7 Steps to Take After Finding Water Damage in Your Home

7 Steps to Take After Finding Water Damage in Your Home

To say that water damage in your home is a nuisance is an understatement. It can result in significant financial hardship and cause emotional distress. The more quickly you deal with the aftermath of a water incident or flood in your home, the sooner you can lessen the physical, emotional, and financial harm caused by it.

At Central Florida Restoration Solutions, we understand how overwhelming water damage can be. But we also know that taking proactive measures to mitigate water’s effect on your property and belongings can help ease the stress and give you back a sense of control. If you’ve suffered water damage to your Central Florida home, these 7 steps can help you and your home recover.

1. If Possible, Identify the Source of Water Damage

Your top priority should be identifying and stopping a leak or other source of water damage. Most home water damage is caused by broken or corroded pipes that are leaking, but it could also be an appliance malfunction, a leaky roof, or a construction defect.

One thing’s for sure when it comes to leaky pipes: what often appears to be a minor leak can turn out to be the first sign of a much more significant problem. So, even if the initial water damage seems minimal, it’s essential to act as soon as you notice it. Because once water damage from a leaking pipe or roof begins, your personal belongings and the home’s structure can be vulnerable to irreparable damage. You and your family could also be at risk for environmental hazards like mold.

Once you identify the leak’s source, be sure to take photographs so you can monitor the damage’s progression. If you have photos of the damaged area before the water damage, keep those, too. If you’re unable to locate the source, contact a professional remediation company to investigate the situation, as this is key to preserving your rights to insurance compensation and other remedies. The more documentation you have, the greater your chances of recovering your losses.

2. Call Your Insurance Company

Once the water subsides, contact your homeowners’ insurance company. Whether you’re covered for water damage depends on the policy you have. The insurance company will arrange for an adjuster to come out and assess the damage and determine if the loss is covered. If you already have a flood insurance policy, start documenting the value of each and every item that’s been damaged. This ensures the adjuster doesn’t miss anything when they visit your home.

When you contact a local and reputable water damage restoration company like CFRS immediately, we’ll work with you, your insurance company, and the adjuster to make sure everything’s appropriately documented.

3. Protect Yourself and Your Family

One of the most important steps in any major home disaster like flooding is making sure you, your family, and your pets are safe. To stay safe and keep everyone protected:

  • Turn off the power – But keep in mind, water and electricity don’t mix! If turning off the power requires you to enter or stand in wet areas, you’re better off leaving it on until you can call in an expert, such as an electrician. No matter what the situation, don’t reenter your water-damaged home before the electricity is off.
  • Wear protective gear – Protective clothing like rubber boots and gloves can help protect you against injuries or cuts that might get bacteria-filled water in them.
  • Protect your valuables – If possible, lift wood furniture off wet carpet areas and place aluminum foil under the feet to prevent staining. Remove any area rugs on wet or damp flooring.
  • Don’t disturb visible mold – Releasing more mold spores into the air will only increase the likelihood of further mold growth.

If dangerous conditions like local flooding forced you out of your home, be sure it’s safe to return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. Wait for local authorities to give the go-ahead and listen to the experts at Consumer Reports: don’t drive through any flooded areas!

4. Start Water Damage Repair Immediately

If possible, the cleanup process should begin within 24 to 48 hours after the water damage occurred, as this is the prime time for mold proliferation to start. In many situations, a home’s damage is too extensive for the homeowner to handle on their own. Plus, it’s often unsafe to make direct contact with floodwater, as it can contain harmful bacteria and other contaminants. Now’s the time to contact a professional water damage remediation company to conduct the restoration work smoothly and efficiently. If you do decide to do some of the water remediation work yourself, be sure to wear the right protective gear and use disinfecting wipes on your hands after cleaning.

As you survey the damage, determine what’s salvageable and toss out anything that’s too damaged or no longer safe to use. To prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home, you might also need to remove drywall, flooring, and insulation. Furniture often needs drying out and isn’t always able to be salvaged.

5. Determine the Type of Water

There are three water categories:

  1. Clean water is unpolluted and comes from leaking pipes, water heaters, and broken toilets (not sewage backup).
  2. Gray water contains chemicals or biological contaminants like bacteria and mold and is typically caused by appliance malfunctions like sump pump failures, septic backups, and dishwasher or washing machine discharge.
  3. Black water is the worst type, as it’s heavily contaminated with raw sewage from private septic tanks or city sewage systems. It poses severe health risks, and cleanup requires a professional.

Once all types of standing water are removed from your home, you can begin to deal with damp belongings. If the electricity’s been restored, use your central air conditioning to remove humidity from the house. Floor fans, air movers, and dehumidifiers can also be helpful in drying damp areas of your home.

Keep an eye out for mildew and mold, and try not to disturb it until you consult with a professional restoration contractor like CFRS. Keep in mind that when it comes to mold, time is of the essence. Numerous studies show that beginning the home drying out within the first 24 hours and completing it within three to four days almost always removes the risks associated with mold and mildew.

6. Check for Mold

It’s true the more quickly you dry out your home, the less likely you are to have significant mold damage. But sometimes mold grows in places you never even thought about, like inside walls, pantries, mattresses, venting systems, fireplaces, and crawlspaces.

Once mold growth spreads, you might need to remove the affected areas altogether, as it’s always best to err on the side of caution. To keep you, your family, and your home safe, it pays to have a professional assess any mold or mildew problems in your home.

To prevent mold damage after a water incident, take whatever measures are necessary to avoid spreading mold spores throughout your home. You might have heard that bleach is a great way to eliminate mold. However, bleach does not remove mold. In fact, mold reacts to bleach by sending even more mold spores into the air!

Professional mold damage removal includes thorough drying and other steps that significantly lower the chances of mold spreading throughout your home.

7. Begin the Restoration Process

Water damage can happen in an instant, causing structural damage and the loss of treasured personal belongings. Repairing and restoring the damage water leaves behind should be handled by a professional water restoration company as soon as possible.

A professional water restoration company handles the aftermath of water emergencies like leaks and flooding, provides cleanup services, inspects your home and property for additional damage, and ensures repairs are completed thoroughly and safely. Everyone’s situation is different, but most water damage restoration work includes:

  • Flood cleanup, including water extraction, which reduces the chance of additional damage.
  • Sewage cleanup, including antimicrobial and other disinfecting treatments.
  • The drying or removal of contaminated items like furniture and carpets. Depending on the extent of the damage, this step might include wood floor drying or removal.
  • Document drying to salvage important paperwork and photographs.
  • Mold detection, because undetected mold often lurks throughout the home. Quick remediation and removal minimize associated health and safety-related issues.
  • Repairs, which a water damage restoration company either oversees or carries out, such as roofing, drywall, and electrical wiring.

While it’s challenging to predict just how long your restoration will take, a professional restoration company like CFRS knows that time is an utmost consideration when dealing with water damage. In most cases, your home should be dried out within three to five days to avoid further issues like mold growth and foundation damage.

The sooner you get started on the restoration process, the better. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a contractor who provides emergency water damage restoration services and can arrive quickly to begin cleanup as soon as possible. CFRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to handle whatever water disaster occurs at your home. You can count on us to be there as quickly as possible!

24/7 Water Remediation Services

One of the most devastating things you can ever experience is severe water damage or flooding in your Central Florida home. Whether you’re dealing with broken pipes, a leaky appliance, or a more serious issue like a sewer backup, they can all cause major issues. Worse yet, you don’t have any time to waste in dealing with water damage repairs.

To prevent structural problems and other hazards, it’s essential to remove standing water and water-damaged items from your home as quickly as possible. By calling in the professional before more damage occurs, you prevent further:

At CFRS, we understand it’s tempting to deal with water damage yourself, particularly if the damage appears insignificant. But experience has taught us that water damage can be far more extensive than you think. Our more than 25 years of experience has given us the knowledge and expertise needed to find often hidden sources of water damage that a homeowner might miss.

Working with a restoration company like ours helps make the recovery process a much less stressful affair. If your Central Florida home has suffered water damage, don’t risk its structural integrity or, more importantly, the health and safety of your family. When water damage strikes your home, contact CFRS to locate, assess, and take action to fully restore any damage. With nearly a thousand customers served and 18 industry certifications, we’re here to provide the water remediation services you need and deserve!

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