Sequence of handling water in your home or business
1) Stop the water
This is the first, most important step for saving yourself money. You may or may not be able to do this yourself, for example if you have sewage shooting in from the floor drain you may have to call MSD to stop it. On the other hand a few twists of the wrist at your main shutoff can stop a broken pipe. If you can’t shut it off yourself skip to step 3.
2) Evaluate if you can handle it yourself
Take a look. Do you need someone to handle it? This is a question you have to ask yourself. I have had customers who wanted us to wash down a couple square feet of sewage and others who wanted us to help them dry things out after they had torn out all the drywall in their own basement. Mold starts growing in wet building materials within a couple days, though, so keep that in mind too. A professional will use meters and specialized equipment to speed the natural drying process up to a point that mold can’t grow.
3) Call a mitigation company to mitigate the damage
Mitigate means “To make something bad less severe, serious or painful” per Oxford. Fast Help, and other companies like ours, work to make this event as cheap and easy to deal with as possible. When you have water damage the damage has been done. A professional will know what can be dried, what has to be removed and what needs to be cleaned. Our technicians work to remove a minimum of building materials and dry the rest quickly. The sooner you call us the less damage there will be.
When you have a water event in a building the water has a level of contamination based on its source. The instant it gets into the building an invisible clock starts ticking that tells us how much we need to remove. The longer it ticks the more we remove. That clock doesn’t stop when we set equipment up, but it slows considerably. Carpet may need to be torn out that could have been dried after two or three days, as an example.
4) Call your insurance company and ask after coverage
Wait, Call them last? Doesn’t make sense, right? Your insurance company wrote a clause in your contract that as the owner of the building you will do all you can to “mitigate the damage” on discovery of a problem. They want you to call us out and minimize damage before you call them and even ask if it is covered. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. Your agent can tell you without a claim if the event is covered once you know how the water got in. Sometimes you have to have the carpet off the floor or the drywall off to see though.
Our contract is with you, it is your home or business, not the insurance company’s. If the loss is in your policy the insurance company legally must cover it. They should cover the costs of mitigating the damage and this will not change if you call us before or after but the faster you get us out the less the damage will be.