Seeing our house flooded can be devastating. People’s first instinct is to salvage anything they can, then start cleaning the house right away. Only after that will they consider calling an emergency mitigation company.
Although our first impulses make psychological sense, our first response should be to call a reputable and trusted restoration company: they will have the appropriate tools and expertise to mitigate the damage and complete the restoration work.
Throughout our extensive experience, we have spotted the seven most common mistakes people make when tackling flood damage on their own. These are honest and understandable mistakes; however, they can make flooding worse and create bigger problems down the road.
1. Waiting Too Long
Water is pernicious. It seeps through floors, drywall, and walls, not to mention carpets, cupboards, and closets. The longer you wait, the more water will continue its destructive work and create further problems in the long run.
Sometimes homeowners attempt an initial cleanup on their own and postpone calling a restoration company while they consider whether they really need it or not.
Unfortunately, once water has leaked, it can cause dangerous mold and structural damage to the foundations of the house. Experienced crews can recognize the unseen damage and remedy it. The longer you wait, however, the worse—and costlier—the problem becomes.
2. Failing to Address the Root Cause
You may think that a burst pipe was the cause of the flooding—and it may well be. However, the obvious problem often differs from the real one.
A burst pipe may be the evident origin of the damage but there often is an underlying problem that needs fixing to make sure no more flooding occurs.
An experienced restoration company will establish what caused the problem in the first place and repair the true source of the problem.
3. Using the Wrong Equipment
Buckets, brushes, mops, and towels are excellent cleaning tools for everyday cleaning and tidying. Unfortunately, a flood is an exceptional circumstance requiring extraordinary equipment and tools.
Restoration companies have professional tools that pump water, dehumidify, and deodorize large areas. They can do this in a minimal amount of time to limit the water damage. And they know how to reduce the damage.
Sometimes homeowners make things worse by starting the cleanup with everyday equipment. They end up pushing the water deeper into carpets and floors and onto corners, thus worsening the damage and creating breeding grounds for potentially dangerous mold.
4. Ignoring Hidden Water Damage
A flooded house requires a thorough inspection to estimate the real damage. Sometimes, damage is hidden and will only show up in small stains or mold.
In a sense, cleaning up a flood is the easy part. Evaluating the hidden damage, however, requires expert knowledge and equipment. Restoration companies have special tools that show whether there is residual humidity in walls and floors.
Experts will also check the structural foundation of the house to make sure that it hasn’t sustained any permanent damage. And they will disinfect to make sure no mold develops in areas that were flooded.
5. Salvaging or Throwing Away Personal Belongings
People’s first instinct is to salvage any items they can from the flood. It is an understandable and very human instinct. However, people sometimes forget that flood water is often contaminated with bacteria. Personal belongings need to be disinfected properly before they can be used again.
Another common mistake concerns the opposite attitude: people discard belongings which they perceive to be beyond repair. However, a professional with the right equipment can work miracles in restoring water-damaged belongings to their previous glory.
A professional restoration expert will evaluate whether an item can be restored and will have the suitable tools to fix it. Even items that look unsalvageable may be easily fixed with the right tools.
6. Neglecting Safety Precautions
Hidden damage can extend to several issues: broken pipes, dirty water filled with bacteria, unstable flooring, potential electrical shocks, broken glass and debris floating in the water, and even broken gas lines. All these are safety hazards that experts know how to deal with. Homeowners sometimes fail to notice these dangers in their attempt to save their belongings.
Similarly, most homeowners forget to wear helmets and the proper safety gear when they are inspecting or repairing their house. This can lead to personal harm and worse problems than those caused by the flooding.
7. Improperly Documenting the Damage
Thanks to the tools, equipment, and machinery available to an experienced restoration crew, documenting water damage is thorough and comprehensive. This is particularly helpful and necessary for your insurance company.
Your insurance policy will cover all the flood damage. But you need to provide them with documentation about the real damage.
If you only document part of the water damage because you are unaware of deeper problems, your insurance policy will not pay for any residual damage that has not been recorded. You may well end up covering the cost yourself.
A reputable and professional restoration company will provide you with an exhaustive list of the flood damage. With that in hand, you will get compensation from your insurance company and your house will be fixed and safe for you and your family to live in—at no extra cost to you.
A Restoration Company Offers Peace of Mind
Water flooding and water damage can cause a lot of stress. A restoration company will help you deal with this terrible situation in many ways:
- They have the experience and the expert crews to come in and start the mitigation and restoration processes.
- They have the appropriate tools to fix problems.
- They know how to investigate floods and discover the underlying problems.
- They will not ignore hidden damages.
- They will make sure that your house is clean, disinfected, deodorized, and safe.
- They will fix items you may consider unsalvageable.
It is essential to call a restoration company the moment you discover water damage to make sure the problem is dealt with immediately.