Water leaks at home: 8 rules to follow to avoid disaster


Water damage at home can quickly cost you several thousand dollars. But what if an emergency arises? In the event of a leak, you must act as quickly as possible in order to avoid disaster and to minimize damage and costs. What are the first steps to take in the event of water damage? Water damage can have dreadful consequences. Try not to panic. Here are X rules to follow to know what to do and how to limit the flood, how to dry up the damage and think about possible compensation.

1 – Cut off the water supply

Shut off the water supply to prevent further damage. It suffices to close the tap concerned. If this is not possible, you close the main water tap. When you’re away from your home for an extended period of time, to avoid possible water damage – and costly cleaning or renovations as a result – consider shutting off your main water supply valve. The main shut-off valve is usually located at the water connection of your house, mainly in the basement. If you are in a rental, your water inlet can be in your kitchen or your bathroom. You should know that not all rental apartments have such a tap. In homes, it is usually located next to the main water meter.

2 – Cut the power supply

Water and electricity have never gone hand in hand. Turn off the power to the affected area. To do this, turn the fuses over or unscrew the corresponding screw fuse. This will prevent a short circuit and possible subsequent fires.

3 – Sponge the water

To prevent spread, mop up leaking water as soon as possible. For small quantities, buckets and rags may do the trick. For larger quantities, you may need to use a special humidity vacuum cleaner or even a pump. If you have very large amounts of water to mop up, it is best to call a specialist or, if necessary, the fire brigade. Keep in mind that there is a cost. Your insurance will cover these costs depending on the circumstances.

4 – Save your furniture

Remove rugs, furniture, and electrical appliances from the wet area. Damp textiles and swollen wood in particular tend to form mold. The best way to reduce humidity is still to open windows and doors. If water is dripping from the ceiling, you can cover your furniture with foil.

5 – Document the situation as well as possible

Photograph the affected room and damaged furniture in as much detail as possible, even while you are cleaning up. You will give the photos to your insurance company later. Do not immediately throw away waterlogged and completely soaked items, but instead document the damage. This is one of the main recourse you have so that your insurance company can reimburse you for your items up to their value.

6 – Inform your insurance company

Notify your insurance company and describe the damage. If you don’t own your home, contact your landlord or property manager. However, you should not perform any repairs before reporting the damage. Insurance normally determines whether your water damage should be assessed by an expert or not. Your insurance company can suggest a specialized company to repair the damage.

7 – Dry your water damage

Depending on the size and intensity, the drying time varies: superficial moistening of walls and floors can dry in a few days. Repairing damage to masonry can take several weeks or even months. It also depends on the need or not for renovation work, especially painting. You can call on a professional to remedy your water damage. Methods vary depending on the intensity and type of water damage. Failure to dry sufficiently can result in consequential damage such as construction defects or, most importantly, harmful mold. It is important to know the structure of the wall and whether it is an interior or exterior wall. Brick walls can dry out easily. Take care that mold has not formed (this can cause your wall to open to check).

8 – solve the problem at the source

How does water damage occur? They can have different causes. The most common is that of a burst pipe. This could be due to rust, frost, a defect in the material or work. The fault can also lie with faulty electrical appliances such as a washing machine, dishwasher or boiler which leaking can also cause water damage in the house. An overflow tub can also cause flooding, but that will be your fault. Beware of inattention. Floods or heavy rains are considered to be external influences. Often the building structure is permanently damaged. The consequences of this type are usually the most devastating. Whether it’s a faucet, a toilet tank, a pipe, a cumulus cloud or even a roof, try to find the source of the water damage in order to remedy it in the most effective way possible.

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