Water Damage: Now What?!

water damage restoration

The water you see is not the only concern as water can wick up walls and elevated humidity levels causing mold risk to building contents like sheetrock, insulation, carpet, padding and more! We encourage you to read our article, “How Does Mold Grow” to understand what happens when water damage is not completed properly. So, the benefits of acting quickly during a water damage emergency:

  • Decreases the possibility of mold growth starting
  • Shortens disruptions to your daily life
  • More materials with are salvageable
  • Process your insurance claims faster 
  • Minimize your losses and save you money!!!

What to Do in an Emergency Water Damage Situation

1. Act Quickly!!!

Acting quickly is the first step to dealing with a water-damaged property correctly. Also, you can minimize damage and costs greatly by not waiting. Even an inch of water of slight dampness can allow a breeding ground for mold and greater repair costs.

2. Stop the source of the water if possible.

Many times fixture or water lines have shut off valves if the water is caused by broken pipes or fixtures. Because knowing ahead of time where your shut off valves are located are an important step to homeowners knowing how to handle emergencies. Shut off valves are standard and many times can be found in a number of places depending on what is leaking.  Also, for main water supply lines, the valve is normally where the water line comes into the house.

3. Remove Electricity!!

Unplug any electronics or remove any electrical items that may come into contact with water. For larger water damages, we recommend to immediately shut down the power to the damaged area via the breaker box if you can safely access it. Immediately turn off the power at the breaker panel if the water is close to any electrical outlets or switches. Do NOT walk through standing water that is up to the height of outlets or if any plugged-in electrical device is on the floor.

4. Call a restoration company

Extracting water and drying out structure and contents by getting a restoration company involved is a major step to preventing further damage! Certified water damage technicians have been thoroughly trained by certification firms like the IICRC. They also have the experience needed to address water damage correctly. While you are waiting for the restoration company to arrive, begin documenting the damages with many photographs and videos.

After 72 Hours You Need a Mold Pro

After 72 hours, if water damage is unresolved, consult with a mold professional. Also, water damage restoration companies that use standard water restoration practices after the 72 hours risk spreading mold spores throughout your home. Mold is easily airborne and must be handled carefully. Use a certified professional.

5. Call your insurance company.

Call your insurance company to confirm coverage. This is the following information you need to obtain from your insurance company:

  • Amount of Your Deductible
  • Claim Number
  • Adjuster’s Name, Phone Number & Email Address
  • Questions to ASK:
    • Is this damage covered under my policy? Explain what caused damage.
    • Is the adjuster an employee of the insurance company or a third party?
    • When will the adjuster be out for inspection
    • For a copy of your policy if you can’t locate your copy

*Please note: Insurance may not cover all of your damage. Also, we encourage you to read our article, “Mold Insurance Claims & Coverage” and take the recommended steps to verify your coverage.


IICRC Water Loss Categorization

Water damage repair, under the IICRC’s S-500, categorized into three categories. Because these categories are based upon the level of contamination from the water source.

Category 1 – Clean Water Source

Water from a clean or sanitary source. So, this includes water from broken clean water supply lines. Clean water from toilet tank or bowl, faucets, and bottled water. However, even if the water source may be clean. It can quickly become a category 2 or 3 depending on factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.

Category 2 – Some Contamination in Water

Water with some level of contamination that can cause discomfort or illness if ingested. Commonly known as gray water. Often this water source is from washing machines; toilet overflow with some urine, but no feces, and dishwashers. However, it can quickly become a category 3 depending on factors as time, temperature, and contact with contaminants.

Category 3 – Unsanitary Water

Water that is grossly unsanitary. Could cause severe illness or death if ingested. Commonly known as black water. Common sources for category 3 water include sewageflooding from rivers or streams, wind-driven rain, water from beyond the toilet trap, water from the toilet bowl with feces, and standing water that has begun to support mold growth.


IICRC Water Damage Classification

Class 1 – has the least amount of water. This includes water damages that affect only part of a room or area with little or no wet carpet and/or cushion are present.

Class 2 – has a large amount of water. This includes water damages that affect at least an entire room or carpet and pad. Where water has wicked up walls less than 24″ and there is moisture remaining in structural materials like drywall, plywood, structural wood and concrete.

Class 3 – has the greatest amount of water. Because water has wicked up over 24″, may have come overhead affecting ceilings, walls, insulation, carpet, cushion, and sub-floor. Saturating the entire area.

Class 4 – are specialty drying situation that consists of wet materials that are nonporous like hardwood, plaster, brick, concrete, and stone. As a result, there are areas of deep saturation and requires very low specific humidity.