The unfortunate fact is, at some point in the life of your home, you’re going to have to deal with some type of water damage, whether due to a disaster on a large scale such as Hurricane Harvey or just the age of your house. Nearly 40% of homeowners will have to deal with water damage to their home, and it’s the most common claim filed against homeowner’s insurance. If you should come across any water damage, you don’t necessarily have to hire a professional right away; you can handle some cases on your own (if the damage is small enough).
The first thing you should do is to figure out where the water is coming from; this can help determine how major the damage is. It can be tricky, such as if a ceiling is leaking, so if you can’t find the source yourself, you may need to call a professional.
If you’ve managed to find where the water is coming from, and it’s somewhere inside your home and not an external source, you should shut off the water to your house to help reduce any additional damage. It’s also a good idea to turn off the electricity to the house or at least to remove all electronics from the room.
It’s bad enough to have water damage your home; you don’t want it to damage your other property as well, so move whatever contents are movable that you can. Larger items, such as furniture, may need to be put on blocks to keep them out of the water. Letting contents sit in water can cause secondary damage to them, possibly even rendering them unsalvageable. Things that are not movable, such as cabinets and vanities, will have to be restored once the water damage is taken care of.
Once you’ve completed these steps and had the situation somewhat under control, the next step is to remove the water. A small amount can be taken care of with a shop vac. If more than 100 square feet have been affected, you may have to call in a professional restoration company to determine exactly the extent of the damage and get help in the cleanup process.
After the water has been removed, you’ll need to start the drying process to prevent mold from developing. Wet building materials will have to be removed and/or dried in place. If you know how to do so, remove baseboards to move the process along. Fans can help a great deal, so place a few fans throughout the affected area. This not only speeds up evaporation but keeps the air moving. A dehumidifier is also helpful for removing humidity from the air, helping to prevent mold.