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What to Do About Water Damage in Your Home

iStock_000017841683_LargeWater is said to be the most destructive force in the world. So when you discover a leaking pipe or a flooded basement, it’s normal to panic. Stay calm instead, and repair the damage as quickly as possible.

1. Turn off your main water valve. Everyone in your home should know where this is located, in case you aren’t home when a leak occurs. This will stop the flow of water into your home and allow you to begin repairing the damage.

2. Turn off the electricity at the breaker box. This step probably isn’t necessary if you just discovered a minor water drip under a sink. But any time there is standing water in your home, there is danger of electrocution.

3. Move personal property to a dry location. Move all of your belongings and salvage them.

4. Remove the water. For small messes, towels will do the trick. Don’t use newspapers because the ink will smear anding water, it’s probably best to consult with experts.

5. Don’t throw out possessions yet. Your insurance claims adjuster may need to see them.

6. Call your homeowners insurance company to report the damage. Most homeowners insurance policies do cover damage due to internal water damage (leaks from burst pipes, washing machine malfunctions, roof problems, and so on). Your policy probably does not cover flooding, which is defined as ground water entering the home.

7. Call a water damage or mold remediation specialist. They can often work with your homeowners insurance provider to repair the damage in your home. Your carpet probably needs to be professionally cleaned, even if it was just “clean” water that damaged it, in order to lessen the likelihood of mold problems. Make sure to call these specialists within 24 hours of the event, in order to prevent the problem from getting worse.

8. Depending upon the level of damage, talk to a contractor. You might need to have some internal structures replaced. Even if everything looks okay, you might have unseen damage inside walls, floors, or ceilings.