A natural occurrence such as a hurricane or tornado may bring storms in its wake, causing water damage that is expensive and time-consuming to many homes. There are a lot of things that occupants of a water-damaged home can do to salvage the situation, but the expertise of a qualified professional may be required in cases of severe health or structural risks. Often, floods and storm surges are usually contaminated with fecal matter and pathogen, making them prime spots for breeding of mold and pathogens. If mold is not removed quickly, it can spread to every part of the house, into crevices and hard-to-access spaces, making it difficult and expensive to eliminate. In cases of severe microbial threat, governmental agencies may classify the structure as unfit for living.
The primary reason why homes are highly susceptible to water damage is that moisture can be extremely difficult to detect when the flood water has been evacuated. When the flood water is still standing in the building, it can stimulate the growth of microbes within 24 hours, seep through drywall, and permeate different kinds of textiles in the home. Moisture may build up behind walls and in the ceilings where bacteria and mold can multiply rapidly until it is too late to control. If the occupants of the home are around or get there quickly, furniture and clothes can still be salvaged. But, care must be taken when entering a recently flooded building because of the presence of wildlife and contaminated fluids that can cause severe injuries.
The first thing to do before entering a building that suffered water damage is to switch off the electric power. This is important to avoid injuries and sometimes electrocution caused by exposed electrical cables and plugged-in home appliances. When entering the building for the first time after the floods, it is advisable to make your way slowly as wild animals such as snakes and reptiles may be hiding in the debris and remaining water and may attack you if startled. To avoid any wildlife attack or injury from airborne contaminants, its best to wear protective coveralls including eye protection, vapor respirator, rubber gloves, and thick boots that are resistant to animal bites and puncturing.
A certified restoration services company can quickly determine which of your possessions have suffered water damage. Porous items will usually be disposed of if contaminated liquids have gained entry into them. Items such as mattresses, pillows, box springs and particle boards have a higher moisture retention capacity and stimulate microbial growth. To make the work of the professional cleaning service more comfortable, it’s advisable that occupants of the home discard such items before the technicians arrive, but a proper record of discarded items must be kept for insurance purposes.
When water damage professionals arrive at the affected home, they will quickly use their equipment to identify any part of the building harboring excess moisture and get rid of the moisture. This is achieved by using moisture-sensitive equipment that can measure the concentration of moisture in hidden areas of the house such as behind the tiles, inside walls and items that don’t show any sign of moisture when touched. Places that contain hidden pockets of moisture will be dried by exposing them to the air through the removal of the drywall or any material shielding the moisture. After identifying places with excessive moisture, the clean-up process will begin with the professionals using techniques such as pressure-washing to remove any contaminants and dirt. Water damage professionals can also prevent the spread of mold or harmful microbes in the home through chemical and mechanical means.
Here is a quick recap of the main points in the article
Step to take to mitigate damages and protect your family
- Where possible, eliminate the source of water or quickly contact a reputable restoration firm to get rid of the water source or repair it to stop the flow. Be sure to keep any replaced parts for the inspection of your insurance company.
- Turn off the source of electricity. However, if there is no risk of electrical shock, turn off power in wet areas to avoid the electric shock that could lead to severe injuries and even electrocution. Make sure there are no electrical devices or appliances plugged in or lying on wet surfaces.
- Remove and keep small furniture items away from wet surfaces to reduce exposure to dust and contamination and to make restoration faster.
- If you have antiques or wood furniture, place aluminum foils below their leg to minimize permanent stains on your carpet.
- Check under the bed and closets for paper goods, books, potted plants, shoes, and other materials that could stain the carpet to remove and secure them away.
- Draperies should be hanged away from wet surfaces, and furniture skirts should also be pinned up to reduce staining and damage to the wet surface and the fabrics.
- Remove and secure high-value, moisture-sensitive and brittle materials.
- Make arrangements for the restoration team to work unhindered by clearing large furniture out of the house.
- Don’t forget that time is a crucial factor in restoration work, so be sure to call a professional restoration firm immediately and get any obstruction out of their way before they arrive. Any form of delay in the restoration process can lead to irredeemable deterioration of your belongings, extensive damage to the structure, and increased health risk to your family.
Additionally, don’t do the following if your home suffers a water damage
- Never use your home vacuum before the completion of restoration activities. It doesn’t matter if you own a wet or dry vacuum because using it when your home is compromised by moisture can result in electrical shock and also damage the equipment.
- Don’t walk on wet surfaces except when necessary because it increases the chances of spreading contaminants, may increase the damage to some parts of the building and can cause injury to your person.
- Don’t place newspapers on wet surfaces as they may quickly transfer ink to wet surfaces and cause permanent stains.
- Don’t activate the HVAC system if it has been exposed to excessive moisture or when it may spread contamination, especially if there is a risk of airborne disease.
- Don’t adjust the room temperature except on the instruction of a certified restoration professional.
- Don’t go into standing water to avoid the risk of electric shocks.
Whenever a family or individual suffers water damage in their home, it’s critical to hire only certified professionals from a trust-worthy company. That way, you are sure of getting your home back to its pre-flood state and great value for your investments.