When you have unwanted water in your home or business you need to know what to do NOW. The difference in waiting just a few hours before you take action, can mean hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth on additional damage to your home and belongings.
Safety First. Turn off all power to rooms that are affected. Walk carefully on wet surfaces especially when moving from carpeted areas onto hard surfaces. If there are any sagging ceilings, do not walk under them. They may collapse and cause injury. You may want to punch a small hole in them and let them drain into a plastic bucket in order to relieve the pressure the water is creating. Do not turn any overhead lights if ceiling is wet. Do not operate TV’s or other electrical appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors. Especially on wet concrete floors.
1. Find And Stop The Source. If fresh water plumbing is involved turn off the valve to the fixture that is leaking. If there is no cut-off valve or you cannot locate the break, then turn off the main water supply valve to the house. If you cannot find the one in your home, you should cut off the outside water main. If you cannot do this, then call a plumber or qualified tradesman. Sometimes the fire department can help.
2. If the water source was clean, remove as much standing water as possible. Use a UL approved wet/dry vac if you have one. Do not use a household vacuum cleaner that is not approved for this use. Use clean, white towels, linens, blankets, bedspreads, to contain the water and prevent it from entering unaffected areas. Do not attempt this if the water is contaminated as from a sewer source, leave this to a professional company.
3. Locate and remove from the affected areas all clothing, books, shoes, paper goods, and any other items that may be damaged by water and place them in an unaffected area. Move light furniture to an unaffected area and if able, place aluminum foil or plastic under the legs of furniture that is remaining in the affected areas. If the piece of furniture is solid at its base, put wooden blocks or Styrofoam under it to prevent bleeding or rusting on to the flooring material. Wipe any water from the legs or where it has been splashed up on any furniture. Place any curtains in areas that are wet on pant hangers and hook on the curtain rod so they are off of the floor.
4. Remove valuable paintings and pictures from any wet walls. In warmer months, turn on air conditioner no lower than 72 degrees. Open drawers on any wet furniture and remove contents and spread out to dry. Prop up wet upholstery cushions on a clean white sheet. Remove any area rugs, to a dry area. Be careful as these might bleed on to other surfaces.
5. Call a competent, water damage restoration contractor to do a controlled ‘dry down’. Don’t wait. A professional firm understands the critical nature of a water damage loss and should be willing to respond quickly, even after business hours and on weekends.