Household emergencies when water damage is involved can be such a headache for you the homeowner or business owner. Every year 22 out of every 1000 homes are affected by some form of water damage emergency and there are multiple factors such as basement flooding, busted or leaking pipes, leaky bathtub or sink, or storm damage. Regardless we know it’s such a chaotic mess when these emergencies occur and the many factors that surround them.
In the event of a water damage emergency, it’s important a rapid and prompt response. If you delay or ignore the situation the consequences to your home or your business can be detrimental and cause devastation depending on the severity of the situation. Please immediately vacate the site and It’s recommended that you first and foremost call your homeowner’s insurance company and if needed a professional to come and access the loss. This is for your safety as any form of water damage is dangerous and hazardous to you.
The water damage repair and restoration process are very detailed and regulated to ensure that properties damaged can be effectively restored to their prior state and are safe and occupiable to live in or work in. There are 5 stages to the process: Inspection, Water Removal, Drying, Cleaning and Sanitizing and Restoration. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will better understand this process and can make an informed decision on the best course of action for you and your water damage situation.
Here are a few Do’s before you get started.
DO: be aware of potential animals and or wildlife and insects in your surroundings.
DO: Smell for gas and look for other damaged power or gas lines.
DO: Look for any cracking or exterior damage.
DO: Look for shifted stairs, Slanted floors, and walls.
STAGE ONE: INSPECTION
Once the professionals or government officials have given you the clear to go back into the site of your emergency you can start the damage assessment. The inspection process will help you do a few things identifies the category and type of water damage, the source of the problem, surveys the damage and completes the safety inspection. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! From start to finish. Keep all your receipts and take pictures and videos as well because your insurance will need proof of everything done by you or the mitigation contractor. Trust me it will allow for the maximize your claim and get you the most money for your loss at the end of the day.
Now that you have done the assessment or been assessed by a mitigator and identified areas of damage make sure you have the right equipment in water damage, repair, and restoration. If the property damaged is commercial or industrial, it’s imperative to get the right drying equipment placed to minimize the damage to the property and its worker’s health risk. There are three key pieces of equipment used air movers which promote fast drying for surfaces like floors and provide circulation for the entire indoor space. Dehumidifiers which promote the removal of excessive moisture on the site, so mold and mildew don’t grow. Lastly, the air scrubbers which are used to remove musty smells associated with water damage. Now that we have the proper equipment we are ready for the next stage.
STAGE TWO: WATER EXTRACTION
A few tips before you start. Do Not! Enter site if there are major structural damages,
Do Not! Walk on or above sagging floors or ceilings.
Do Not! Turn on any electrical in the house if the ceilings are wet.
Extracting all access water ASAP is priority one of this stage. All materials affected by the flooding i.e clothing, toys, pillows, throw rugs, bedding etc.… need to be removed from the affected area. Once water extraction has occurred techs might need to remove any wet surfaces on walls, floors, and ceilings to expedite the drying process. Remove any baseboards that are non-salvageable same goes for drywall and wet insulation. Open any cabinets or drawers in the affected area this also helps to speed up the drying process. It all depends on the extent of the damage.
STAGE 3: STABILIZING AND DRYING
Naturally by creating natural airflow, Mechanically with Air Movers which promote and push air circulation, Dehumidifiers removing water vapor, Sump Pump continuously moves water out through hose or pipe, Shop-Vac (not to be confused with household vacuum) that sucks water from your carpets, Removing Sodden Objects promotes maximum evaporation, Freezing Papers prevents mold and mildew from forming, and Moisture Absorption. Three of these we discussed above as the common equipment used in water damage. The cost of drying equipment ranges from $50-600$ and daily rentals range $20 and up. The drying process usually takes 3-4 days to ensure that the affected area is completely dry.
STAGE 4: CLEANING AND SANITIZATION
Ok, it’s all dry it’s time to use a disinfectant to get rid of any contaminants that the water may have left behind. Disinfect Everything because bacteria can build up in your walls carpeting and floors. Cleaning these areas is important to scrub all hard surfaces with hot water, soap, or disinfectant cleaners. Dispose of any plastics in the area you cannot save those once exposed. Some items will have to be cleaned by a professional to ensure they are safe to remain in the home such as furniture. One important thing you need to do is make sure you are properly disposing items and not just throwing them in a dumpster to be taken away. Be kind to our environment and send all plastics and recyclables to your neighborhood recycling center.
STAGE 5: RECONSTRUCTION/RESTORATION
You or your professional mitigator have completed the water damage removal, drying, and cleaning stages it now time to perform repairs. This might consist of pulling up and replacing carpet or flooring, patching cutting or replacing drywall or ceilings and ensuring all electronics and appliances that are damaged will be repaired or replaced. This final stage is a very tedious process and time demanding it is advised you have a professional restoration company come and finish things up. A true professional will share experience and knowledge with you and will give you details as you work through the process.
Luckily in most cases, your homeowner’s insurance will cover all aspects of the damages and processes of your water damage claim. Most professionals will walk you through this process, so the situation can be handled quickly and professionally so any water damage issues you should face are minimal or next to none. Hopefully you now better understand the stages and steps to do water damage removal, repair, and restoration in your home.