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What Do You Do After Extensive Water Damage in Your Home?

It often depends on the severity of the water damage and the cause of the damage. Water damage due to floods and sewerage spills are treated differently and can have a number of adverse consequences as opposed to an overflowing bathtub or kitchen sink.  When looking at a extensive water damage situation, there are a few aspects that would need to be addressed before any clean up can begin:

Safety checks

Make sure the electricity is off at the mains and check if any appliances have been compromised by water, unplug all appliances from their sockets and do not use until thoroughly inspected for water damage. In severe cases, you might want to get a professional in to check for structural damage before anyone enters the property to continue with the inspections. Do not enter the building if there is any chase of structural damage or electrical damage. Make sure the gas is turned off and that there are no gas leaks. Wear the correct PPE such as boots, gloves, eye protection, preferably a hard hat and possibly a respirator in the event that there may be mold or even asbestos contamination. Check for insects and wildlife in the case of a flood as these may have been swept in inadvertently or have entered your home in the search for a dry area.

Food and Water

Make sure that your water supply has not been contaminated.  If there is any chance of contamination, purify your water before use, including for washing your clothing, your body or eating and cooking utensils and crockery. Water should be purified by boiling for a minute or being treated with unscented chlorine.  Check food for contamination.  You can generally save tinned food provided you remove paper labels that can hold contaminants. Wipe them down with bleach water. Any boxed or bagged food that has any potential of having being compromised should be safely discarded. Throw away any utensils that cannot be adequately sterilized such as wood cutting boards and baby teats and pacifiers. Wash all dishes with hot soapy water and then stand in bleach water for 15 minutes.

Bedding, Carpets and Furnishings

It is always better to get in a professional to assess furniture, bedding and carpeting that may be able to be saved. Professional companies generally have equipment and chemicals that can disinfect and clean specific items and can advise you on those items that would need to be discarded.  In most cases they can also assist in the safe destruction of contaminated items from your home. All items that are cleaned would also have to be dried thoroughly to remove all moisture to avoid a mold growth in the future.

Walls and Floors

Walls and floors will need to be assessed for damage and whether they can be repaired or need to be replaced as well as being thoroughly checked for structural damage and possible moisture which can lead to mold growth in the future. This type of work is generally better undertaken by knowledgeable professionals to ensure that you do not have a problem in the future due to wall or floor damage or excessive mold growth if the water is not thoroughly dried up.

Hiring a qualified professional to assist with the water damage remediation in your home can save you time and money as they know how to repair items that can be repaired and can advise on items that cannot be repaired or cleaned adequately. They can also assist in cleaning up after the damage and restoring your home to a live-able state. Contact a local company for a quotation and you might even find that your home owners insurance will cover the cost of the hire.

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