Water Damage Do's and Don’ts

Here are tips for homeowners to minimize loss and prevent further water damage.

April 1, 2005

Water damage is the No. 1 reason homeowners file claims against their insurance companies, according to water damage repair experts.

Fast-growing franchiser 1-800 WATER DAMAGE experts, who appear on-site to dry and begin restoration on water-soaked ceilings, walls, and floors within 90 minutes of being called by panicked homeowners, say the need for emergency water damage relief is always present, and not because of weather-related storms and floods.

The company provides such services as water damage restoration, odor control, de-humidification, sewage clean-ups, debris removal, water extraction, sanitization, crawl-space drying, carpet cleaning, emergency board-ups, structural drying, wind damage, disinfecting, and basement drying.

"Most water damage calls come as a result of accidents within the home, and are not weather related," says Lisa Bongi, president of 1-800 WATER DAMAGE. "Water from the failure of indoor appliances or plumbing, is the second highest specific cause of homeowner's insurance claims. The average water damage claim is about $4,024."

Only two out of every 100 insured homes will file a water-damage claim within the year, yet 22 percent of all insurance losses are caused by water damage on average, says Bongi, making water damage an issue for all homeowners.

Should a leak or flood occur, company technicians recommend that homeowners do the following to minimize loss and prevent further damage:

Do

  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting the saturated area.
  • Wipe furniture to remove excess water.
  • Place aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying.
  • Lift drapes off flooring, loop through a coat hanger and hang on curtain rod.
  • Remove wet area rugs.
  • Turn on air conditioner if damage occurs in summer.
  • Move valuable paintings, art objects, and photos to a safe, dry place.
  • Open closet doors, furniture drawers, and luggage to aid in drying.
  • Remove any wet fabrics and dry immediately.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Stay out of any rooms where the ceiling is sagging from trapped water.

Don't

  • Use your household vacuum to remove the excess water.
  • Use electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpets.
  • Wait to call for professional help. The longer you wait, the more damage will occur.

(c) Copyright 2005 Realty Times. Reprinted with permission.

Blanche Evans is a writer/editor and CEO of evansEmedia. Formerly, she was a senior editor with Realty Times, where she was named by REALTOR® Magazine as one of the most influential people in the real estate industry.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.

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