Water Damage – When Time Is Of The Essence
Water damage can be even more destructive to your home or business than a fire, and worse, the longer it goes untreated, the worse your problems will become. Timing is important following water damage, because you need to begin the water restoration process as soon as possible in order to avoid long term aftereffects.
Once your home has been damaged by water, you need to take very specific steps to secure the damaged area, steps that will minimize the damage and make the area safe to work in. The first order of business should be to locate the source of the leak and shut it off or block it. This prevents any more water from coming into your home, and in most cases will allow you to determine if the water contains contaminants or not.
If the home has suffered major damage, say as the result of a flood, you want to make sure the home is structurally sound before entering. Flood waters are incredibly strong, and more than capable of shifting a home on its very foundation. If enough force was applied, it will not take much at all to cause it to collapse.
All utilities should be shut off at their source. Electricity and water are a lethal combination and leaking gas may be easily ignited, causing an explosion that could conceivably finish the job the water started. You should also shut off the main water supply.
Contact your insurance company immediately. Some companies may refuse coverage if the claim is not filed within a certain time period following the damage.
Again, if damage is severe, cover doors and windows with plywood to prevent any further damage from rainwater, wind, ice, or snow.
Remove all loose items such as furniture, appliances, and valuable personal effects. These can be dried out, cleaned, and repaired elsewhere without getting in the way of subsequent repair and restoration efforts.
Material damaged beyond repair and other debris should be removed outside for proper trash pickup and disposal.
It is important to begin the process of drying out as soon as possible, so open all doors and windows to get air circulating through the residence. If possible, run your air conditioner if the weather outside is warm or your heater if the weather is cold.
Contact a professional, industry certified water damage restoration professional. These companies offer same day service and can have a technician to your door within an hour or so of your call. Be sure to choose a provider certified through Clean Trust or the RIA in order to avoid slipshod work or scam artists.
The ideal company will be able to handle all areas of your specific water damage problem, and return your property to its pre-loss condition. They can also work with your insurance provider or claims adjuster to make sure all work is properly covered and paid for in a timely manner.
Remember, when it comes to water damage, time is of the essence. It is important to act quickly, but intelligently in order to avoid long term damage to your property.