How to deal with an overflow/flood at home

Aug 20, 2009 at 7:26 p.m. ET

If you have a water overflow at home, you will soon find out how quickly a flood can inflict damage. By knowing the proper steps to take when there is an overflow, you can mitigate the losses.

Rolling back wet carpetStep 1: Find the source

Unless the source is mother nature, you should be able to stop water from overflowing. Shut off the offending faucet or pipe. If you have any problems doing so, turn off the main water line going into your home as soon as possible.

Step 2: Remove furniture

Your next instinct may be to try to get rid of the water. But the better plan of action is to remove furniture, electronics and any other items from around the flooded area. To be safe, turn off all the electricity in your home.

Step 3: Extract the liquid

Now that you have removed anything that may be damaged as it sits in water, you can go ahead and begin the process of drying up the water. If you have a water vacuum, that should be the first place you turn. If you don't, you can try sweeping the water away or contacting a professional.

Step 4: Get rid of ruined carpet

If you can't salvage the carpet by drying it sufficiently, go ahead and tear it up and throw it away. By letting wet carpet sit, the floorboards will degrade faster, mold will grow and odors will mount.

Step 5: Contact your insurance provider

Hopefully you have flood or water damage insurance. If you do, contact your insurance provider and start taking pictures to document the damage.

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For more info on this topic...For more tips on household emergencies, check this out:
Emergency planning and disaster supplies