Water Damage : Quick Action Steps

In the wake of a water damage situation, it is important to take action quickly to prevent further damage to a building and its furnishings. Whatever the source, the ideal timing is within the first 24 hours of the event.
IICRC S500 separates water sources into three categories:

  1. Clean Water - no immediate health risk
  2. Gray Water - may contain organic or chemical pollutants (Class I may become Class II if not remediated in first 48 hours)
  3. Black Water - contains bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemicals

Excessive moisture left in a building, if not dried quickly, can result in secondary damage to personal contents, furniture, wall hangings, pictures, drywall and finishes, trim and moldings, sub floors, as well as microbial contaminations of the environment. Thorough, effective water extraction and the application of psychometric principles (temperature, dehumidification and air movement), measured results and monitoring are the keys to success when drying water damaged properties.


  1. Call your water damage restoration professional promptly. Don't Wait!
  2. If possible, locate and stop the source of water.
  3. Consider surfaces touched by sewer water to be toxic and avoid contact.
  4. Don't delay, the clean up and drying process should be undertaken promptly to avoid bacteria and mold growth.
  5. Remove furniture, art, area rugs and personal items to dry locations if possible and if not a safety hazard.
  6. Place wood blocks, plastic wrap or aluminum foil under legs of remaining furniture. If possible, wipe dry.
  7. Remove as much water as possible from the affected area and contents by wiping and blotting. DO NOT use electrical appliances while on wet carpets or floors!
  8. In cold weather, leave the heat on. In hot weather, use central air conditioning.
  9. Open furniture drawers, closet doors or luggage to help drying.
  10. Document damage with notes and pictures.
Be sure to address the water problem immediately. Waiting for the water to recede or to dry out eventually, will likely be more costly in the long run.