Tips On Cleaning Your Home After Water Damage
Cold water in a glass or a swimming pool is delightful on a hot summer day. Water in your home or basement after a heavy rain or broken water pipe is another story. Unwanted water in a home is responsible for possessions being ruined, building materials being damaged and mold dangers introduced. Thousands of individuals each year are horrified as they discover water damage in their homes and businesses. Tips on cleaning your home after water damage are all over the internet, but not all advice is correct and water deeper than one or two inches should be evaluated by a professional water damage company. Along the east coast and other adjoining states hurricanes can bring such tremendous amounts of water that rescuers find people on their roofs with their property completely under water.
While such grand scale flooding is uncommon it is still a daunting experience to walk into a basement and feel squishy wet carpet because water has somehow made its way into your home. It only takes a little amount of water to damage carpets, furniture walls and electronics. It only takes a little bit of unwanted water to create high humidity and several days of dampness will produce the perfect breeding grounds for mold and germs to grow and destroy everything in its path. Drywall for example has a layer of paper or cellulose which is the favorite food source for mold. Add wet boxes and base moldings and there is an eco-system beginning a party in your private space. In the wake of such an event walls will be ruined, carpets permanently stained and wet padding forever pungent in smell.
Here are several tips on cleaning your home after water damage
Beware of electrical dangers after water damage
If just an inch of water is discovered it could have introduced its presence into the end of a plugged in extension cord and electrical shock can be a high risk. Wear rubber boots and carefully make your way to the main power and turn off power. With a flashlight in hand unplug items that are near or in water and place in a dry area. If water has gone through one floor to another and electrical outlets are wet or if water has dripped from a light fixture, absolutely do not turn on any switches and contact an electrician. It is an alarmingly high number of people that experience electric shock as a result of water coming into contact with electricity.
Secure personnel property that can still be saved
Water that comes up to the legs on a sofa or chair or that has touched the base of a dresser or cabinet does not mean that the item is destroyed. Fresh water or even ground water that comes into contact with furniture does not typically contaminate such materials when discovered promptly and attended to. If the water however, is from a stream, river or sewer drain, it is another story. If clothes are found wet from any water other than sewer water backing up they should be immediately placed in plastic bag and taken somewhere as soon as possible and cleaned. Tips on cleaning your home after water damage are not complete if we do not mention absorbent personnel items like mattresses, pillows, blankets and stuffed animals as these often go unattended. These items can be often restored by professionals that are capable of restoring such items.
Call Someone To Let Them Know You Have Water Damage
One of the most important tips on cleaning your home after water damage involves the first phone call. If the water damage in your home is minor and you decide to manage the water damage cleanup yourself you should call someone and let them know what you are doing. This way there is someone to check up on you if you were alone and slipped and hurt yourself or if you got shocked from an electrical source.
Call A Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
If you need professional water damage cleanup than you want to choose the best company in your area. Merely typing into a search engine, “water damage companies near me” will yield search results, but are they the best water damage company for you? Websites can look professional and lure you in convincing you should call them, but do your due diligence to get local reviews. Often former customers will place a review of the water damage service they received whether pro or con. Often the best looking websites have the worst reviews where customers were disappointed at the service. If you find a qualified water restoration company that has high ratings than you are choosing based upon knowledge.
Call Your Insurance Company
Lastly if you have decided you are going to make an insurance claim you are going to want to call them. Let them know what has happened and speak with them as though you expect them to cover the claim. Not all water damage is covered and they will often ask questions that are designed to figure the source of water to determine your coverage out. It is best to contact them after you have had a professional water damage company out to access and determine the damages.
Remove the water from carpets and hard surfaces.
Many people own a shop vac and these systems are ideal for removing water. If you have lost power and the flooding is a result of a failed sump pump then you may have to rely on old fashion methods. Towels, squeegees, wet mops and a bucket can start the process although it will be slow. As you collect the water discard it in an open toilet allowing the sewer system to do the work of removing it from your home. Sometimes drains are backed up and the toilet incapable of taking the water. If this has happened then pour the water outside on your lawn or at the end of your driveway by the street. Assuming you have power then extract the water from your carpets and hard surfaces. If the carpet has pad you may have to remove it if the shop vac is not successful at removing the water saturation. Unless the source of the water in your home is fresh municipal water the padding should be removed as it will not be safely restored after ground or sewer water.
Dry all wet materials to avoid mold and smells
After you have removed all the water from the carpet and all standing water on hard surfaces you will need to remove humidity and create air movement. If the amount of affected area is small a fan and several open windows may do the trick. If the water was spread out over 100 sq. ft. you may need professional air movers and a dehumidifier to remove the humidity. If the base of the walls have become wet along with the base moldings you will need to dry them as quickly as possible or mold is sure to develop. If water has wicked high in the drywall the base moldings will need to be removed and holes placed at the bottom of the dry wall every 6” – 12” to allow for drying. If the walls are insulated and the insulation has absorbed the water than the drywall will need to be cut out and wet insulation pulled. Once you have serviced walls and removed water then drying can begin. Place air movers on wet carpet and walls and use a dehumidifier to remove humidity. Water is an energy that continues to do harm and damage as long as it remains. Not until all water has been removed and wet materials dried do you stop the potential dangers such as mold.
Disinfect all wet surfaces with germ killing agents
Wherever water has made its presence known you need to apply a disinfectant to kill the germs and sanitize the environment. Any germ killing disinfectant that has the 99.9% label will do just fine. Apply liberally with a sprayer to wet carpets, drywall, wood casings and base, all hard surface flooring and any furniture and salvageable items. Killing germs from sewer drain backups is a necessity and failure to do so could result in illness to occupants.
Prevent mold from growing and spreading
Only after the wet materials are disinfected and completely dried will you have created an environment that is no longer conducive to mod growth. This can only happen if the drying cycle you employ after the water damage cleanup is active long enough. Sometimes merely feeling surfaces for dryness makes individuals falsely believe materials are dry when they are not. The excepted time for equipment to stay running is usually 72 hours or 3 days.
Throw away all discarded, wet and damaged items
Sometimes due to garbage night not being on the day items are removed from property, people store wet debris in their garage and this may result in secondary issues. For instance, wet carpet will only continue to grow with microbes and become pungent in smell. This smell will enter your home and make you believe you still should be concerned with the indoor environment, but the smell may very well be coming from the wet carpet in garage. Sometimes individuals will place wet things in garage against the wall only making a dry wall wet. In some cases we have seen people actually find mold on drywall that got wet from items placed by walls. If you can put wet debris outside this is the best place and will not typically allow bad smells in home.
These tips on cleaning your home after water damage can save your home or business from unnecessary damage and mold.
Tips On Cleaning Your Home After Water Damage