Getting significant water damage in your home can be a disheartening experience. You can feel like you don’t know where to start, that it’s a futile effort.
But, while it’s hard and difficult work, you can still manage the situation to preserve your property.
Assess the Situation
Is the property safe to enter? Until the water stops coming in, there’s little you can do. Ensure that power is off at least to the floor with the water in it. If the water is coming from inside the house, make sure your water line is shut off as well.
Do not enter the dwelling if it’s unsafe!
Remove anything portable. If it’s still dry, get it out of harm’s way, either in an upper story or off-site. If it’s wet, lay it out to dry. Hanging textiles and cushions over railings and fences is a good idea. Electronics, though, should be dried indoors. Move quickly — mold sets in immediately after a flood so you’ll want to dry off, clean and sanitize your belongings as soon as possible.
Wet items are MUCH heavier than dry ones, so enlist help. Many things like rugs and furniture will require two people to move, particularly when the footing is treacherous. If you can’t move some large items of furniture, like dining tables or couches, try to get them up on cinderblocks or put the feet inside tin cans or plastic containers. Metal legs will rust when exposed to water, and wooden ones will absorb the water into a frame.
Dry Things Out
If you have power, or can safely string an extension cord from somewhere, set up box fans to help evaporate water. In warm weather, set your AC as cold as you can afford — it will help dehumidify things. Use a wet vac or specialty equipment to suck up water from carpets, never a household vacuum.
Water has a bad habit of pooling in cavities, like under cupboards and in walls, even in ceilings. You may have to drill holes to drain these areas, and even then it isn’t foolproof. If you suspect water in places you can’t get to, consult a flood repair contractor, who may have ideas for you.
Water damage can cost you more than money. It can cost you precious memories and important documents. Keep copies of these items in a safe place in another location like a safe deposit box. You’ll be glad you took this precaution ahead of time.