Water damage is a depressively common problem for many homes throughout America, particularly those that lie in rain-affected regions. In the worst cases, homeowners can find their whole lives turned upside down by the disaster, a well as the sense of loss and emotional devastation that accompanies it. But, whilst we cannot help salvage your wedding photographs or high school football trophies, here are a few tips that will help you minimize the financial cost placed upon you by this misfortune.
- Staying safe
When confronted with a partially submerged living-room, the immediate reaction is wade right in and search for your much-loved valuables. This is to be avoided at all costs. With TV’s, lighting and air-conditioners, the modern home is a maze of electrical wiring; the potential cause of real tragedy. The first port of call should be to the fuse box to kill the flow of electricity in the entire house, whilst electricity insulated clothing such as rubber boots and gloves must be worn before attempting to retrieve anything.
- Getting the insurance in order
After the initial shock has passed, it is time to get to turn your head to more practical matters. Contact your insurance company immediately and have them tell you, in as much detail as possible, what they require for a claim to be valid. What you can be sure of however, is that they will demand photographs. Every stage of the clean-up operation should be documented, with every possible point of contention considered. It can be heart-breaking to go through your entire record collection and verify the damage but insurance providers have never been known for their sentimentality.
- Getting rid of the water
Once you have addressed the most pressing issue of insurance, it is time to begin about the process of actually banishing the water (see this San Diego water removal service). Pumps can be hired from the larger home improvement stores and will account for a large bulk of the water while the remaining residue can usually be eliminated by air conditioners or fans. There is likely to be a substantial amount of mud remaining which will require a shovel and some elbow-grease to remove, using a power-hose for any which proves more persistent.
- Retrieving valuables
Be realistic in what you think to be salvageable. Electrical items are almost certainly beyond repair while rot will have probably set into most fabrics. For anything you are unsure about, wipe thoroughly and leave to dry before deciding.
Stagnant water is a breeding group for all kinds of bacteria and the only way to ensure that you and your family remain safe from illness is to disinfect the entire area thoroughly. Mixing one part bleach to five parts water, scrub everything that you suspect came into contact with the water, a task that will require patience, graft and a mountain of scouring pads.
- When to call the professionals
Remember that no matter how much try, it is simply impossible to do everything yourself. Unless of course you are a trained electrician, you will require a professional to make your house safe and functional again. As previously mentioned, the flooding will have played havoc with the wiring and it is simply not worth taking chances with jobs of such a delicate nature.
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