Following a water damage event, your first reaction may be the quite appropriate “what a mess”, and this is understandable. Water damage leaves behind a level of carnage that can be overwhelming and traumatizing for the average homeowner, in many cases even more so than fire. You’re left looking at what remains of your possessions and wondering where to begin.
Developing a grasp of the extent of the damage to your home or business will prove invaluable later on when it comes to processing any insurance claims and working alongside claims adjusters. It is advisable to promptly contact a professional water damage restoration company, as they will be able to expedite the process. Remember, time is of utmost importance when dealing with any type of water damage, so the sooner you get things moving the better.
Start outside and move around the structure, taking video or photos (accompanied by detailed notes) on the level of damaged sustained. If there are water lines as the result of a flood, make note of them as well.
Check the roof for any areas that may have collapsed, as well as missing shingles, warped or missing gutter assemblies, damage to the chimney, and any stains or cracks visible on the structure.
Likewise, inspect the exterior of the home for any collapsed or damaged walls, broken windows, or visible signs of water intrusion through windows, vents, etc. If there are any areas around the home that are flooded, make a note of them as well.
Before entering the structure, make sure that all utilities are properly turned off at the source. Electricity and water do not mix. Trust me on this one. And leaking gas can cause its own problems.
Properly document all signs of damage, not only to the structure itself but also furniture, appliances, and other items. Water damaged drywall may be stained or swollen, depending on the level and severity of the initial damage event. Flooring may be warped or cracked. If the damage extended upstairs, ceilings may be sagging under the weight of accumulated water. Do not enter these rooms; if the ceiling collapses with you in it, the results could be, well; let’s just say “unfortunate”.
Easily the most time consuming part of the process will be taking inventory of and documenting all of the various items that may have been damaged. Have a detailed list of these items prepared for your adjuster, and if possible, include receipts for the items. Again, photos or video of the damage goes a long way towards helping the process along.
Break your list down room by room, checking off appliances that show signs of water damage, damaged pieces of furniture, cabinets, and dressers. Be sure to open up cabinets and dressers to look for damage inside doors or drawers. Similar documentation should be performed with books, documents, and digital media such as CDs, DVDs, and computer hard drives.
Sometimes it can be quite daunting remembering all the things that should be performed like documentation and photos etc, and that’s before even starting to deal with the water damage. If this sounds a bit much to have to deal with, your friendly local PuroClean can assist and is always a quick telephone call away.