water damageWhen water damage occurs in a home, the primary damage is what most homeowners are typically concerned about. Destroyed items like furniture, electronics, carpets, walls, etc. present not only a huge financial burden, but also a great deal of inconvenience. But, it is important that you also be aware of secondary damage, which may not be as readily evident at first.

Secondary damage leads to problems with infestations of mold, mildew, and bacteria. Whether your roof leaked, a pipe burst, your plumbing backed up, or a natural disaster flooded your basement, your home’s structural integrity can be compromised by water damage, and the health of you and your loved ones is put at risk. Taking care of the problem right away is the best way to protect your life and property.

Why is Professional Help Needed?

Many homeowners fail to recognize just how challenging and complicated the process of water damage restoration actually is. Not only is it time-consuming and strenuous, but it also poses serious health risks to you and anyone else involved with cleanup. When exposed to outlets or wiring, standing water can become electrically charged. Professionals are trained to assess flooding safely and efficiently. Once the area has been evaluated, your water damage crew can deploy a strategy for removing any pooled water from your house. From here, they can begin working on ventilating and drying the affected areas in order to stop mold and mildew from growing. Any structural elements that have been excessively damaged and compromised by water will need to be repaired if possible, or else removed and replaced. The same is true for flooring. If they can be dried and salvaged, you will be advised by a professional that you can keep your carpeting or laminate flooring, but in many cases, saturated materials will need to be replaced. Finally, any mold, mildew, or bacteria that has already developed as a result of the water damage will be cleaned away following special safety practices.

What Can I Do Until Help Arrives?

Although water damage cleanup professionals are generally able to respond in a timely manner, you may want to take steps to start addressing the problem and mitigating risk right away. When water damage is detected, we recommend that you work to immediately find the source of the flooding. If possible, cut off the source or take measures to reduce the water’s impact. A burst pipe, for example, can be stopped by shutting off your home’s water, while a leaking roof may only be addressed by collecting the water in some type of bucket or reservoir until the rain stops or until snow is adequately removed from the roof. Smaller pools of water or floods can be remedied by simply mopping the area. Be sure to open windows and start ventilating right away. If larger pools of water have developed or if your home is completely flooded, we urge you to stay away from the standing water. As mentioned previously, water can become electrically charged, and coming into contact with this water could result in serious bodily harm or death.

IF and ONLY IF you are 100% certain that the area is safe, or if you have shut off electricity to your home, you may approach the flooded area and start doing some damage control while you wait for your professional crew to arrive. It’s smart to dry off wood furnishings and prop up any upholstery or cushions in a well-ventilated area to let them dry as much as possible. Remove any sentimental or valuable items from the flooded area in order to preserve them. Finally, you might consider running your air conditioning for maximum drying power.

Remember that once water damage occurs, time is of the essence. Secondary damage can start to creep up within 24 hours, so be sure to call Abbotts Fire & Flood to evaluate and start cleaning up your home right away.