It is easy to mop a water spill from the ground or to wipe the floor when the water has overflowed. It is another hassle altogether when there is more serious water damage in the house. Yes, property maintenance isn’t always easy, but this is one of the bigger challenges homeowners face.
Homes in places that experience frequent hurricanes and storms are more prone than usual to such incidences. In Naples, Florida, for instance, in just one neighborhood, there were 130 homes that underwent water damage. In a place as prone to flooding, heavy rains, tropical storms, and hurricanes as Florida, this isn’t surprising.
If left untreated, even water damage as minor as a leaking pipe can result in serious problems and avoidable long-term costs. The only way you can circumvent this is by timely intervention and the right precautions for the future.
If you are yet uncertain about what to do in such a situation, you have landed in the right place. Take the following steps in case of any water damage to your property:
1. Identify the source
It is crucial that you identify and treat the problem from its roots; when the problem is small, like a leaking pipe, it sure is tempting to ignore, but remember that even a minor leakage can cause serious problems later.
Most often, the source is a corroded pipe or damaged appliance that is leaking; other times, it could be because of a clogged drain, structural weakness, or a natural disaster like a hurricane — an unavoidable problem in Naples.
In case the situation is critical, you may need professional help for water extraction. Look up Naples water damage restoration experts near me to find the right professionals to help you out in this dire situation.
2. Take the right safety precautions
Water damage is a threat to more than just your property. It also puts your safety at risk. Where there is water damage, there is a risk of electrocution, and when handling things on your own, you have to be cautious. Your first response should be to evacuate if the water damage is serious and there is a lot of standing water.
Yes, turning off the power should be the first priority too, but if that requires you to stand in water, it is better to just let it be until the electricians come.
Also, when cleaning the place, don’t forget to use protective gear. If not for gloves or rubber boots, there is a risk of cuts and injuries getting contaminated by unclean water. Be particularly careful when dealing with mold, and it is better to just leave visible mold untouched because disturbing spores can risk further mold growth.
3. Inform the insurance company
Amidst the potential chaos, it is easy to forget to claim insurance for the damage, but don’t let it skip your mind if you don’t want to incur high costs. Most insurance providers don’t cover damage from natural disasters, but other events like plumbing concerns or sewage backup will most likely be covered.
In Naples, Florida, despite the persistent risk of floods, homeowners insurance does not include flood damage. If water damage is due to any other source, consult the insurance company.
Even if insurance has slipped your mind, one thing you shouldn’t forget is keeping a record and documenting the damage as thoroughly as you can so you can claim insurance.
4. Start the drying process
As soon as the immediate danger is over and it is safe to do so — ideally when the stagnant water has receded, and there is no risk of electrocution — you should begin drying your belongings. Remove the furniture from the affected area and dry the floors and walls first. Ideally, all things should be removed from the damaged area within 24 hours to prevent mold growth.
Any wet rugs, carpets, cushions, furniture, wall hangings, etc., should be removed from the site and left to dry in the sun. If any electronics have gotten wet, you shouldn’t try drying them yourself. Leave them be and seek advice from an electrician on what should be done next.
To dry out the moisture from the place, open the windows and doors and turn on the fans. You can also use a dehumidifier to speed up the process.
5. Seek professional help
It isn’t always easy or safe to tackle water damage on your own, and sometimes calling in professional restoration services becomes necessary. If water damage is serious – for instance, if your home gets flooded – you might need to remove flooring, insulation, or drywalls. Sometimes, it also isn’t possible to restore furniture without some assistance.
If the hardware floors are soaked, or the walls are damp, damage restoration should begin within 24 hours because if left untreated, mildew or mold will start spreading.
6. Watch out for mold
It is easy to detect mold by sight or smell. Mold gives off a rotten, musty smell and appears as a fuzzy or slimy fungus that is green, brown, or black. It also tends to penetrate the surface. If it is powdery and fluffy and only on the surface, it is likely mildew.
If going DIY is your idea, you can remove mildew using household cleaning supplies like chlorine bleach, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide. To get rid of mold, you need a different approach as it penetrates the surface. It is best to leave this to the professionals so that it gets treated once and for all.
Water damage, no matter how minor, can pose serious health and safety risks if not for timely intervention. More than just an immediate threat to property, family, and possessions, there is a risk of viruses, bacteria, and fungal growth. As soon as you have identified the problem, locate the source, contact your insurance company, work on damage repair, call in the professionals, watch out for mold, and treat it as soon as possible. Each step counts, and timing is critical.