Oh no!!! You’ve just walked in the door and turned the corner toward the kitchen and you see a shiny, wet puddle in front of the dishwasher. Or you went to move the clothes from the washer into the dryer and your socks (that you are wearing) are soaked from the wet floor. Or you followed the sound of running water into the bathroom to discover an overflowing tub. What’s next? What should you do first?
Take a moment to assess the situation-– is the water still coming? If it is, find the source and turn it off. A faucet is easy, a broken water line is harder. You could turn off the valve under the sink or to the washer. But if a pipe is cracked, you might need to turn the water off at the street valve. If you can quickly accomplish this, attempt it. If you know that it will take time, grab the phone now and call Restoration 1 of Birmingham. When you get the dispatcher on the phone, give as much info as you can about what you suspect is the cause. Now, while you wait for the team to drive over to your home, use this next few minutes wisely.
Rugs, cushions, curtains and other porous possessions will be acting like sponges, absorbing any water in contact. These wet furnishings will help the water get into the pores and seams of your flooring so place them outside (or on a concrete floor.) You don’t want these items to create an additional mold problem further down the road.
If you know that you have metal feet on your furniture, you can slide a piece of aluminum foil or a plastic lid between them and the floor to avoid rust stains. (Let the Restoration 1 of Birmingham team lift the heavy things!)
When the team arrives, they will bring the industrial equipment. Right now you need to go “low tech.” Soak up small puddles and spills with towels, mops and clean rags. If you have an easily accessible wet vacuum, start on the main problem area. Pull up as much water as you can ( but dump the container before it gets too heavy to carry.) A residential wet vac unit will not be enough to solve the problem but it will keep the problem from getting worse until Restoration 1 arrives.
The technicians will quickly determine the best course of action for your situation. Expect them to bring in the proper fans, blowers, air scrubbers and dehumidifiers for the room size and materials.
They might place fans around the room so the entire surface receives the blowing air. Depending on the humidity and weather, they might open the windows to bring in more moving air. They will also decide whether it is better or worse to run the HVAC unit.
If mold has an opportunity to live in a warm, damp, airless place in your home, it can flourish. Mold can experience allergic reactions and breathing problems. Stay safe. Follow the instructions of the clean up team– keep cabinet doors open, keep fans blowing, and leave the dehumidifier on.
The team will check for any remaining moisture with a moisture testing meter. Don’t be surprised if the meter still shows signs of moisture in wooden materials, even after a day or two. For example, it might take up to several weeks for wood flooring to dry completely. The humidity levels in the room will also be monitored. Again, the fans and dehumidifier might need to run for days until the moisture test shows a significant decrease in airborne moisture.
Start taking your “Home Inventory.” Document the contents of your home in the water damaged areas in one form that you can get to easily. Having your inventory completed will help to move your insurance claim along easier with your agent or adjuster. Use your cell phone to pan over the space to help you remember what is in there.
Never wait for the flooring to dry naturally; the sooner you call for help, the better off your clean up will go. As soon as you see unexplained water in your home, pick up the phone and call Restoration 1 of Birmingham for water damage cleanup services that make a difference. In Shelby County & Jefferson County, call to dispatch the clean-up team.