When your home experiences flooding, the longer water damage goes unchecked, the more the water will spread, the more damage is done, and the greater the potential for mold growth. You will quickly need to determine the damage, then address how to restore it. For larger problems, there is a third step– determining when to call in a water damage restoration team. Here are some tips:
Step #1 – Assess the Damage
The most important factor of danger is the water source; what “category” had contact with your belongings? Water damage is assessed by the type of liquid involved: was it liquid from a sanitary source or contaminated with chemical, physical, or biological elements?
The three categories describing the type of liquid involved are:
Category 1. This is liquid from a clean and sanitary source: faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, etc.
Category 2. Greywater is contaminated with chemical, physical, or biological elements that may cause illness. Sources include dishwasher or washing machine overflows and requires additional cleaning and decontamination steps be taken to prevent illness.
Category 3. The worst classification contains significant pathogens and is grossly unsanitary. Also called “black water,” its sources include sewer backup, flooding from rivers or streams, toilet overflow, or stagnant liquid that has begun to support bacterial growth. Unless the item is non-porous and valuable enough to sterilize, consider all property contaminated.
Step #2 – Dry Everything
According to the EPA, mold typically will begin to develop in between 12-36 hours; this is the only chance you have to save your belongings. Place large fans in the center of the room, directed so that they blow air directly on the damp floor. Let the fans blow all night; keep foot traffic off the wet carpet. If, after 12 hours of air flow, you don’t see a noticeable difference in the condition of the carpet, you should consider replacing it.
Get your furniture outside into fresh air and sunshine. Toss out food, cardboard boxes, and cheap area rugs. Rent or buy a mechanical dehumidifier, a relatively low-cost way to ventilate damp and musty-smelling rooms. Use the settings to control the humidity level. Aim for a relative humidity of 40-50 percent; any higher can lead to mold growth and below 30 percent can cause structural problems.
Step #2B- Is it Worth Saving?
Since the first day is so important, use your time wisely. Be honest; is it worth the effort to salvage each item? To determine whether a piece of furniture is worth saving, take into account the cost of the item in relation to the cost of restoration. Replacing aging carpet or worn furniture may not be the most practical choice. Consult professionals to help determine its value using defined industry standards. Since every water damage situation is unique, the best way to determine what can be saved is to have a local restoration company inspect and evaluate the situation.
Reassess and Step #3- Ask for help
Do you have the tools and the manpower to move faster than mold can get established? Are you able to get a steady supply of clean, fresh air across the room until the final clean up? If your problem is too large to handle quickly on your own, enlist qualified water damage experts. Call G.S. Jones at 412-766-6886 for the equipment, training, and expertise to safely clean and restore your property.
Our team of professionals will immediately assess the situation and protect your home. Armed with information about the extent of the damage to your carpet and the likely cause of the damage, GS Jones can contact your insurance company and determine with them what replacement help you might expect.
G.S. Jones operates as a family-owned business with the guiding principles of ethics, quality, and a sound cost-conscious approach.