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Whether water has damaged a small area of your home or flooded it completely, the key to repair is immediate action. The longer that water has a chance to soak through porous materials, the greater the chance of mold and mildew developing, which can lead to serious health hazards. Follow these steps to clean up the wet mess:

-         Stop the water flow: Whenever possible, find the source of the water and stop it. If the plumbing is leaky, shut off the water main. If there’s a leak coming from above, place buckets and tarps to reduce the spread of water damage. Unfortunately, with a flood, the only thing you can do is wait it out. Once the water is stopped or contained, turn the power off using the circuit breaker before entering an affected area.

-         Remove the water: Get the water out of your home as quickly as you can using brooms, mops, shop vacs, pumps or any other method available to you. If a carpeted area is affected, use a shop vac to remove as much water as possible. You may need to call in a professional to assist with larger jobs.

-         Circulate the air: Open up windows, turn on the ceiling fans and bring in any other fans available to you to help circulate the air and dry out the damaged areas. If carpeted areas have been soaked, lift the carpet, place objects underneath to keep it elevated and set a fan under the edge to dry out the pad below. For big jobs, you may also need a dehumidifier to rid the air of moisture.

-         Salvage and clean: Remove everything from damaged areas, including appliances, furniture, electronics, clothing, etc. If the water is relatively clean, begin drying your possessions immediately and scrub items, floors and walls with an all-purpose cleaner. If the water is dark in color, it likely contains sewage and many items will have to be trashed. Begin washing clothing and linens as soon as possible, even if it means dropping them off at a friend’s house to use their washing machine. Affected areas will need to be sanitized with a bleach solution and in such cases, it’s a good idea to call a sewage cleanup professional.

-         Repairs: Saturated carpeting will likely need to be replaced, especially if it’s soaked in dark water. Hardwood floors may be fine after a good scrubbing in light damage, but could need refinishing in heavier damage. Stained drywall can be fixed with a stain blocking primer and a fresh coat of paint. Drywall that undergoes more severe damage, such as bubbling or bowing, will need to be replaced. Call a professional to help with these repairs.

Protect your home and your loved ones. Call HomeStar Insurance Services at 815-352-4655 for more information on Kankakee home insurance.

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