Water on the Floor is a Call to Action
March 10, 2015 at 11:59 AM
Identify the source of the leak and stop the flow
When water is noticed on the floor, be it in the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, basement or any room in the house an immediate response is needed. Locating the source of the water should be your first objective. Once the source of the water is identified be it a plumbing leak, a leaking ice maker, overflowing toilet, sink or washing machine the water needs to be turned off at the source if possible or the water main to the house so the flow stops. Water from a leaking roof or faulty window or door installation also needs a quick response to limit the extent of the water damage. Speed is of the essence!
Standing water generally compounds the problem
Water on the floor if left for even a short period of time will leak into the sub-floor and eventually cause damage to rooms below. The need to take up the water is the next important step you need to take. Depending on the area of the floor involved, towels may be all that is needed to take up the water. A larger area of involvement may call for a shutdown of the electrical breaker for the damaged area(s) before unplugging or removing electrical devices from a wet carpet or a submerged area.
Damage to secondary items should be addressed
A need to lift any curtains or draperies away from wet carpeting or other items on the floor like books, papers and even potted plants prevents staining the carpet. Aluminum foil should be used under legs or feet of any furniture in contact with wet carpet or water to prevent permanent staining.
A shop vac capable of extracting water from the carpet may be used for small areas of flooding but a regular home vacuum should never be used to avoid damaging it or getting an electrical shock.
Calling in the professionals
Larger areas of involvement should call for professional help from water mitigation services. These services often franchisees cover the metropolitan areas of the country. They have the training and equipment to address the water removal and minimize damage.
They first identify or classify the type of excess water:
- Category 1 – is clean water
- Category 2 - water contains some chemical or biological agents that can pose a health risk such as a discharge from and appliance like a washing machine, often referred to as “gray” water.
- Category 3 - is “black” water and poses an extreme health risk such as sewage or ground water
The level of contamination of the water will affect the specific restoration processes needed. These workers are trained and certified to identify mold growth and detect water infiltration behind drywall and other unseen areas. They have heavy duty extractors that clean floors, carpets and upholstery. These extractors may be truck-mounted or portable. They also have air moving, drying, monitoring and dehumidification equipment to speed drying. Charges for professional water mitigations services are usually on a per square foot basis. Damages caused by water damage average about $3,500 with a range of $1,450 to $4,750 for clean up with a maximum of about $6,000. Water damage left undetected for a period of time will cause the cost of water mitigation and damages caused by water to rapidly escalate. This will also vary based on the part of the country where the damage occurred.
A maintenance checklist to avoid emergencies
Areas prone to water leakage should be checked regularly.
- Pay attention to the plumbing under the kitchen sink and check all connections to be sure they are secure
- Check ice makers to be sure they are not leaking by moving the refrigerator out from the wall every 6 mos. and empty and clean drip pans as needed
- Likewise check for water around dishwashers
- Check basement floors and walls for seepage
- Flush water heaters of sediment every 6 months
- Look for leaks under sinks and around tubs and toilets and warped flooring around them
- Check your sump pump at least once per year
- Clean your roof gutters a couple of times per year
- Check the water supply lines to your washing machine for cracks, kinks and blisters every 6 mos. and only replace with mesh hoses
This checklist and collection of tips should get you on the road to recovery or remodeling, depending on your emergency. The peace of mind of a drainage tray under your wash machine is a great place to start in mitigating the chances of this type of water disaster.