Dealing with water damage in your Washington DC property usually involves a lot of work. If the water damage is extensive, you might even have to temporarily vacate the premises until your home or place of business is ready for occupancy.
The best way to deal with a heavy cleanup process is to go through the tasks step by step. Below, we’ll explore the questions you’ll need to answer and steps to conduct when tackling water damage restoration in Washington DC.
Questions to Ask When Dealing with Water Damage in Washington DC
Before anything else, asking the following questions will be helpful to inform your next steps.
- What type of water flooded your property?
Three types of water can damage your property: clean, gray, and black.
Clean water is rainwater that leaks on your ceiling or the water from the mains that comes out of your faucets. This water is harmless to your health, and you can clean up the mess easily without professional help.
Gray water is dirty water from washing clothes, dishes, taking showers, etc. While it’s not toxic, this water still needs to be drained properly.
Black water comes from sewers and murky floodwater. It brings with it solid and liquid wastes, contaminants, and bacteria. If black water passes through your home, you’ll need to act quickly by cleaning and disinfecting your interiors and belongings as it is hazardous to your health.
- Will your insurance cover the repairs?
Review your home insurance policy and see if your policy covers the water damage to your property. Most policies cover accidental or unprecedented incidents like a pipe bursting or plumbing getting damaged due to external factors like a falling tree. However, gradual damage due to neglect is typically not covered by insurance.
Steps for Water Damage Restoration in Washington DC
1. Turn off the water mains and electricity.
If the flooding is ongoing as you arrive on your property, the first thing you need to do is stop it if you can. If the cause is faulty plumbing, turn off the mains immediately and include the electricity for safety. Essentially, this is to minimize the danger of anyone experiencing electrocution while on your property. Moreover, do not enter your house or building if there’s still water present inside. Call an electrician if you can’t access the electricity mains without walking through the wet areas of your house or building.
2. Call your insurance provider.
The earlier you call our insurance company, the better. The first thing insurance companies that provide coverage for water damage restoration in Washington DC do is send a claims adjuster to inspect your property and assess the severity, scope, and cause of the damage.
Claims adjusters need to be one of the first at the scene to make accurate assessments of the water damage to your property. From that first visit, you’ll know if your insurance company will want to revisit you for additional checks for the different categories covered in your policy (e.g., flood damage, structural damage, and other living expenses if your house becomes uninhabitable from the water damage).
3. Do an ocular inspection on the damage to your property.
Conduct your assessment of the damage to your property by looking for signs of structural damage, like moist pillars, baseboards, warped ceilings, and flooring. Remember to check for signs of damage beneath the carpets, too.
It’s best to do this with the insurance adjuster present so you can discuss what needs replacing and which repairs will be covered by your policy.
Documenting the damage to your house or property is crucial and it involves taking various pictures and videos from critical angles. The documentation may help if you need to file additional claims for water damage on your Washington DC property.
4. Collect your salvageable belongings.
Once you get the green light to start cleaning up, begin by saving your undamaged belongings. Thoroughly dry and store your valuables somewhere safe and secure until the building is safe and ready to occupy again. For the items you use daily like clothes, beddings, glassware, and dinnerware, ensure they are completely dry and disinfected before using them.
As for furniture, consider taking furniture pieces to restoration specialists if you don’t want to dispose of them. It’s difficult to restore wooden and cushioned furniture with water damage using DIY methods, plus they could become breeding grounds for mold or bacteria without professional cleaning and disinfection.
5. Clean the area and dry out any remaining wet areas.
Once you’ve cleared all your belongings, you can finally tend to the building. Start by cleaning and removing all debris. If a flood caused the damage, there’s bound to be many damaged items left on your premises that will need to be disposed of.
Consider the type of water that flooded your property: is it clean, gray, or black? The dirtier and more contaminated the water is, the higher the urgency to disinfect the place and prevent the spread of disease-causing bacteria.
One of the most important steps is to dry out all the wet areas, especially the rooms with very little to zero natural ventilation. Open the windows and doors, and use fans and dehumidifiers if possible to speed up the drying.
6. Remove and throw out damaged porous materials.
Unfortunately, any porous material that’s been drenched in dirty water needs to go. It’s hard to dry these materials entirely or get them 100 percent clean again. But the more significant concern is the potential for mold infestation.
Mold can grow on moist surfaces within 72 hours (hence the need to dry out water-damaged rooms as quickly as possible), and bacteria grows fast in warm, damp places, too.
Here are some examples of household items made with porous materials:
- Pillows, mattresses, and blankets
- Curtains and other fabrics
- Wall and floor insulation
- Unfinished wood furniture
Drywall and unsealed concrete surfaces are also porous surfaces. Therefore, hiring professional cleaners to clean, disinfect, and remove all traces of mold and bacteria-breeding dirt would be advisable.
Talk to Our Restoration Specialists for Properties with Water Damage in Washington DC
Seeking professional water damage restoration experts saves your home or building from falling further into disrepair.
Restoration 1 is the go-to team in Washington, DC, for property repairs, remediation, and restoration work. We address water damage from hurricanes, flooding, sewer leaks, and faulty indoor plumbing and work with all insurance carriers in the United States. If you have experienced water damage on your property, get in touch with the considerate professionals at Restoration 1 of Washington DC.