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Water damage to your property is frustrating and stressful. Whether it was caused by a burst pipe, a leaky washing machine, or a severe weather event, water can cause problems in the home. Here are some steps to take to manage an unpleasant situation if you experience residential water damage to your home.

Step 1: Assess the Safety in Areas of Residential Water Damage

Before stepping into any standing water, make sure it’s safe. Electrical currents travel through water and if the electricity is still on, you may get shocked.

If you are unsure whether the power is still on, turn it off from the breaker box. Should you have to navigate through the water to reach it, wear rubber boots for safety or call a professional to help you turn off your electricity.

You’ll need to determine what type of water is in your home. Gray water, which comes from washing machines and dishwashers, may be full of debris and bacteria. As long as you don’t ingest it, you should be fine. Black water, which usually comes from a sewage back up, contains a number of toxic elements. Don’t wade through it without protective gear, and better yet, call a professional.

Water can cause structural damage. If water is leaking from above, it increases the risk of the ceiling collapsing. Stay out of the space if you think that’s a possibility.

Step 2: In Cases of Residential Water Damage, Shut off the Water

If the water damage in your home is caused by a broken pipe or an appliance that is leaking, first turn off the electricity, then shut off the main water valve. This will stop the flow of water at the source.

Step 3: Gather Your Valuables

If you can safely enter the space and gather your valuables, do so. The longer they sit in the water, the more damage will be done. Be realistic about the things you want to save and those that can’t be saved.

Step 4: Get Rid of the Water

Call a professional to help remove the water, or you can do it on your own. If there is a lot of standing water, you will need to get a pump to make the job manageable. Make sure the discharge hose reaches far enough outside to keep the water from flowing back into your house.

If there is a small amount of water, a wet/dry vacuum may be all that you need. You can use towels and other materials to absorb water from the floor.

Step 5: Dry the Area

After any standing water has been removed, you’ll need to completely dry the area. This is accomplished by placing fans and dehumidifiers in the area. If any of the walls are wet, aim fans directly at them to help them dry. For the floor, you’ll want to arrange fans in a way that creates airflow to dry the area properly. This will reduce the chances of mold growth and further damage.

Dealing with residential water damage can be challenging. Before heading into your home or any areas of standing water, make sure it is safe. The best course of action may be to call in a professional to assist in this situation

OBX Home Inspections offers home inspection services in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Contact us to request an appointment.