First and foremost, don’t panic. We understand that this is a very stressful time and not something that your average person is readily equipped to deal with. That being said, there are professionals who handle these situations day in and day out. Here are 5 basic steps that you need to know and follow for a speedy recovery:
1. Shut off your water supply. There are a couple of ways to do this, with the most effective method being to cut off the water main to your property. This water main is typically found somewhere along the outside of your home – generally where there is a water spigot for a hose. You’re looking for a twist or turn valve that you can close. An easy way to make sure that it’s closed is to turn on any faucet to make sure that water comes to a slow drizzle. Another means for shutting off the water is to turn off the water valve in the area where the leak is – assuming you know definitively what is leaking. If you aren’t sure, shut off the water main and wait for help.
2. Call the professionals. You’ll want to contact a Water Restoration Company (i.e. Discreet Restoration) to schedule them for an emergency response. On average, a restoration company will be at your residence with extraction and drying equipment within a 2 hour window. The second professional that you may need is going to be a plumber. Depending on what is leaking will determine if a plumber is needed. It’s often a better idea to err on the side of caution and schedule a plumber for an emergency response as well. VERY IMPORTANT: If you’re filing an insurance claim, be sure that the leaking part(s) are saved and set aside for the insurance company. Be sure to also save the plumbers invoice, as the insurance company may request this as well.
4. Move belongings from wet areas to dry. While the professionals are in route, carefully relocate manageable personal belongings from the wet areas to dry. If the water level is high enough where electrical shock could be possible, do not handle a thing before shutting off power to this area. This can be done by turning off the corresponding breakers within your electrical panel. Be sure to confirm the power is off by looking at electrical devices plugged in within the area, as well as by flipping light switches.
5. Keep water from spreading. To the best of your abilities, try to remove as much water as possible to keep it from spreading to other areas of your home. If the water looks to be staying put, there is no need to stress over this, as the water restoration professional is going to be equipped with heavy duty machinery. To put it in perspective, a restoration company can remove about 80% more water within a given period of time, when compared to an average homeowner using towels, buckets and even mops to collect the water.
Now is the time when you turn things over to the qualified professionals and allow them to assist you with the recovery process. You may expect to see any combination of the following performed by the restoration professional: water extraction (removal), baseboard (molding) removal, blocking of furniture with foam blocks to prevent moisture wicking, installation of drying equipment (fans and dehumidifiers) and monitoring the drying process until drying goals are met. Drying goals are expectations that professionals work vigorously to meet. These goals are the point in which the drying process is deemed successful and complete.
When filing an insurance claim, it is especially important that the water damage caused by the leak is “mitigated” within a timely fashion. As a homeowner, you hold the responsibility of ensuring that steps are taken to limit the spread and overall severity of a water loss. By bringing a professional on-board to handle this mitigation process, you’re fulfilling that responsibility and ensuring that this loss qualifies for coverage from your insurance carrier. It is recommended that you file an insurance claim at your earliest convenience between the time you discover the leak and the days following the commencement of the mitigation process. The sooner, the better!