When it comes to water damage, the water itself is only part of the problem. Mold and rot are deeper concerns, which is why you need to act quickly.
When To Act
The only correct answer to this question is immediately. As soon as you notice water intrusion in your home, you need to begin the damage mitigation and restoration process. Damage is most likely to be completely repairable if it is addressed within the first few hours of the flood. Don't wait for the water to recede or for the home to begin drying out before calling in an emergency water damage restoration service.
Full restoration can't happen until the water stops flowing into your home. Begin by addressing the cause of the intrusion, such as by shutting off water to the home if a pipe has burst, or renting a water pump if the basement is flooding after a rainstorm.
Your restoration and mitigation service may be able to help you with exclusion techniques. For example, using sandbags around the property to stop water flow into low-lying areas of the home.
Once the water source has been identified and cut off, the next step is to immediately begin extruding the water from flooring, carpeting, and walls. If you wait for air circulation or heat to dry out everything, you will end up with rot and mold problems throughout your home's structure.
Your service will use special extruders. Some look like pads that are attached directly to the surface, such as wooden floorboards or walls. Hoses attach to the pads, to take away the water the pads suck from the wall. Other extruders are manually pushed over surfaces, such as carpeting or upholstery, to pull out as much water as possible.
Once as much water is extruded as possible, high-powered fans are used to quickly dry up any remaining moisture. Mold can't grow without moisture, but if any has already taken hold in the house, then it must be removed because the spores can persist and begin growing if moisture returns.
Mold mitigation is good old-fashioned cleaning. Your restoration service will use a bleach solution or a solution containing a mold-killing agent to wipe down all hard surfaces. Special cleaners will be used in carpets and upholstery to kill any mold that has taken hold deep within the fibers. If you acted quickly, losses to mold should be minimal.
Contact an emergency water damage restoration service if water has caused any type of damage to your home.