Water damage to your home or business can be caused by a number of ways. It can happen slowly through slightly leaky pipe fittings or a small crack in your foundation, or it can happen quickly with broken water pipes (such as might happen in the winter), or a hole in the roof caused by a storm. Regardless of how it happens, it is a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. The longer the moisture is left in place, the more damage it is going to do.
The water causing the damage is usually placed in three different categories.
Category 1 - Clean/Sanitary water
Category 2 - Slightly contaminated and could cause illness
Category 3 - Highly contaminated and could cause severe illness or death.
For category 1 water damage, the home/business owner may be able to handle it themselves if it is in a small area. However, if it is in a large area, or is a Category 2 or 3, it may be time to call in a professional. The potential for more damage, or even illness, is a possibility. However, if the home/business owner still wishes to handle the problem themselves, here are a few things that need to be done immediately.
1) The first thing to do when water damage is encountered is to turn the power off. Water and electricity are a deadly pair. Stop the flow of water if it is still occurring. You can't start cleanup until this is done. You might have to cut off a main valve.
2) Next, start cleaning out the water. It is essential to get all the water removed as you possibly can as quickly as you can or you will have an ideal location for mold to grow and cause even more problems. If you feel it is a category 2 or 3 you should be wearing rubber gloves and a mask.
3) Once you have as much water out as you feel you possibly can, you need to bring some heavy duty fans into the area and put them to work drying up the moisture. They need to be kept running for as long as there is even a slight amount of moisture.
4) If you have damage that you know can't be repaired such as soggy drywall, warped or damaged flooring or carpet, it needs to be taken out; it still has a lot of moisture content and it is only in the way.
5) Once you are sure the moisture problem is solved and all the damaged goods are outside the building and the area is clean, it is time to overview the damage. You still may need to call in some expert help to inspect for mold, deodorize and disinfect, and inspect wiring if it was damaged
Keep in mind throughout this procedure that the KEY to restoration of water damage is getting all the moisture out so more damage can't occur.
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