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Water damage disasters are a concern for both renters and residential home owners. These disasters, brought on, most commonly, by a weather-related issue or a plumbing problem occur rather frequently and can wreak havoc on everything from kitchen cabinets to floorboards to rugs to hardwood floors and so much more. In its wake come a host of new problems if the water damage is not promptly and properly treated.
Water damage that is left too long before treating creates humid, moist conditions that are a breeding ground for toxic mold to thrive in. Studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have shown that exposure to mold has led to upper respiratory tract symptoms including coughing, wheezing and more in otherwise healthy individuals.
Water damage will thrive and continue to worsen and result in permanent damage if help hasn’t been sought as quickly as possible. Start by searching Google and find a water restoration company in your area that will come out and help you determine how much damage is present and if you should file an insurance claim. In doing so, your home will be properly dried and mold free. With that in mind, below are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you navigate the process if it happens to you.
Water Damage: Do’s
Most importantly make sure the source of water is turned off so that the damage is contained as much as possible.
After the water has been shut off, turn off the breaker in the area where there is damage, prior to removing any electrical devices that may have become wet.
All standing items such as plants, baskets, books and more should be removed to keep the wet carpet from holding a stain.
Draperies and furniture skirts should be lifted to keep them from getting wet; which is the key to dealing with water damage, preserving the integrity of your home as well as your personal possessions while awaiting the professionals to arrive.
Water Damage: Don’ts
First and foremost, don’t attempt to use your home vacuum to extract water. The result can be an electrical shocker to the user and it can also damage the device leading to an even bigger mess. If you have a shop vac made for water removal, still tread carefully.
Newspaper should not be used to absorb the water in high traffic areas as the ink can easily transfer to the carpet or flooring ruining it indefinitely.
Stay off the wet flooring as much as possible to keep it from spreading to other areas of the home which were otherwise not damaged.
While we mentioned using a shop-vac above to extract some of the water, please know that that is not enough – the flooring needs to be properly dried by a professional. Part of the process involves applying an antimicrobial agent that will help to prevent mold growth, which is most important. The problem with mold is that it doesn’t appear right away. In fact, it can often take weeks and maybe months to present and in doing so can drastically reduce the air quality of your home and lead to health issues.
The take home message is rather simple – should you experience a leak or flood in your home addressing it right away is the best route. Call a reputable plumber even if the damage appears insignificant. If you don’t know who to call, search Google and you will find plumbers and water restoration companies. They often work hand in hand and refer each other. Don’t let money deter you because a) you are likely to get a free estimate, b) you may have an insurance claim and c) not properly taking care of it now can lead to big problems down the road later.
Guest Post by Gabrielle Greene, co-author on TipsOnHowToSaveMoney.