Sooner or later, your home will have a water leak. Water leaks can cause clean water damage as well as chemical and biological pollution. Depending on what caused the leak, you should be aware of proper clean up and remediation techniques before water damage turns into mold or rot.
Typical culprits that cause water damage are shower pans, hot water heaters, washing machines and clogged plumbing. Some leaks are obvious right away, but others may be slow leaks that attract mold infestations.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold growth can occur even if materials are dried within 48 hours, so time is of the essence.
Should a leak or indoor flood occur, company technicians with 1-800 WATER DAMAGE recommend that homeowners do the following to minimize loss and prevent further damage:
Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting the saturated area.
Wipe furniture to remove excess water.
Place aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpet.
Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying.
Lift drapes off flooring, loop through a coat hanger and hang on curtain rod.
Remove wet area rugs.
Turn on air conditioner if damage occurs in summer.
Move valuable paintings, art objects and photos to a safe, dry place.
Open closet doors, furniture drawers, and luggage to aid in drying.
Remove any wet fabrics and dry immediately.
Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
Stay out of any rooms where the ceiling is sagging from trapped water.
Use your household vacuum to remove the excess water.
Use electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpets.
Do not enter any room with standing water while electricity is still on.
Do not lift tacked carpet without professional help.
Do not enter any room where the ceiling is sagging.
Wait to call for professional help. The longer you wait, the more damage will occur.
If mold growth has occurred or areas of your home have been wet for more than 48 hours, you may need to contact a professional. You should also follow the EPA's guidelines for removal of items that could produce mold. For example, a flooded carpet should be pulled up so the subfloor can be dried and cleaned.
The EPA also recommends contacting a professional restoration or water damage professional if the leak or flood was contaminated with sewage, or chemical or biological pollutants. Certainly, don't use fans before determining that the water is clean or sanitary.