Do your water damage restoration as soon as possible or you will regret it

I couldn’t wait to get to the beach for our summer holiday. The car was packed and I could already feel the sand in my toes. It was going to be an awesome holiday. As we drove along to the South Coast I felt the sea spray tickle my face, this is how summer is meant to be. A few days later, feeling fulfilled after a wonderful holiday at the seaside we started out journey home.  As we drove into our driveway, I looked forward to a hot shower and jumping into bed with the funny book I had started on holiday. Unfortunately, life had other plans for us. As we opened our door, instead of the familiar smell of our home we were greeted with something that smelt like a mixture between mouldy towels and a dead rat. My heart sank as I looked at my hubby who was squashing up his nose in distaste. ‘Did you forget to take out the dirt before we left,?’ he asked me. I had already started walking through towards the source of the smell and was horrified to find that our bedroom was flooded with water.

Our carpet was splodgy and our bed was soaked right through. I looked up at the ceiling and found the culprit, our geyser had burst at some point during our holiday and all the water had flooded into our bedroom. There was a damp hole in our ceiling, the wooden floors in my pyjama lounge had come up, my carpet was smelly and wet, the base of my cupboards were soaked with water and so was my bed and sofa. In addition to this our electricity had tripped (which was fortunate as our geyser does not draw water with no electricity), and the entire contents of my freezer had turned bad. I wanted to vomit and cry at the same time but I tried adulting instead and turned to my husband. ‘Our geyser burst, what are we going to do, maybe we can call a flood cleanup service?’ I was sure that there must be a few water damage cleanup companies close by that could help us immediately.  I really couldn’t deal with the smell and I just wanted to sleep on my bed again – my dry bed. I vaguely remember reading something about attending to dampness and water damage as soon as possible to avoid further damage to your belongings. I had no idea when the geyser had burst but the smell told me it had been a few days. My husband’s reaction was typical. He always feels like he can fix the car himself but we end up spending more money after his DIY attempts. ‘We do not need flood damage cleanup, this was not a flood it’s just a little bit of water from the geyser. We can do a home water damage restoration ourselves.

Google some water damage cleanup tips, I’m sure there are tons online,’ he said. Sighing, I got onto my phone and searched ‘flood damage cleanup tips’. There were tons of search results including results for flood restoration and many helpful tips which I am sharing below. Fortunately, we did not have a real flood on our hand and the damage was not as extensive as I thought. It turns out that flood damage really can mean a whole lot more damage, walls may need to be redone, roofs changed, furniture thrown out – amongst other things. I was grateful that our burst geyser didn’t cause too much damage and got to work on some of these wonderful tips I found for flood damage cleanup:

Turn off your water and electricity

For anyone who is onsite when there is a burst geyser or leaky pipe, turn off your water supply first. If you have a faulty geyser, open up some taps in the house (fill up your bathtub to use later, for example) to relieve some pressure in your pipes. Turn off your electricity as well so you lower the risk of electrical problems or a fire occurring. Do not use any electrical appliances or plug points until they have had ample time to dry.

Call your insurance company

Most insurance brokers will only let you use specific companies to assist with water damage restoration. My first reaction was to look for water damage restoration companies near me as well. Lucky hubby was keen on doing the DIY route which gave us a day to calm down. We stayed with family for the night and the next morning I called our insurance company, who informed me that there were specific plumbers and companies they approved. We would not have been able to claim had we called someone in without pre-approval. Much to my relief, they came in to do an assessment and approved repairs and replacements that were needed. They also called a company that specialised in flooded basements, cleanup companies like this are very good at handling water damaged furniture and flooring. Another handy tip is to take pictures of the damage to show your insurance company before doing any cleanup. Most insurance companies will take at least a day before they get to you and you will want to do some cleanup to minimize damage to your possessions.

Check if it’s safe to enter the flooded area

If the water is still hanging around, make sure it is safe (no electrical current) before proceeding. Keep pets and children out of the water just to be safe.

Clear up the water

You can hire a machine that suctions water which is very handy if you want to do a DIY water damage cleanup. Start by suctioning all the water up and throwing it around your garden (even though water has caused the damage it is always better to recycle it). Open all the windows, put on the air conditioning or some fans and use dry towels to mop up as much water as you can on all hard surfaces.  Soft furnishing like carpets, sofas and mattresses will need to be replaced if they have been damp for a long period of time.

Assess the damage and try and save some possessions                          

See what looks like it can be saved by a few days out in the sun and what needs to be replaced. Take everything, give it a good wash with appropriate detergents for each item and leave them out to dry. A wet carpet that has been left wet for over 48 hours generally will start growing mould and mildew. It is better to remove the carpet as one of your first steps. Once mould and mildew starts setting in the spores can spread to anything around it quite easily. It is imperative to get lots of sunshine onto all possessions and throw out any soft furnishing that has been wet for more than 48 hours.  There are some exceptions to this rule as there may be some professional carpet cleaning companies that could save your soft furnishings from mould and mildew if you really need to save your soft furnishings.  Again remember to liaise with your insurance company before taking any major steps like pulling up a carpet or laminate flooring (although most laminate floors will naturally lift up if waterlogged). Also, remember to check all your possessions even those in high cupboards and on your dresser. It is amazing the places water can reach! We had water that got into the topmost shelf in our closet, damaging the blankets and spare linen we had in storage.

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