What To Do, With A Wet Home?

Home Inspector with WWW.ExecutiveRestoration.Com

Hoping that this never happens to you, but would you know what to do if you came home to find that you had suffered water damage to your home? Pipes in the wall break, supply lines break, appliances break or malfunction. It’s always unexpected, of course.

First things first, protect your contents. Anything on a wet floor or countertop should be removed to the garage or a room that isn't wet. For furniture you can place aluminum foil or sandwich baggies under the legs. Wood stain can be damaged, or the stain from the legs can get onto the carpet or other flooring and stain it as well. Metal at times can leave rust behind which is virtually impossible to clean and remove.

Next, call your insurance company. Depending on your situation, you may have coverage that can help offset the cost of drying and restoring damaged contents. You then need a professional company that is trained and certified to dry the affected areas. The quicker you can get the water cleaned up, the better off you will be. Water will soak into all kinds of materials, and the longer it remains, the more damage it causes. You need a professional with the tools and the man power to get the job done in a timely manner, as well as the knowledge required to effectively dry the entire home.

Water will travel on top of or under flooring, carpet, wood, tile, linoleum, etc. It will soak into baseboard trim, drywall, cabinetry bases, wood legs of furniture, etc. Gravity will pull it downwards, so if you have a crawlspace it will potentially need drying. If the water source is from a second or third floor, the floors below may have wet ceilings, walls, flooring, contents, etc.

You'll be introduced to new terminology like words such as affected, migration, thermography, hygroscopic, psychrometry. You'll see that parts of your house are taken apart (demo). But this is necessary. Inside of walls are framing studs, ceilings have joists, doors have headers. Exposing those wood components of the structure is necessary so that they dry as quickly as possible. If left wet, the baseboard or crown moulding trim, and the drywall paper might become a food source for mold (since water is now present, this has become an environment that mold can thrive in).

The majority of the time, mitigation companies, the professional house dryers, use dehumidification and air movement to accomplish the drying. They should check the drying progress daily. They might use other, more specialized drying equipment depending on what is wet (solid hardwood flooring, marble, tile are some examples). They might put up plastic to focus the drying, typically called containment. The smaller the amount of cubic feet of air the dehumidifiers are working in, the more efficient they are therefore the drying is accomplished more quickly.

When the drying is complete it is then the time a contractor is needed to put things back together. Drywall, paint, baseboard, cabinets, flooring, etc. The claim adjuster assigned to your claim can possibly help by suggesting two or three to choose from, the mitigation company that performed the dry out may have the capability to do the restoration work, or you can choose a contractor of your choice. You might need several contractors depending on their knowledge and skills, and also based on what work needs to be done.

It is a good idea to check your crawlspace areas, attics, roof and gutters, windows, supply lines periodically each year. You might catch a problem before it gets too serious. And you minimize the possibility that your insurance company denies coverage due to "negligence." And it's a good idea to replace all supply lines every six or seven years (toilets, sinks, clothes and dish washers, refrigerators, anything that has a supply line).

Anytime that you have experienced water damage to your home, you should keep an especially close eye on the areas that were affected. Water damage can quickly become mold damage if left to grow. A simple mold inspection for the next year or two will ensure that no damage was left behind from the water leak. 

One question I get asked all the time is this.  David, can a home be dried out without dehumidifiers?  There are a couple of ways to dry out homes.  They include fans or air movers, heat drying, dehumidifiers to name a few.  Did you know, that your central HVAC not only provides heat but also provides dehumidification to your home.  Did you know that your HVAC if you have one, will pull moisture out of the air.  Just put your thermostat in the on position or over ride position and let as much air run through your system as possible and pull out as much moisture out of the air as possible.  Another helpful tip for you to remember if you home gets water damage and you are on a budget or you do not have a dehumidifer.  Just put in some fans or air movers to also help with air movement.  

My name is David Snell and I own a company called Executive Restoration.  I love what I do and I love helping others understand what is going on with there home. If I can help you or assist youj with an issue, anywhere in the United States, I will gladly help you. on the phone.





Comments (1)

Elizabeth Straessle, MRP
All American Home Source Realty, LLC - Corpus Christi, TX
~Military Spouse~ AllAmericanHomeSourceRealty.co

It is amazing how much damage water and cause. I like your suggestion to put aluminum foil under furniture. Actually the person that cleans my Persian rugs suggested doing that to prevent bleeding of the color and any wood stains from our furniture.

Mar 13, 2012 05:09 AM