What You Need to Know After a Water Leak or Flood

  • It’s extremely important for your health to determine where the water is coming from. How you proceed safely is dependent on what category of water you’re dealing with. Dealing with water coming in through the roof is a lot different than a sewer back up. If you have contact with the damp surfaces, ensure you are properly protected.
  • It may be self-evident, but stop the water flow. If you’re dealing with a water supply line, this can often be done by shutting off the water supply. If it’s a leaky roof, you may need to have a temporary patch or tarp placed on the roof. Be safe in whatever you do and if you have any doubt call a professional.
  • Call for back-up. Many homeowners, property managers and business owners think they can handle the water themselves and in many cases that’s true but it often takes a long time. Unfortunately mold doesn’t wait. It will often begin to grow in 48-72 hours and will continue to grow if the relative humidity is 60% or higher. Professional mitigation firms have specialty extraction and dehumidification equipment that will dry your home much faster which is essential to prevent mold growth. They’ve also got the necessary muscle to move your furniture to prevent further damage.
  • Remove excess water. If there’s standing water, pump it out with a sump pump or push it out with a squeegee. Use of a shop vac or similar wet vacuum is usually not very effective at pulling water from the carpet pad. The key here is removing as much liquid as possible so that there’s less water that needs to be evaporated.
  • Get some air moving over the wet surfaces whenever possible. This will speed the evaporation process from the material. The evaporation rate will also be influenced by the vapor pressure in the air. Household fans may be a good start but this is another area where the professional tools really are designed for this specific job. Most move significantly larger volumes of air at higher speeds in a more directed path than household fans are capable.
  • Dehumidify the air. If you have more evaporation occurring than dehumidification you will cause what is known as secondary damage to the structure. This is when water vapor gets into the air through evaporation in the flooded area and then migrates to an unaffected area of the home and reaches its dew point, effectively moving your flood or water leak into a new location. Your professional mitigation firms will calculate the necessary dehumidification based on the affected area and amount of water present in your home to prevent secondary damage. They also have the specialty sensors to monitor how well dehumidification is occurring.
  • Control of the temperature is vital for proper evaporation. If the air and surfaces become too hot or too cold, dehumidifiers will become significantly less effective and may result in secondary damages. This is really where proper training and monitoring by the professional mitigation firm is worth its weight in gold. Properly trained technicians will monitor the drying process at least once per day to ensure the equipment is working properly, dehumidification is occurring at acceptable levels, and they will adjust equipment as needed throughout the drying process to ensure an ideal drying environment is maintained.