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What Water Damage Can You Clean up Yourself—and When Do You Need a Professional?

If you’ve recently suffered a water leak in your home, you may be overwhelmed at the thought of cleaning up  the damage yourself. Indeed, water remediation is a task often best left to the professionals. However, there are a few things you can do to speed the process along — as well as help prevent further damage to your walls, floors, and furniture. Read on to learn more about the steps you should take immediately upon learning of a water leak, as well as the situations in which you should consult a professional water and sewer cleanup service.

What Steps Should You Take Immediately?

The first and most obvious step is to stop the flow of water—remediation efforts are futile if water is still entering the home. Short of rescuing children and pets, your primary focus should be on stopping the flood.

Next, remove and isolate any soft furniture, paper, or other portable objects that have been penetrated with water. If important papers like birth certificates or college transcripts are soaked, place them in plastic bags and put them in the freezer as quickly as you can. If you have a vacuum sealer, you may want to “laminate” these documents, which will remove most excess moisture and prevent molding or mildewing.

Place soft furniture in a dry area—or outside if possible—and use any box fans or ceiling fans available to create a breeze.

Your next priority is to remove wooden furniture, which can quickly warp when soaked in water. If a carpeted area has been affected and you have a carpet steam cleaner available, you may be able to avoid permanent damage by quickly steaming the carpet as dry as possible within 24 to 48 hours of the flooding.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier in your home, now is the time to purchase one. These devices remove excess moisture from the air and condense it in a holding tank, which can be emptied as frequently as needed.

When Should You Call in a Professional?

Whenever you’ve suffered standing water for any period of time—even in a basement—you should contact a professional water remediation company. Once water has been allowed to remain in the drywall and underlying wood, you’re at a high risk for mold problems. A water remediation company (such as RTC Restoration) uses heavy-duty fans, heaters, and water extractors to eliminate all traces of moisture from your floors and walls. These contractors will also be able to let you know what flooring or other items should be replaced rather than remediated, and may be able to arrange for a quick and seamless installation.

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