According to the American Insurance Association, water damage claims are the fastest growing claims. But, and an estimated 93% of water damage is preventable. Water damage is the most frequently filed insurance claim in the U.S. and billions of property damages each year are a direct result from water damage. Here are some water damage cleanup tips, as well as dos and don'ts after water damage.
Understanding the 3 Water Damage Categories
Category 1 - Clean Water: Uncontaminated water from sources like sink overflows and boiler pipes.
Category 2 - Grey Water: Water that may contain contaminants from sources like the sump pit or dishwasher discharge.
Category 3 - Black Water: Contaminated water from sources like sewage spills and floodwater.
If you don’t know what is causing the leak, clog, or drain problems, treat all water-impacted spaces as toxic and keep pets and children from the contaminated area. Do not track the contaminated material into areas that are free of damage or attempt to decontaminate areas with over-the-counter cleaners.
If Water Damage Occurs: DOs
- Turn off the source of the water and turn off any breakers for wet areas if the distribution panel is safe to access.
- Remove excess water by mopping, blotting and wiping.
- Turn fans on clean surfaces that may have absorbed water (like drywall or plywood subflooring).
- Remove wet cushions, fabric, and pillows for even drying.
- Move any valuables or items sensitive to moisture (like pictures, paintings, electronics, fur, leather or documents) to a safe, dry place.
- If the weather is warm outside, use a dehumidifier to help reduce the water damage process, drying the space and avoid mold growth.
If Water Damage Occurs: DON’Ts
- Do not enter any rooms that may be at risk for an electrical shock hazard.
- Do not wait to start water cleanup unless electrical hazard situations cannot be mitigated.
- Do not use a regular vacuum to clean up water.
- Do not leave printed materials on wet surfaces where the ink may transfer and stain.
- Do not turn on any electronics on wet surfaces or carpets.
Effects of Water Damage
Water will damage many surfaces, especially if it is not cleaned and dried properly. You may risk potential health impacts with allergic reactions, asthma, and other respiratory issues if mold is allowed to grow. It can be very difficult to ensure all moisture is eliminated without the proper tools to check the insulation, drywall, carpet and other porous materials. A water damage cleanup company in Utah can offer professional grade cleaning agents, commercial drying tools and water damage restoration assistance to ensure the job is done fast and completely.
Water Damage Prevention
The best way to avoid a water damage disaster is to avoid water issues in the first place. You can prevent water damage from happening by following these tips:
- Have your plumber inspect your water heater and boiler on a regular basis. If any hoses connected to your appliances show wear, change them out and choose high-quality replacements.
- Know where your water can easily be turned off in case of a water supply leak.
- Watch for signs of water damage and leaks, including spots in the ceiling or signs of moisture on the walls.
- If you have a sump pump, have a battery backup and alarm system in place in case of a sump pump failure.