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:


  • 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.


  • 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.

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