Water damage can extend much further than you think. The extent of the damage will depend on how long the damage has been occurring and the source. Damage can be taking place behind walls, under floors, and above ceilings without your knowledge. If you discover water damage, there are 4 essential steps you need to take.
Identify the Source
It at all possible, identify the source. Your next actions will depend on if you’re a homeowner, renter, or member of a condo association. Turn off the water to a broken, leaky or corroded pipe, tarp a leaky roof, or unplug defective appliances. If you can’t locate the source, hire a professional who can. Don’t forget to take photos of the damage from all angles.
People to Notify
If you live in an apartment or condo, notify whoever is in charge of property maintenance. Keep a log of any communications about the incident. Contact your insurance company. Depending on the policy terms, they may repair the damage or pay for the services of a remediation company.
Remove Damaged Items
If your insurer wants to send an adjuster, don’t move anything until he or she has had an opportunity to assess the damage. Stress to the adjuster the potential for mold growth and the need for a quick intervention.
Clean and Sanitize
Depending on the extent of the damage and its source, you may be able to clean the space yourself. However, if the damage is due to a sewer back up, a professional remediation company should be called. Don’t try to salvage items yourself.
Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 hours in warm and damp conditions. You shouldn’t try to clean the fungi on your own. It’s a job for professionals that have the safety gear and expertise to remediate mold without contaminating other areas of your home.