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A broken pipe and the water damage clean up that it causes is the nightmare of every homeowner. Even a broken sink pipe with a small amount of water can do significant damage in a short period of time. What should you do when you are unfortunate enough to experience this crisis? Here are some tips for water damage clean up when you discover a broken pipe.
The first thing that you should do is find the source of the water damage is and stop the flow of additional water from entering your home. The more water the bigger the water damage clean up and more extensive the problem. It's easy to figure out when you've left a faucet on or a hard rain has filled your basement. But if you have a broken pipe that has burst that can’t be seen, you must turn off the water supply to your home as quickly as possible.
As a safety precaution, be sure to turn off the electrical power to the section of the home where the water damage has occurred. Electricity and water don’t mix!
After the panic has subsided and before you start your water damage cleanup, you want to assess the level of damage to your home. If you have a limited amount of apparent water damage, there are many things that you can do yourself. But if carpeting, rugs, tile, drywall and the ceiling below have been saturated call a professional water restoration company immediately. You need to be in damage control mode and understand you are racing against the clock.
Bacteria that causes hazardous mold spores can begin to grow within hours of the catastrophe. Waiting to take care of the problem can be a risk to you and your family’s health.
It is important to understand that you have a lot of work ahead of you to fix your water damage problem. Call the professional water restoration experts at Advantage Restoration and Cleaning can save you headaches and help you settle with your insurance company.
Now, assuming you can manage the water damage cleanup on your own, the first step is to get fresh air moving through area. Simply open windows and turn on as many fans as possible to get the air flowing throughout the house. This is will help dry the area, and will also help to reduce odors later on.
Next, start a dehumidifier running as quickly as possible to take moisture out of the air. Along with the fans, this will help accelerate your water damage clean up efforts by removing the water quickly. Be sure to check the reservoir tank often and empty it regularly. It is a necessary to run your dehumidifier until things are completely dry to avoid the conditions where mold and mildew can grow.
The next step is very important and will save hassles later. Take some photos of the damaged areas as evidence for your insurance claim. Like any accident, documentation is critical and give you proof that will put you in the best position possible when settling your claim.
Following these three important steps, go through your belongings that were affected by the water. Sort through any papers, books, photos and keepsakes and inspect for damage. If they are not valuable and ruined, throw them away. You can make photocopies of most paperwork and then throw it away. If valuables have been damaged, you can place them in a freezer food bag and freeze them until you can consult with a water damage professional to see if they can be saved.
Next, you'll want to get out a wet/dry vac and suck up as much of the water as possible from the water damaged areas. This will be especially helpful for carpeted areas, upholstered furniture and even tile or wood floors. Continue this process until you have gotten the bulk of the water damage cleaned up and there is no water appearing in the vacuum catch basin. This will take a great deal of time and effort, so be patient and persistent.
It is important to note that wood surfaces that have been affected by the water are more urgent than carpeted areas. Wood is porous and can soak up the water causing warping and delaminating. It is a good idea to remove the water as quickly as possible and then use fans and a dehumidifier on around these areas first.
Most broken pipe situations and the water damage clean up it requires affect the drywall board in walls and ceilings. If you have drywall damage as a result of the water, you are going to have to inspect and repair it quickly. As a general rule, it will be enough to dry it with a fan as long as it hasn't swelled and the seams are still intact. If there is swelling or the drywall seams have separated, you will need to replace the damaged area. The chalky material and the paper facing of drywall often act like a sponge and moisture transfers quickly over a broad area. It is best to replace the damaged drywall to ensure that mold doesn’t grow behind the painted surface. If you chose not to replace, watch out for spores growing on the affected area in the coming months.
Continue to ventilate the area with ample air flow until everything is dried. Continue to use your dehumidifier during this process as well. You may be doing this for some time until the area is completely dried out. Clean all affected areas with appropriate cleaning agents to be sure that the conditions for mold and mildew are totally eradicated.
If the water damage was the result of a broken pipe or other mechanical failure, repair it quickly and correctly so that you don't aren't cleaning water damage again in a few months. A water restoration professional and a qualified plumber can help you navigate through this maze of water damage clean up.
Finally, call your insurance company and determine if the water damage is covered under your homeowner’s policy. The experienced pros at Advantage Restoration and Cleaning can help you with this and all the other steps of water damage clean up when your next catastrophe happens.