With careful maintenance and annual inspections, almost all plumbing emergencies can be avoided. But not always. Pipes freeze, toddlers flush heaven-knows-what, or maybe the rain just won’t stop. The reality is: bad things sometimes just happen despite our best efforts. So when precaution has failed and your home is flooded, what can you do to help mitigate damage and expense?
When water levels rise inside your home, almost everything in your home is at risk for severe damage. The first step is always to turn off the water. If you can’t isolate the water line feeding the flood, you’ll have to shut off the main waterline to your home. While this is inconvenient (you won’t have access to running water anywhere in your house), it’s more important to stop the flow of water as soon as possible.
Furniture, obviously, can be rescued and taken to higher ground, but you can’t just evacuate your flooring. To make matters worse, floors are porous by nature. Subflooring is made of wood, which can soak up water and stay wet for weeks — plenty of time for mould to take root. On top of your subfloor, carpets, rugs, cork, and hardwood are also all highly vulnerable to water damage. Tile and high quality lino will likely fare somewhat better.
Regardless, the best way to prevent a total floor replacement is to be diligent in your clean up and act immediately. If you can remove the water in under 24 hours, you can greatly reduce your the amount of damage and your risk for expensive complications, like mould.
We don’t need to tell you that home insurance companies can be… difficult. Therefore, it’s behooves homeowners to carefully document everything in order to have evidence to back up their claim. Before you grab the mop or rescue the furniture, take high quality photos of the affected area.
Remove the Furniture.
Once you have adequate evidence of the flood, it’s time to take any salvageable furniture to another area to dry. Ideally, if the weather is cooperating, take even the largest pieces of furniture outdoors. The hot sun will help to dry wood and fabric quickly, and the UV rays in the sunlight will also help to start sterilizing your furniture. If that’s not an option, make do with letting your furniture dry off in a tiled or lino room near the best source of heat you can manage. Take out any drawers and open the cabinet doors of any affected furniture. This will help air and heat circulate better, so moisture can escape faster. If you have a home or desk fan, set it up so the air blows over your drying furniture.
Vanquish the Water.
Snap a few more photos for evidence, then get the mop. If there’s too much water to soak up with the tools you have at home, you’ll need a wet vacuum. Wet vacuums are widely available for rent at hardware stores. While you’re at the hardware store, you’ll also need to rent a high-powered industrial-strength fan and a portable dehumidifier. Your home or desk fan, isn’t going to cut it for this job. Set up as many industrial fans as you can in the affected space — the more air that’s moving, the faster moisture will evaporate out of your flooring. Alongside the fans, set up at least one portable dehumidifier in the affected area.
Following these steps will help protect your floor, so you can avoid fully replacing it. Remember that once everything is dry, you should consider hiring a professional cleaner to give the affected area a thorough deep cleaning. Whenever pipes burst, there is a chance that the leaked water came in contact with grey or black water (sewage). A professional cleaning will help eliminate the risk of potential pathogens and bacteria, and it will help prevent mould growth in any corners where moisture may still be lingering.
Mitigating damage to your home during a plumbing emergency is a team effort. While you take care of your floors, the experienced Calgary plumbers at Plumbing Paramedics will help stop the flood. Keep our number in your phone, so you don’t need to waste time when disaster strikes — (403) 452-2911.