Recovering from Water Damage: First Steps

By Thornton Plumbing and Heating

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Blog Highlights

  • The first thing you need to do is survey the area
  • In most cases, you will need to turn of your home’s main water valve
  • The next thing you should do is call your homeowners insurance company

Water damage is one of the most devastating disasters a homeowner can experience. In many cases, it leaves possessions ruined, a large mess to clean up, and the potential for mold development. Fortunately, if you ever find yourself staring at a flooded home or residence, there are several things you can do to make the process of recovery as painless as possible.

Here’s what you should do:

Electrical Safety
The first thing you need to do is survey the area. If you have a minor leak that is affecting a small area, you should turn off the circuit breakers that service that area. If the leak is larger, you may need to shut down the entire circuit panel. For standing water, you should contact your utility company to have them remove your electrical meter before you enter any of the flooded areas.

If in any doubt about the electrical panel, contact a licensed electrician or your utility company. You do not want to take chances when it comes to flood water and your electrical system.

Stop the Water
Once you’ve addressed the electricity, you need to determine where the water is coming from and the best way to stop it. In most cases, you will need to turn of your home’s main water valve.

This valve is usually in the basement near the main water supply. You can also check outside for the location of your water meter. From here the main line goes into your house and you can trace it back to where the valve is. It’s also possible that your shut-off valve is outside beneath the water meter grate. In this case, you will need a water key to reach the valve. You can purchase a water key at your local hardware store.

Cover Your Assets
The next thing you should do is call your homeowners insurance company and report the damage. Homeowners insurance often covers damage resulting from burst pipes, but not from natural floods. If your home has been flooded by a storm, you would need to have flood insurance. Make sure you take photos of all the water damage in your home so that you can easily claim your insurance money.

Dry Out Your Home
If you’re dealing with a large flood, you will need to remove standing water with an electric pump or wet/dry vacuum. Most carpet, food products, paper products, and electronics will not be salvageable, but you may be able to save some things, such as upholstered furniture and rugs if you act quickly.

Once you assess the items in your home and save what you can, you need to start the drying out process. Open all your windows and doors and use fans to circulate the air, forcing the damp air outside.

Get Help
You may be able to do some of the clean up and repairs yourself, but with the threat of mold, and depending on the extent of the water damage, you may want to consider hiring some professional help. If it’s a plumbing leak, you can usually get a team in your home the same day to begin the clean up process. However, with larger floods and extensive damage it may take a while for total cleanup and repair.

With water damage, it is important to act fast. These steps should be taken as soon as possible and preferably within 24 hours of your flood. Never hesitate to call in a professional.

If you have experienced flood damage recently, contact us to help you with repairs today!

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