Water damage problems come in all sizes, from major flood damage covering entire neighborhoods to minor spills confined to a small area in a single room. In any case, it is important to clean up and repair the problem as soon as possible in order to avoid long term problems. If you overturn a drink on the carpet, the long term problem may be as minor as an unsightly stain that won’t completely go away. If the damage is more severe in nature, you may have a much more substantial problem.
There are a number of methods involved in the removal of water from your property. First and foremost, the source of the water must be located and blocked off. This prevents more water from coming into the damaged area, and it also allows you to determine exactly what kind of water you are dealing with. The type of water, levels of contaminants, etc, will determine exactly what kind of removal methods should be utilized.
First off, all excess water will need to be removed from the damaged area. If the problem is confined to a few inches of water or a soaked carpet, you can probably make do just fine with a wet-dry vacuum or shop vac style unit. Resembling a vacuum cleaner more than anything else, these can be used to rake across the damaged area to remove the water. You will be able to hear the water being sucked through the unit. Continue to “vacuum” the affected area until you no longer hear water being pulled up, and then continue for a few more sweeps just for good measure.
If you are dealing with a depth that is better measured in feet, you’ll need to use a gas powered submersible pump. Electrical pumps are out of the question for obvious reasons. These pumps are ideal for more severe spills, and can pull the excess water out of your home and channel it out and away from the structure.
Once the excess has been removed, do not make the mistake of assuming the job has been completed. Almost every affected surface will still be wet to the touch, having retained a good bit of moisture. The only way to remove the remaining moisture is to get air circulating. First open windows and doors, then bring in the big guns such as high velocity fans, air movers, blowers, and dehumidifiers. Basically anything that gets air moving will help the process along. It is vitally important that all surfaces be thoroughly dried out.
Remember, when water damage occurs, you only have a window of about 48-72 hours before long term damage is done, and the clock is ticking. Water removal and restoration should begin as soon as possible following the initial damage. The sooner you get started, the better your odds will be of successfully treating the spill and getting things back to normal for your home or business.
For best results, contact your local Clean Trust (previously IICRC) certified water remediation professional.