Harvey and Irma have certainly poured enough rain on the country over the past two weeks and much of the population found themselves taking on extra water in their homes – be it catastrophic flooding or just inconvenient puddles. Whether you got a large or small amount of water damage in your home, here are some suggestions on how to proceed:
Stop the Water
For minor water problems, figure out where the water is coming from and stop it. During the sideways rain from Harvey, some neighbors had water that crept under the front door and warped their hardwood floors. Stopping that water from coming in was as simple as temporarily placing towels outside the door and installing a new door sweep. For others, the fix may prove to be more complicated and you may have to call in a contractor. Just remember that it makes no sense to move forward with your clean-up if water is still coming in. Do your best to fix the original problem before you move on to the next step.
If there is major water damage, this step may be impossible but for less water, bring in high-powered fans and use your Shop Vac to clean up all the water. For what seems to be major damage, call in the professionals because they may be able to dry it out with their commercial-grade dehumidifiers and fans. For major damage, you may have to move on the next steps before you get everything completely dry.
If water has been standing for an extended time or when debris clean-up is involved, wear gloves, masks and thick rubber-soled shoes to protect yourself from mold and bacteria as well as damaged wood, nails and other dangerous items.
Move Damaged Items
As taxing as it is, move out any water-damaged items. Go ahead and trash things that can’t be salvaged, looking critically to determine what can be saved and what can’t. Go ahead and wash things that may be able to be salvaged after a good clean; use bleach when appropriate.
Clean and Disinfect
After anything that has soaked up the water has been removed, start disinfecting with warm water and a disinfectant like Pine Sol or Lysol. Wipe down walls, floors and anything else that could have come in contact with the water. Bacteria can begin growing within 48-72 hours of water damage, potentially even quicker if the air is humid and air flow is non-existent.
Assess the Remaining Damage
If you have minor damage and your leak issues have been fixed, your solution may be as simple as replacing a few floor boards or putting your clean and dry carpet back down. However, major water issues will require calls to contractors to begin quoting your job. Do this as quickly as you can because it could be weeks or months before a contractor can get you or his or her job schedule.