Sometimes, minor water damage occurs in front of your eyes. You might be speaking with someone on the phone when you notice a bulge in the ceiling. Or you step in a puddle of water forming under the utility sink in your laundry.
Other times, you notice after the fact. You walk down the steps into your basement to be surprised by a flood.
But in reality, is there really such a thing as minor water damage? The two scenarios might seem minor, but both of them actually require assistance from a water restoration expert or plumber specializing in water damage.
2 Scenarios: How to Deal with Water Damage
Regardless if a flood is happening right now or just happened, you need to know to deal with the problem quickly. The faster you deal with flooding of any size, the less you’ll pay later for a water damage restoration.
In any home flood situation, keep in mind this important rule. Before you enter the flooded area, disconnect power to the appliance or fixture at the electrical panel. Never enter a flooded room if an electrical appliance is submerged under water. If no electrical appliances are submerged, you can skip this step.
1. Dealing with Flooding from a Leaking Appliance
This scenario is the least harmful. Typically, an appliance leak in the basement is on concrete. And a puddle is created. Of course, that’s not always the case.
For example, if a water heater tank breaks open, you could have 40 or more gallons on your floors, ruining carpeting, wood, baseboards, and other nearby materials and possessions. In that case, seek out help from a professional water damage restoration expert or a plumber who specializes in water damage.
If it’s more like a puddle or small stream of water, here’s how to handle it.
- First, immediately turn off the water shut off valve to the leaking or overflowing fixture. Or, you can turn off the main water supply shut off valve for the entire house.
- A leaking appliance is usually a minor flood event. To keep water on the floor from spreading, surround it with a “dam” of washable, rolled-up rugs or towels.
- Then mop up the water with the dammed area.
- If you don’t know the exact source of the leak or how to repair it, contact an emergency plumber immediately.
2. How to Deal with a Waterlogged Ceiling
Some handy homeowners — the DIY type who love a project like this — mistakenly think this is a minor or “doable” project. It’s actually not.
By the time you notice a sagging ceiling (due to water), it’s usually too late. In other words, water has been trickling (or running) from a bathroom fixture or roof through layers of materials. A lot of damage has occurred and the moisture level has created an environment for the growth of mold.
I’ve had this one happen to me before. Trust me, it requires professional remediation. Here’s how to handle a sagging ceiling and the resulting water damage.
- Don’t Follow the Popular DIY Advice. Most DIY guides tell you to take a nail and poke it into the center of the sagging ceiling while holding a bucket underneath. Then they tell you how to dry out the ceiling using residential equipment, like a fan and humidifier. But that simply won’t remove enough moisture to elimate the growth of mold.
- Call a Plumber or Water Damage Expert Immediately. Instead, after you poke the ceiling, call a plumber immediately. They will identify the leak and fix it. If your plumber specializes in water damage, he or she will have restoration experts on site immediately. Acting fast is crucial in this situation.
- Remove Ceiling. Yes, the damaged ceiling area needs to be removed! This allows access to examine the problem and mediate the problem.
- Dry with Commercial Equipment. Home-use fans and humidifiers won’t work. Nor will a residential heater. None of these can remove the amount of moisture now in your ceiling. Even with commercial-grade equipment, the drying out process is a 2- to 3-day process depending on severity.
- Test for Mold. Your restoration professional will also be testing your ceiling for mold during the process. The only way to tell if you have mold for sure is to test the damaged area. Signs you can watch out for that may signal mold include: a strange odor, the appearance of mold or health symptoms such as watery eyes. If they find any, they will eliminate it immediately.
- Clean, Sanitize & Restore. The bottom line to all of this is to make your ceiling whole again. A specialist with the team will make sure your damaged area has been cleaned, sanitized, and fully restored before they leave.
- Call Insurance Agent. Insurance normally covers 100 percent of in-home water damage. However, before it ever happens to you, call your agent to make sure you have proper coverage. And if it does happen to you, make your agent aware of the situation immediately.
Final Thoughts: How to Deal with Water Damage
We come across the above two situations, and many others, far too often. But they’re good examples of the diversity of a water damage problem. They are the type of problems a DIYer can easily make worse without understanding the true ramifications and solutions.
The key to minimizing water damage and harmful mold growth is to call a professional who specializes in water damage.
If you can quickly mitigate the situation — keep it from getting worse — there’s a good chance you can keep water damage to an absolute minimum and your health at a maximum.
- Prevent water damage to your home
- Signs of water damage in walls
- What you need to know about sump pumps
- The sump pump buyer’s guide
- What caused my basement to flood?
- Tips for hiring a trustworthy plumbing contractor
- Emergency plumbing services: frequently asked questions
- Mold remediation
- Water damage cleanup and removal process
1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.