What to Do After a Major Water Leak or Indoor Flood
It’s happened. There’s water everywhere—in your walls, under your carpets and soaking into your belongings. Whether caused by a burst pipe, a broken water heater or a flood, there are things you can do immediately to salvage belongings and limit damage or loss.
1. Stop the Water
If water is coming from inside your home, from a burst pipe or water heater malfunction, shut off the main water valve immediately. It’s a good idea to make sure everyone in your home knows where the shutoff valve is located.
2. Turn Off the Utilities
In a serious water event, turning off the power or natural gas might be necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and your family. In the case of a minor water leak or drip, there probably isn’t a need to shut off the utilities.
3. Prevent Electrocution
Do not use any electrical appliances if your carpet or flooring is wet. Use a wet vacuum to remove water, but check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting.
4. Use Fans to Circulate Air
Encourage drying by strategically placing fans to effectively circulate air. This is especially important in the first 24-48 hours after an indoor flood.
5. Get Water Out Quickly
Fast and safe action on your part can prevent further damage, help you save more of your belongings and minimize the time and expense of repairs. Clean up as much water as possible by mopping or blotting with towels.
6. Get Property to a Dry Location
Move wet belongings and furniture to a dry area. Put furniture on blocks or slide a square of aluminum foil under furniture legs to prevent the wood stain from bleeding into carpeting.
7. Remove Area Rugs from the Floor
The dyes in carpets can stain flooring, carpeting and wood floors.
8. Do Not Lift Tacked Down Carpet
Carpets can shrink after they’ve become wet and left to dry out. If you remove the tacks from wet wall-to-wall carpet, it will probably shrink after it dries out and no longer be wall-to-wall carpet. Consult a carpet specialist for help.
9. Wash Your Clothes
Clean your clothing, linens and other washables that have been soaked as soon as possible.
10. Wipe Excess Water from Furniture
Open drawers and cabinet doors for faster drying. Spread out books to speed drying and prevent further damage.
11. Watch Out for Debris and Pests
If water is flowing in your house there may be dislodged materials such as nails. Snakes and other vermin may seek shelter in your home after a storm or flood, so watch out.
12. File a Claim as Soon as Possible.
The sooner you file a claim to report damage, the sooner Safeco can help you get your home and life back to normal.
13. Don’t Throw Anything Out
Don’t throw out damaged belongings, especially expensive ones. A claims adjuster may need to inspect them. Also, make a thorough list of stuff that was water damaged as soon as you can. This will help us process your claim faster. It helps to document damage with photos and video.
14. Save Receipts
Save all receipts for any rental equipment, temporary repairs or payments to professional services.