Water damage can be notoriously difficult to evaluate, especially for a layperson. Whether you're dealing with water damage after a major plumbing leak or a weather-related flood, the first step is determining its impact on your home. Unfortunately, water can leak into hidden areas or leave excess moisture in voids behind walls, making them dangerously prone to mold growth.
Before you can take corrective action, you'll need a lot of information about the water damage in your home. The best way to gather this information is to work with a professional water damage restoration company to answer these three critical questions.
1. What Is the Source of the Water?
Knowing the water's source is essential to planning repairs and understanding necessary precautions. Water damage falls into three categories, with Category 1 water being the safest and Category 3 water being the most hazardous. You may also hear these three categories referred to as clean, gray, and black water.
In general, clean water comes from any supply source, such as a break in a cold water pipe in your home. At the other end of the scale, black water contains substantial contamination and includes sewage backflows or floodwaters. Gray water is between these two extremes, with a typical example being wastewater flowing from a dishwasher or laundry machine.
2. When Did the Water Damage Occur?
The longer water remains in your home, the more damage it will cause. However, water damage can persist even long after the obvious signs of moisture are no longer present. Since water will follow the path of least resistance, it can drip between floors, end up in the voids behind walls or ceilings, or even accumulate in your basement.
Mold can also start growing within 48 hours, so even a few days without action can lead to more extensive damage than you might expect. Your water damage team will need to understand how long water has been in your home to understand how deeply it has penetrated the structure and whether mold may already be a major issue.
3. What Clean-Up Steps Have You Taken?
Quick action is essential to minimize the long-term impacts of water damage, although starting clean-up on your own is not always advisable. Never attempt to enter flood waters or clean up substantial Category 3 water damage without wearing appropriate personal protective gear. On the other hand, you can take some basic steps (such as using box fans or shop vacs) to begin drying clean water damage.
While you won't be able to remove water nearly as effectively as a professional clean-up crew with commercial-grade equipment, removing some water from your home can have a big impact. These steps can make the rest of the clean-up process easier for your water damage restoration contractor, saving you money and potentially reducing the damage to your home.
Contact a water damage restoration company to learn more.