Taking Care of your Home after Water Damage

Every homeowner dreads coming home and finding extensive water damage to their home from a burst pipe or poorly executed plumbing repair, yet water damage is a fairly common problem that many homeowners face at one point or another. The real question is what do you do after finding water damage?

home water damage

The first thing one should assess after finding water damage is the source of the water. It’s important to figure this out before trying to deal with any of the damage to make sure the water is safe to work in and around. There are three types of water damage, and determining which type of water damage you’re dealing with is imperative to figuring out what your next steps should be. The three types of water damage are as follows:

  1. Clean – This is exactly what it sounds like, if you’re experiencing water damage from a burst pipe, faulty appliance, or as a result of a leak that has allowed an excessive amount of rain into your home, it is considered clean water damage. The water is destructive, but it isn’t carrying any dangerous bacteria or microbes in it to make matters more complicated. The main concern with clean water damage is the length of time that the water has been sitting there. If it’s been over 24 hours, it is highly recommended to get a water damage restoration specialist in to assess the damage to your floor boards, structural supports, drywall, carpet, and any other parts of your home that might be affected by excessive water.
  2. Gray – Gray water is water that is slightly contaminated in some way. Water damage from a backed up toilet would generally be considered gray water because it could be carrying a higher level of bacteria and microbes due to the source of the water. Water that has been used for cleaning or other applications is generally considered gray water since it isn’t coming directly from your well or clean water source. Before starting to clean up any of the damage from gray water, make sure to put on gloves to keep from spreading bacteria.
  3. Black – Black water is the most dangerous type of water damage. This is the kind of water damage that occurs from severely backed up sewage pipes or natural disasters that rupture sewage lines. Black water is teeming with bacteria and hazardous microbes. Do not attempt to deal with black water damage yourself. Call a local water damage restoration expert to take care of this kind of damage as it can be dangerous to try to deal with on your own.

It’s important to note that these descriptors don’t necessarily describe the actual color of the water responsible for your water damage. In some cases where ground water has backed up and flooded your home, it may look clear, but actually have dangerous microbial life lurking, technically making it black water.

Since it can be hard to judge what kind of water damage you’re dealing with at a glance, it’s always a good idea to call in a specialist before trying to deal with any sort of water damage. Unless the source is very clear, like burst pipe that you can see spraying water, I recommend erring on the side of caution and having a professional assess your damage before moving forward.

If your water damage is due to a burst pipe or appliance malfunction, make sure to turn your home water off to halt any further damage, and move anything that can easily be removed from the water damaged area. Make sure to take plenty of pictures of both the affected area, and any damaged belongings that were in the area. After calling a local contractor or water damage specialist, like Metropolitan Contractors here in Northern Virginia, make sure to file a claim with your insurance company to deal with the damage to your home.

water damage restoration in progressGenerally clean up from water damage can take up to a couple weeks, the house must be allowed to dry out completely, and then the restoration team will check under the carpeting and flooring, and behind any affected walls to ensure that the water and mold hasn’t permeated into the insulation and structure of your home. If this is left unchecked it can lead to black mold and structural rot that can cause huge problems further down the road.

Hopefully by remaining vigilant and taking preventative measures against water damage, you will be able to avoid a water damage situation in its entirety, but in the event that you do have to deal with home water damage, it’s best to go in prepared.