Do you have a leaking washing machine, plumbing leak, or a burst pipe? Dealing with water damage is frustrating and exhausting. In some situations, the problems caused by residential water damage are do-it-yourself fixes. Other kinds of damage should be assessed and handled by an expert. Here are a few things to know when dealing with water damage in the home.
Residential Water Damage
You’ll usually be able to clean up a small to moderate amount of water yourself. Hire professional help if water continues rising or the flooding is significant. Your DIY skills likely won’t be enough if you have experienced a natural disaster or a large flood.
What is the Source of Your Water Damage?
There are three types of water. Whether or not you can turn cleanup into a DIY project depends on what type of water you’re dealing with.
- Clean water typically comes from a burst pipe or rain. This water doesn’t contain harmful contaminants like bacteria or waste products and is safe to handle on your own.
- Gray water may have a small number of contaminants. This water comes from a leaking washing machine or dishwasher. You won’t be exposed to health hazards while cleaning if you have the correct equipment and protective gear.
- Avoid DIY clean-up projects when black water is involved. Black water comes from river floods or the sewer, for example. Black water contains pollutants, harmful organisms, and other dangerous contaminants. A professional is needed for this type of cleanup.
Amount of Water Damage in the Home
Minor damage can often be tackled on your own. However, consider that even small amounts of water can cause house systems to fail. For example, flooding upstairs has the potential to seep through the ceiling and cause it to weaken or collapse.
Another situation that might require professional help is when flooding submerges parts of your HVAC or electrical systems. These repairs are best handled by well-trained pros.
Take Precautions Around Water Damage
When tackling any water cleanup project, your first step should be turning off all electrical and water sources. You might need an electrician to ensure that no electricity is running through water damaged areas. Wear protective gear if there is any chance you’ll be wading through gray or black water.
Get Rid of the Water
A wet/dry vacuum may be enough for small amounts of water. For larger amounts, you can rent a pump to remove the water more quickly. Be careful if you’re dealing with basement flooding. Don’t remove the water too quickly. Pump out about 33% of the water per day in order to prevent wall collapses and/or floor buckling.
Dry the Area Out After Water Damage in the Home
Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours after your home experiences water damage. Use fans to dry all wet areas. Rent a large dehumidifier if needed.
Disinfect All Remaining Areas
Discard any porous items that got wet or anything that came into contact with black water. Any items that you’re keeping must be disinfected and completely dried out after getting submerged in water to help prevent mold growth.