Triage Tips to Save Contents
The main goal for protecting your home from water damage situations is to prepare and anticipate what can happen.
This means many things, such as keeping your sump pump in good working condition, repairing leaky pipes and dripping faucets, and ensuring that during cold weather your home is snug and tight against intruding freezing temperatures.
But things do happen. Pipes break, spewing water everywhere. Flood waters can enter your home and wreak havoc while you are away. Leaky plumbing fixtures can slowly cause damage and spawn mold growth.
When this occurs, it affects not only the building materials of your home, such as the walls, floors, and ceilings, but the contents as well. You know, the valuables you care so much about. These can be anything from stuffed animals to books to photographs to electronic equipment and more. Even mementos that just can’t be replaced.
If any of this occurs to you and your home, use these tips for best content triage strategies.
Before doing any type of work in your home after a water damage situation, make sure you are safe. This means your electricity and power sources are turned off (if appropriate and the damage warrants this), and water has been extracted or reduced to a minimum level.
Before starting work, and during the work process, take pictures of everything. What you can’t dry and save yourself will no doubt be replaced with insurance dollars. But without proof, you might have a fight on your hands with your insurance company.
When contents get wet, damage is minimal — for now. Get those valuables up off wet surfaces and do what you can to dry them out and set them where they won’t cause more damage and where they can dry. Depending on the items, move them out into the sun for faster drying. Documents, pictures, and other similar valuables will need careful handling and professional care.
There are some items more valuable to you than others, and emotions can get involved. Prioritize what you are going to save. Odd are, if you don’t call a professional restoration company right away, you aren’t going to be able to save everything. Electronics and other valuables may be beyond saving. Don’t waste time on what can’t be saved. That’s what insurance is for.
When you have any type of disaster situations at your home, whether from fire, smoke, floods, or water damage, do the right thing. Contact your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Storms, floods, water damage, and other issues that can impact you and your family are always a possibility. You want to be prepared as best you can.
But sometimes, disaster strikes. It can be somewhat containable, such as a pipe that breaks while you are home and able to turn off the water. Other times, it can be flood waters entering your home during a storm and creating havoc with all your belongings.
One important category of personal belongings that can become damaged by water (whether clean water, dirty water, or sewage) and that you would think is easy to clean up would be clothing, or garments. Just think of how many items of clothing are in your home. Can be a staggering number.
The cleanup may not be as easy as you think. Consider these quick tips:
The source of damage
Most of your clothing can be saved, but if the damage is from sewage backup or other bio-contaminants, it is best to discard and buy new. While you want to save what you can, think of the health of your family. Anything damaged by sewage or bio-contaminants is best discarded.
Separate and conquer
Another step is to separate your laundry just as you would normally, but also create a category of “heavy soil” — such as clothing heavy with dried mud. Take those items outside and do your best to break off hardened mud and use a garden hose to remove as much as possible after that, and then after drying, launder them as normal. You don’t want to damage your washing machine by using it for muddy clothes.
Now it’s time to get to business with all those dirty clothes. Use quality laundry detergent and an appropriate disinfectant. Use hot water as practical. Here’s a very important tip. Don’t overuse the detergent. You might think because of the soiling that more detergent is best. It’s not. Use what manufacturers recommend and follow directions. If you need more cleaning, just rewash clothes repeatedly. A repeat washing continues to flush out soils.
Be safe, be smart
As you can see, tackling storm or water damaged clothing can be intensive, and we have only touched the basics here. Often, your damaged belongings are covered by insurance. Check with your insurance carrier. But for all restoration work, no matter the situation, do the smart thing. Call a water damage restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Drying out Water Damaged Papers
With the arrival and impact of electronic devices, such as smartphones and tablets, many have given up their favorite pastime of reading paper newspapers and books. But if you look around your home, you may still find plenty of books, documents, and valuable paper products that you prefer over the electronic variety — or that you just can’t get rid of.
Many of these items end up in the basement or other storage areas, and just when you least expect it, can become damaged from moisture, a broken pipe, flooding from storms, or a failure of your sump pump. Water damage can come from many sources. When that happens, it’s time to dry everything out, and that’s not always easy.
The first step is to wipe off and remove as much excess water that you can, without damaging the paper.
For loose papers, such as documents, lay them out individually on absorbent cloths and then carefully blot. If using paper towels, make sure they are pure white, with no color print on them. Loose papers are fairly straightforward to dry. Some air movement from a small fan can help the drying process. After drying, you can compress the papers to flatten them out.
For books, very carefully open the covers of each book, and stand your books upright on a stack of several, absorbent pure white paper towels. Place several layers of absorbent towels inside the covers, and gently close them. Allow the towels to pull moisture from the pages; replace them as they get wet, checking frequently. As you progress, carefully open pages, perhaps every 20-30 pages or so, and place more towels or cloths inside those pages, closing the book, allowing moisture to transfer into the towels or cloths. Keep the book on its sideas you do this.
Eventually, as the book dries, you can open the pages, and put the book in front of a fan to continue drying out the pages.
What if you have many books or documents, and they are valuable and must be saved and you don’t have the ability to do it yourself? That’s when it’s time to get some professional help. Put your damaged documents or books in the freezer. It’s now time to contact your favorite disaster restoration company for help. After all, it pays to call a pro!