I Have Water Damage!
What do I do now?
Inspect your property
Just because the water is gone doesn't necessarily mean you are safe! It's important to follow a few basic safety precautions:
- Turn off the power to avoid electrocution
- Turn off any battery powered items
- Turn off the water to avoid further problems
- Turn off the gas in case of leaks
- Watch for animals, especially in areas such as Florida.
- Avoid contact with the water and your mouth or eyes to avoid disease.
- Make sure there isn't any structural damage
- Avoid dangerous debris such as broken glass.
Secure your property
- Make sure that your property is effectively closed up and locked when unattended to avoid looters and squatters.
- Seal any possible entrances and exits which cannot be shut.
- Not that electric devices generally used for safety (such as alarms) may no longer be functioning.
Survey the damage
- Property Walkabout: Take a lap around your property and look for any areas that seem damaged.
- Inspect damaged areas closely to determine their risk level.
- Assess water levels by inspecting the soil deposited on the walls.
- Only after the structure is assuredly safe should you attempt to re-enter and document internal damage.
Recovering from Water Damage
- What to keep and what to toss
- It's a good idea to throw away items which are difficult to safely clean and disinfect, such as wooden cutting boards, plastic eating utensils, and baby products. It is safe to keep such items porcelain and stainless steel kitchen utensil which can be effectively cleaned.
- Dry out
- Naturally, a big step in water damage recovery is to dry the property out. One of the most common methods of doing this is through air drying, it is rather effective but can be slow.
Damage to books and photos.
- Freezing your books and photos is the best way to avoid permanent water damage. Place books and photos into plastic bags prior to freezing. Consulting a professional or researching the topic in greater detail would be a good idea prior to doing this yourself.
Finding Water Damage Risks
In the Kitchen
- Check for leaks, damaged pipes, damaged tile or grout, water-stained or softened walls, leaks or moisture near large appliances such as the refrigerator.
In the Bathroom
- Check for leaks and extra moisture around the toilet, shower, and bathtub. Inspect the flooring, and piping for any visible damage or moisture. Check the ceiling and walls below the bathroom as well as the walls around the bathtub for softness or discoloration.
In the Attic
- Inspect attic vents regularly as they are a potential water threat. Also check attic insulation for wetness. If found, the source of the leak should be repaired, and wet insulation should be replaced.
In the Washing Machine
- Check for leaks or drips from appliances such as washing machines when they are not in use. This may be indicative of a damaged shutoff valve.
In the Refrigerator
- Check for leaks or moisture from the refrigerator, as well as the growth of mold. These are all indicative of water damage.
On the Wall
- Check for stains, discoloration, or softness anywhere on the walls or ceilings. This is a result of excessive moisture within the walls and is a direct result of water damage. This also indicates there is a water leak or something is causing moisture build-up.
Preventing Water Damage
- Check regularly for drips, leaks or any excessive moisture in your home.
- Check for water damage to walls and ceilings which have pipes or appliances on the other side. Ceilings below bathrooms for example, and walls behind kitchens.
- Damaged appliances can lead to leaks, ensure that old appliances are in proper working order, and that they are not behaving abnormally (strange noises, excessive motion in washing machines, etc.)