person or plumber should do this work.
Interested in learning more about what you can do to protect yourself and your home from water damage? Check out our article 5 Things You Should Do Immediately When Faced with Water Damage!