Water damage can occur from something simple, like bathtub splashing or overflow, to something dramatic, like a hurricane. If you're looking for remediation advice, you may be wondering which advice applies to your situation and which applies to a completely different water remediation situation. Here are four types of water damage and tips on what to do in each circumstance.

1. Leaks and spills

This is often the simplest type of water damage. You can easily clean it up yourself, and as long as you don't neglect it, the spill may have no negative impact on your health. Use these tips for cleanup:

  • Assess the type of water involved. If it contains sewage, see #3. If it's clean or mostly clean, proceed as normal.
  • Dry the area within 24 hours to prevent mold growth. Fans, dehumidifiers, and lots of clean rags or paper towels will help.
  • If necessary, apply a stain remover after blotting up excess water but before drying completely.
  • Wash or dry-clean any textiles involved and take any damaged valuables (such as antique books) to a professional for cleaning.

2. Burst pipes

These can be dramatic, providing a gushing fountain that covers a large area of your home. When you and your plumber have the geyser under control, try these tips for cleanup:

  • Estimate whether or not you can get everything dry by yourself in time to prevent mold damage. If not, call for backup (amateur or professional).
  • As long as it's a clean water pipe, proceed as normal.

3. Sewer backups

If this has happened to you, it's probably your least favorite memory in your entire recent history. This type of damage is much harder to deal with, and you'll need to take some steps to protect yourself while you clean. Use these tips for best results:

  • Isolate the affected area of the house.
  • Ask your plumber for remediation expert recommendations.
  • Use personal protective equipment (respirator, goggles, boots, and gloves) while working in the area.
  • Place any affected books in bags while waiting for treatment.
  • Place affected textiles in plastic bins so they won't drip on other items.
  • Consult with the remediation team about what items can be salvaged and what should be discarded.
  • Make alternate living arrangements for very young or elderly household members (and others with vulnerable immune systems) for the duration of the cleanup.

4. Natural disasters

Natural disasters bring with them a whole host of other dangers besides water damage. Take these steps to protect yourself when returning to a home damaged by such an event.

  • Check for structural damage before entering (such as sagging, bent, warped, or crooked structural lines, foundation cracks, and other visible problems).
  • Make sure all utilities, especially electricity and gas, are switched off before you go inside.
  • Look out for wild animals such as snakes, insects, and small mammals, which may be sheltering from the storm inside or near your house.
  • Keep an eye out for structural damage inside, as well.
  • Assess the situation quickly and wear personal protective equipment if any hazards exist (such as floodwaters or mold).

These four very different situations all have one thing in common: they can be handled by a professional remediation team if you don't have the experience or time to complete the cleanup yourself. Either way, remember to get water dried up as quickly as possible, and take plenty of precautions so the water damage doesn't damage your health, as well. Contact a service like All Care as quickly as possible after a water issue if you need any help.

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