In fact, statistics show that nearly 37% of U.S. homeowners claim to have had some type of water damage, and nearly 14,000 people experience a water disaster every day.
Whether it is caused by a burst pipe or a faulty appliance, there are important steps you should take to protect yourself and your property and get things clean and dry and back to beautiful as soon as possible.
Here are the 12 most important things to do when your home is flooded：
- Stop the Water Source
The easiest way to stop water flow is to turn off the main water valve to the house. If possible, locate the valve before it floods so you can find it easily in case of a water emergency.
Or call the plumber, which will use his expertise to stop the leak, fix the pipe, or solve whatever plumbing issue is causing the flood.
- Turn off the electricity
After the source of the water leak has been stopped, turn off all electrical systems in your home—but don’t walk through water to get to the fuse box. If you can’t reach the fuse box without stepping through water, call an electrician.
- Call for help
Once your family members—both two-legged and four-legged—are on dry ground, call for help. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. No matter what’s going on with the flooded house, the damage has already been done, and your focus simply must be on you and your loved ones’ well-being.
- Document everything
When thinking about what to do if your house floods, the first thing that probably comes to mind is cleaning up the mess. But before you do, document everything so you can show your insurer the extent of the damage. Use your cellphone camera to film and/or photograph all aspects of the issue.
- Call Your Insurance Company
Homeowner’s insurance coverage varies depending on the type of policy you have, but in many cases insurance companies will cover flooding due to burst pipes or broken appliances, even backed up city sewers or storm drains and some acts of nature.
*Before starting the next steps please consider you and your families Safety! Before you begin the cleaning process it is important to look for structural issues before spending too much time in the affected area. Look for buckled walls or floors as indicators that structural damage has occurred and evacuate the premises when there is risk of collapse. You should also watch for warped or cracked foundations. Be sure to wear protective clothing before entering the damaged area–such as rubber boots and gloves.
*Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.
- Remove standing water
Once the flood levels and the damage have been documented and photographed and you get authorization from your insurer to begin cleanup, you can start removing the water. Depending on the amount of water you need to remove you can use buckets or hoses to bail or siphon the water.
- Find and remove the "hiding water"
Water damage can be deceptive. It is easy to recognize and remove standing water, but water can also penetrate into structural cavities in homes and buildings, creating trapped pockets of moisture saturation.
- Minimize Loss
After a flood, remove any damaged possessions that may be salvageable as soon as you safely can and start airing and drying them out, documenting as you go.
According to FEMA, mold can set in as soon as 24 hours after a flood, so the more quickly you remove salvageable belongings, the better chance you have of saving them.
- Dealing with Mold
One of the greatest hazards after a flood is mold. We have all heard horror stories about mold growing unseen and unchecked until serious health conditions alerted homeowners to the problem.
Mold can cause serious respiratory problems and other health issues and needs to be treated as a hazardous material by professionals who are trained in proper removal techniques.
- Replacing the Irreplaceable
As you’re cleaning up, if items have been wet for less than 24 hours, they may still be salvageable, but you must evaluate if it is worth the cost.
In some cases, the sentimental value of an item may outweigh the cost to dry and clean it properly and it may be worth keeping. Other more disposable items are probably not worth the cost and effort of saving.
- Restore What's Been Lost
Once the house or property is clean and dry you can begin the rebuilding process. The extent of the flooding will determine how much work this will take.
For small floods with minimal water damage, this may only require mopping up the water and drying everything completely.
- Be Patient
You might have noticed that there is a lot of waiting in this process. Wait to enter the flooded property until it is safe. Wait to start demolition and reconstruction until after your insurance appraiser comes. Wait for authorization to begin work.
Wait for things to dry out. Wait for things to be rebuilt. Wait to purchase new furniture. And the list goes on.
Flooding can happen anywhere—so be prepared
The most common cause of water damage comes from failed plumbing systems: the materials wear out, leading to pipe leaks or bursts.
These types of incidents can cost you anywhere from $1,100 to $4,500 on average, and more extensive repairs can rack up tens of thousands of dollars. Water damage is destructive and expensive, and it can have long-term consequences for your health and the value of your property.
Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to protect your home from the ravages of floods:
Use water leak sensors to get early warning of unwanted water.
Install a smart home security system that includes flood detection.