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What you shouldn’t do if you have water damage


As a homeowner, there’s almost nothing scarier than these two little words: water damage.

Water damage can range from a small spot on your ceiling to mold growing on soft floors all the way to full-on flooding. A leaky roof, a burst pipe, a loose washing machine hose, a raging storm: regardless of the source, taking care of water damage right away is always critical. A small window leak left unattended long enough can eventually turn into rotted out wood in the frame, mushrooms growing out of the woodwork, or a floor you just don’t quite feel safe stepping out onto. And of course, mold taking over your walls, your furniture, your belongings. Water damage is not to be trifled with.

We often hear about what steps to take once you detect water damage: the importance of contacting a restoration specialist, assessing how far the dampness goes, and drying out walls and floors thoroughly. In this blog post, however, we are not going to talk about what you should do when water damage strikes, rather we are going to focus on what not to do.

  1. Don’t wait. As soon as you see signs of water damage, however small, take action, and call in a specialist to figure out a plan of attack.

  2. Don’t walk around on wet surfaces any more than necessary. This goes double for standing water when the electricity is still on. Minimize the risk of slips, falls, and electrocution by staying out of the affected area.

  3. Don’t turn on an overhead light if water damage has affected the ceiling. Avoid the risk of electric shock that can harm you or your home’s whole electrical system. Err on the side of caution and keep overhead lights and ceiling fans off anywhere near the overhead damage.

  4. Don’t turn on your heat or A/C if it has been affected by the water. The air it blows out is not going to be strong enough to dry a targeted area, and you run the risk of spreading contamination that could be dangerous to you and your family.

  5. Don’t hang around a damp or flooded room. Make sure pets and people are removed from the house—or at least to an unaffected part of the house—to avoid breathing in mold spores, especially if you have uncovered previously unknown long-term water damage. Standing water also presents the risk of severe shocks if the electricity is still on. Don’t take the risk, and stay out of the water.

  6. Don’t try to use your own vacuum (even a wet vac). With major water damage comes the risk of electrical shock that can do real damage to yourself and your equipment. Restoration experts, like KleenRite, have more powerful vacuums that are safer to use in damaged settings. Leave it to the professionals.

  7. Don’t use any electrical appliances if standing water is present. Again, better safe than sorry. The extent of the water damage or even standing water may not be visible, and an outlet you think is safe could do some real harm.

  8. Don’t place newspaper on wet surfaces to soak up the water. The ink can transfer over onto fabrics or hard surfaces (plus they’re not super absorbent to begin with), leaving you with stubborn stains on top of water damage.

  9. Don’t leave furniture in standing water. Sure, those table legs will dry out eventually, but it won’t look good. Move any furniture with cloth or wooden legs/bottoms out of water or off of damp surfaces to avoid further damage. Definitely move boxes, clothing, shoes, or anything that might leave a stain behind, or place furniture or other items on aluminum foil, paper plates, or a plastic surface, to keep them from direct contact with damp carpet.

  10. Don’t forget to have KleenRite’s number handy. On the fridge, in your phone, and with your emergency numbers. Discovering major water damage can really throw you for a loop, and swift action is often necessary. Call KleenRite any time, day or night, at (217) 351-4930 with your water damage questions and to request an emergency team if needed. We will guide you through calmly and professionally and get your path to recovery started.

For more tips on handling water damage, check out our handy checklist. Our phone lines are open 24/7 at (217) 351-4930 for all your questions and cleaning/restoration needs.

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