It's your worst nightmare come true: there's standing water all over your home's floors. Water damage is often one of the costliest events any homeowner can face, especially if you leave it unaddressed for too long. Water can soak into unexpected areas, leaving moisture behind and creating an environment ripe for mold and rot.
Any significant flood will likely require professional water damage restoration, but that doesn't mean you're helpless in these situations. Quick action can often help you minimize your costs, reducing the work the pros need to perform to restore your home. Understanding what you should (and shouldn't) do after a flood can help keep your costs manageable and restore your home more quickly.
Evaluating Your Flood Damage
Knowledge is power, and it's important to analyze your situation, assess risks, and decide on your next steps. When you notice water on your floor, your first question should always be, "Where is it coming from?" If there's no noticeable smell and the water looks clear, it's likely from a supply line and safe for you to handle.
On the other hand, any unpleasant odors, dark colors, or other indications that the water may contain sewage are huge warning signs. "Black" water can contain dangerous pathogens, so you shouldn't attempt to clean or dry this water yourself. Likewise, flood waters from outside your home can be dangerous, and you shouldn't attempt to clean them without protective gear.
Electrical shocks are another potentially severe hazard. While your breakers should trip and protect you, never assume that this is the case. If you see water reaching up to electrical outlets or have electrical outlets on the floor, avoid the water and call a professional. Floodwater electrical risks are very real and not something you should take lightly.
Minimizing Your Water Damage
Once you've assessed the situation, your first step should be to call a water damage professional. While waiting for them to arrive, you can start taking additional actions to minimize damage. If you're sure it's safe to do so, try to get as much water as possible off your floors. Use buckets, mops, or anything available to remove the bulk of the water. Use protective gloves and boots even if you think it's safe.
If possible, run fans and dehumidifiers while you clean, but keep these electrical appliances off the floor and clear of any water. You can also run your home's air conditioning system to help remove moisture, but avoid doing so if you see evidence of flooding near floor vents. These early steps can often prevent some of the most severe consequences of flooding in your home.
Although you may be able to remove a large portion of the water this way, you should never assume that do-it-yourself solutions are good enough to resolve serious flood damage. Professional restoration experts will bring in specialized equipment to locate hidden moisture, more effectively dry your floors and walls, and identify the parts of your home that will require replacement or repair.
Reach out to local water damage restoration services to learn more.