How Do I Dry Out After A Water Leak?
The immediate aftermath of a severe water leak can be daunting.
Many surfaces, from books and furniture to floors and walls, can be damaged by water and that initial damage can lead to mold and mildew growth if not addressed quickly and thoroughly. (details about Brookhaven PA water damage restoration here)
Since mold growth can begin within 48 hours after water damage occurs, it is crucial to begin the remediation process immediately and specific guidelines should be followed in order to ensure that the job is done correctly. (https://www.ors.od.nih.gov/sr/dohs/documents/moldsop.pdf).
While it is generally a good idea to rely on professional remediation services, there are some steps you can take to begin the process yourself:
Get Air Circulating
The best way to begin the drying process is by moving air. You can do this both naturally, by opening windows and doors, as well as mechanically, using fans.
The size and amount of fans you need will depend on the amount of area that is involved; the larger the room, the more powerful the fan you’ll want to use. You can rent high-powered fans to speed up the process even more.
In a contained area, like a basement or rec room, with limited outside access, you can remove excess humidity with a portable dehumidifier.
Shut the doors and windows of the room and remember to change the water collection drawer of the humidifier regularly if it doesn’t self-drain.
Remove Standing Water
If there are several inches of standing water, a portable sump pump can be used to move the water out of the house.
Direct the hose of the pump out a door or window and make sure the water flow is directed away from the foundation of the house.
Use a Wet/Dry Shop Vac
For smaller areas with less standing water, a wet/dry shop vac can help to suck up the excess. They can be particularly useful for salvaging water-damaged carpeting and flooring.
Never use a regular household vacuum on wet surfaces as this could damage the vacuum and be careful when emptying the canister of the shop vac, particularly if the water involved is contaminated with sewage or other potentially hazardous material.
Remove Water Damaged Furnishings
Any objects that have been damaged by water, including rugs, furniture, and other belongings, should be removed and set in the sun to both begin the drying out process and reduce the moisture level in the room.
Sheet vinyl or linoleum flooring should also be removed to speed up the evaporation process.
Any wet insulation underneath water damaged flooring or inside walls should be removed and discarded.
Remove and Carefully Dry Papers
Books and papers that become wet may not be salvageable, but for important items you can help prevent mold growth and slow the deterioration process by placing them in a plastic bag and putting them in a frost-free freezer.
Aside from this step, it will be necessary to handle paper items carefully in order to preserve them, including cleaning them off with soft brushes and using rubber gloves for your protection. (http://www.ala.org/tools/cleaning-after-water-damage)
Absorb Excess Moisture
Once standing water has been removed, you can use desiccants such as silica gel, clay, or calcium oxide to absorb any remaining moisture. Place the desiccant in either an air-tight container or a sealed area such as a closet. It may take days or even weeks for them to become completely saturated.
Act Quickly To Avoid Hazards
Again, the faster you act to begin drying out a water damaged room, the better your chances of avoiding water-related hazards, including mold growth, dust mites, and the release of non-microbial chemicals from formaldehyde-treated wood furnishings, plastics or PVC. Scientific evidence shows that these hazards can cause serious health issues. (https://iaqscience.lbl.gov/dampness-impacts)
Call The Professionals
Because water damage can permeate beneath the surface of floors and walls and continue to be an issue for days or even weeks after the original emergency, it makes the most sense to trust a professional water mitigation company like SERVPRO.
With extensive training, professional equipment, and the ability to respond immediately whenever disaster strikes, SERVPRO can ensure that your home is thoroughly dried out and returned to normal as quickly as possible.
It’s particularly important to have professional water mitigation when walls are damaged, as drywall can act as a wick and absorb moisture.
Even if the water damage isn’t visible, it can still lead to mold growth if it isn’t properly treated.
At SERVPRO we’re:
- trained to get beneath the surface, using specialized equipment such as moistures meters,
- infrared imaging devices and
- heavy-duty dehumidifiers and fans to ensure that your home is thoroughly dry and safe for your whole family.
When water damage occurs, getting the affected area dried out as quickly as possible is crucial.
To ensure the safety of your family, make sure you undertake the drying process properly, and don’t hesitate to call on the reliable water mitigation professionals at SERVPRO.