What to Do If You Have Emergency Water Damage in Bloomfield CT
Did you know that hurricanes cause an estimated $4.6 billion in emergency water damage per event? And that’s just the damage caused by storms! It’s not even counting things like overflow, burst pipes, and sewage backup. Emergency water damage is scary because it can ruin properties and affect the inhabitant’s health.
As such, it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible. But exactly what should you do when you discover water damage? And is all water damage serious? If you have these types of questions, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about dealing with this home problem. Let’s get started!
What Are the Different Types of Emergency Water Damage?
Before we begin, it’s important to first go over the different types of emergency water damage. Keep in mind that the extent of the damage is often determined by the type of water in the house.
There are three types of water: white, grey, and black. Blackwater, which contains fecal matter, is the greatest cause for concern. You can learn more about them by checking out this guide here. However, it’s vital to remember that even the smallest leak is capable of developing into a dangerous mold. So, all water damage should be handled with abundant caution.
Sewer backup occurs when raw sewage is forced into your home through pipes and drains. Generally, this is one of the more costly types of damage since it almost always involves black water. There are a variety of things that can cause this type of water damage. More often than not it’s caused by a large block in the city sanitary main or aging pipes.
However, it can also be caused by natural events like storms. This happens when leaves or other debris block the gutter system. The result is a backup entering the home.
Overflow occurs when water escapes from appliances. This can be caused by clogs, like when a toilet overflows from a clog. However, it can also be caused by machines that are beginning to break down. For example, when a water heater breaks down it can discharge water and flood an entire area.
Most of the time the water that comes out of this type of situation is greywater. However, in some cases, it can also be black water. Often people associate overflow with appliances like dishwashers and toilets. However, you’d be surprised by the number of household appliances that can cause flood-like conditions.
While sewer backup and overflow can cause flooding, the term refers to a specific type of water damage. Officially, flooding involves water that enters your home from a source that overflowed. Generally speaking, a flood isn’t localized to one house. It affects acres and acres of land. As such, the term is reserved for the type of flooding that accompanies hurricanes and other rough storms.
Flooding can contain a mixture of grey and black water, depending on the area where it hit. These are generally the most serious types of water damage because they can cover rooms, floors, and even the entire property, in water.
Construction water damage occurs when buildings undergo major construction. For example, if a roof is damaged, then there may be a large hole in it for an extended period.
During this time a rainstorm can cause water to enter the home. Generally, this type of damage is the least serious. However, it can still cause serious damage in the form of mold if left unattended. Temporary solutions like tarps and buckets are a good way of protecting against this construction water damage until you can get it fixed.
What to Do When You Discover Emergency Water Damage
When you discover emergency water damage there are typically a million things running through your head. What should you do first? Call someone? Deal with the water?
It can be easy to panic and make a potentially dangerous mistake. Luckily, in this section, we’ve broken down what you should do into six easy steps you can follow. Just make sure to follow these tips, and you should be fine.
1) Make Sure Everyone is Safe and Stop the Water
The most important thing is safety. Emergency damage caused by flooding presents a potentially dangerous situation, especially if it comes in contact with electrical devices. Contact with charged water can cause serious injury or even death. As such, if the situation is serious, then you should evacuate yourself and your family from the area.
If you can, then you should try to get any valuable objects you don’t want to lose — things like family jewelry, cash, or heirlooms. However, remember that no material possessions are worth your life. It’s not worth it to try and risk your safety for these objects. You can make the situation safer by turning off the main power and all the individual fuses.
You should do this even if your power isn’t working. However, don’t try it if you can’t safely access the power controls. Next, you should try to stop the flow of water. More water means more damage, so the quicker you can stop it.
If you can’t access your home, or you can’t identify the source of water, then you immediately contact a professional. Once you do, they’ll immediately walk you through the water damage restoration process.
2) Remove the Standing Water (If Possible)
The longer that standing water is left sitting, the more damage it will do. As such, if you have the means, then you should try removing it yourself. You will require a sump pump to deal with standing water. If there isn’t much water, then you may be able to get away with a wet vac.
However, before you begin, make sure that you first put on protective gear. This includes things like a respirator, rain boots, and rubber gloves to protect you from the contaminants in the water. When using a sump pump you should find the lowest spot possible in the flooded area. In some instances, you’ll need to lower the pump down with a rope.
Never dive down into flood water to place the sump pump. Once you get most of the water out of the area, open all the windows and doors in your house to let air start circulating. If you want more tips on what to do immediately after flooding, then check out our guide on dealing with water damage.
3) Document the Damage and Contact Insurance Company (If Applicable)
After you deal with the standing water, it’s important to document the extent of the damage with detailed pictures. This step is important even if you don’t have insurance. You can send them to repair and restoration professionals to quickly give them an idea of what they’re dealing with.
If you have water damage insurance, then you should contact your agent as soon as possible. The quicker you get in touch with them, the faster you can get access to your claim. Once you have them on the phone allow the agent to walk you through the process. Most of the time you will need to make a detailed list of the damages caused by the water.
Also, ask about samples. Some insurance companies require samples of water damage, like a moldy piece of rug. You should also keep receipts of all your expenses during the cleaning process.
Some insurance providers will even cover things like motel bills during the nights when you can’t stay at the house. Unfortunately, many insurance companies don’t cover flooding that occurs during storms or other natural events. Usually, this requires a separate policy.
4) Clean Up to Protect Your Health
Now it’s time to start cleaning up your home. The first thing you should do is get rid of any debris that may have entered. Make sure you are careful of any potentially dangerous debris like sharp objects, fecal matter, and mud. If the damage is extensive, then it may not be safe to live in your home.
During this time you should also move your furniture and electronics to a safe place where they can dry out. Once you remove as much physical debris as you can, spray down the area with clean water. Now it's time to prevent mold growth. Mold typically develops within a day or two of contact with water.
As such, time is of the essence. Remove any carpets from the area. Mold is next to impossible to remove from carpet fibers. Then, disinfect all hard surfaces with a bleach solution. However, typically families can set up a clean room, that’s untouched from damage. You can live in this room until all the serious restoration and cleaning has been finished.
However, organizations like the AFHH recommend not having children in your home during this process. Unfortunately, even the most thorough DIY cleaning isn’t enough to stop the water from absorbing into your drywall, floor, and ceiling. As such, you will need to consider hiring restoration services.
5) Begin the Restoration Process
Even the most thorough DIY cleaning process likely won’t be enough to entirely rid your home of water damage. As such, we highly recommend hiring a professional to check the extent of the damage. The individuals are knowledgeable enough to spot hidden damage that will get worse if left unchecked.
You can find these types of companies through your insurance provider or on your own. Typically, if you go through your insurance company, then they’ll give you references you can use. However, if you aren’t insured, or you don’t want the insurance company’s reference, then you will need to find a company on your own.
So how do you find a company you can trust? One way is by making sure that they’re certified with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or the IICRC. IICRC’s standards ensure that only respectable companies can become certified.
How to Prevent Water Damage in the Future
If you suffered expensive repairs because of water damage, then you probably want to know how you can prevent it in the future. While there is no 100% effective solution, there are practical measures you can take to reduce the extent of damages. For example, consider replacing the floors in flood-prone rooms with waterproof material like concrete, tile, or stone.
You should also check for leaks and cracks around your property. Water can easily enter through these areas so make sure you seal them. If your water damage was caused by faulty pipes or appliances, then you should replace or repair them.
You can also stop potential seepage by rearranging your storm drains and gutters. Make sure these things are facing away from the house so that water doesn’t get in the basement or into the foundation. If your basement is prone to flooding, then you should consider putting appliances on risers. This will protect things like your washing machine and dryer from small floods.
Do You Need Help With Emergency Water Damage? Contact SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield
We hope this article helped teach you what to do when you discover emergency water damage. When it comes to this type of property damage, preparation is key. Unfortunately, even the most prepared individuals can be taken by surprise. When you feel overwhelmed by home damage, then get in touch with a professional like the SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield.
When it comes to protecting our Connecticut communities from water damage, you won’t find a more trained team of specialists. We offer 24/7 emergency services that will get to you faster than any other company. Don’t let minor water damage turn into a massive problem by ignoring it. Contact us today and let us help you get your life back to normal.