How to handle water damage
B.C. has been getting a lot of rain and that can bring surprises. Even small amounts of water intrusion can lead to big problems.
“It was like a water fountain, a huge water fountain. Within about 20 minutes, we had over two feet," said Joann Orlowski.
Her basement filled with sewer water that came up through a toilet.
In the right conditions, mould grows quickly.
Larger rooms that have been soaked with water may need professional help with special drying machinery to ward off dangerous mould.
But according to the experts, you can usually deal with small mould outbreaks yourself, using detergent, water and some elbow grease to scrub surfaces.
Follow these steps to help prevent mould after a flood:
• Clean up debris, and dry out the room by opening windows and using fans. Then close the room and use dehumidifiers;
• Remove anything porous that’s been soaked and can’t be thoroughly cleaned and dried. This includes carpets, upholstery, drywall, or ceiling tiles;
• Clean surfaces with detergent and water. If detergent doesn’t remove existing mould, use a bleach solution - one cup per gallon of water;
• Take pictures of the damage, and wet areas to show your insurance company.
“Since COVID, insurance companies are not sending adjustors so often to sites. So it’s really important to take photos of all the damage. Even small water spots on a wall or ceiling can develop into something much worse later on,” explained Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports Home Editor.
“There’s pieces in the furnace that if they get wet, then you’ve lost your furnace, they can’t fix it,” added Orlowski.
If your heating or AC units have been submerged, do not turn them on. Water can carry debris, causing bacteria and mould to become embedded inside. Have a professional inspect it and clean all components.
With files from Consumer Reports
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