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9 Important Water Damage Restoration Tips 

Water damage is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone. And, when it does, you need to know how to respond. 

Here at ServiceMaster of Lake Shore, we restore water damage in Chicago homes and businesses each day with comprehensive water damage cleanup services.

In this blog, we’ve compiled our best water damage restoration tips to help you deal with moisture intrusion, structural damage, and mold, no matter how severe it may be.

Let’s dive in.

Before You Get Started, Do This:

water damage safety gear

1. Decide if You’ll DIY Repairs or Call the Pros

Here’s an important fact about water damage: 

You cannot DIY all water damage repairs.  

If the water damage was extensive, you’ll need to call a professional restoration team like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago to help you restore your space.

Even damage that seems minimal can be hiding serious problems, like mold and mildew, or damage to your home’s building materials. 

As a rule, we recommend calling in the pros no matter how minimal the water damage looks.

Even if you can clean it up on your own, it’s a good idea to have a professional restoration team evaluate the area and confirm that there’s no further damage to worry about.

2. Get Your Safety Gear

If you decide to DIY the water damage cleanup, it’s essential to gear up for safety.

Wear protective gear like a face mask, gloves, and waterproof boots as you assess and enter the affected area. 

9 Water Damage Cleanup Tips You Need to Know

water damage source

Ready to tackle your home’s water damage? 

Follow these tips to restore your property and get life back to normal:

1. Shut the water off at the source

First things first: you’ll need to stop the water at the source.

This prevents additional water from flowing into the home and helps limit the damage to your belongings. 

Locate your home’s main water supply line and turn it off at the valve.

This will cease the flow of water to the entire house and should stop the leak in its tracks. 

Call an emergency plumber right away if you can’t stop the leak. 

2. Turn off your home’s electrical supply

Electricity is a considerable danger whenever there’s standing water present in your home. Any exposed cables or wires can create a lethal risk when exposed to water. 

With this in mind, turn off the electricity to your home before you venture into water-damaged areas.

If electronic devices like your television or appliances have been affected by water damage, have them serviced by a professional before you turn them on again. 

3. Find the source of the leak

Next, you’ll need to identify the source of the water damage and the leak that caused it.

As you do this, keep in mind that there are three categories of water damage, each with its own degree of contamination:

  • Category 1: Category 1 water damage is considered clean water and is safe to deal with as long as you take immediate action. This water doesn’t contain raw sewage or other dangerous contaminants.
  • Category 2: Category 2 water is considered “greywater.” This water contains significant contamination and can cause discomfort or illness. 
  • Category 3: Category 3 water is also known as “black water.” This water is grossly contaminated with pathogens or toxins that can cause significant reactions or adverse health effects after exposure.

Evaluate the source of your water leak through this lens. 

For example, if your sink overflowed, you’re probably dealing with category one water damage, which you can likely resolve on your own. 

If you’ve got raw sewage backed up in your crawlspace, though, it’s category three water damage that requires the immediate attention of a professional team. 

4. Look for signs of mold

Mold and mildew can start to grow within 24-48 hours of water exposure.

It’s critical to inspect for mold as soon as possible after a water damage event. Look for telltale signs like discoloration or a damp and musty smell. 

If you find mold in a small area of drywall, you can cope with it by cutting the affected area out, bagging it, and throwing it away.

However, larger patches of mold will require the attention of a professional restoration company. 

5. Move your valuables

If valuables in your home haven’t been affected by the water, move them to a safe area.

Personal belongings like electronics, furniture, and appliances can be saved if they aren’t contaminated by dirty water. 

6. Remove damaged items

If you have porous materials that have been damaged by water, you may need to dispose of them.

As you assess your belongings, focus on the ceiling and floors first. All unsealed drywall, cement, and wood will need to be replaced, so the home is safe for water damage repair. 

7. Start cleaning the area

Next, it’s time to start the cleanup and mitigation process. If you have a wet/dry shop vac, you can use it to remove any standing water in the area. 

Once all standing water is gone, use towels and an absorbent mop to sop up the remaining moisture. 

Once all signs of visible moisture are gone, use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess water. We also recommend that you open the windows and doors in your home to promote airflow and hasten the drying process.

8. Disinfect the area

Next, you’ll need to disinfect the area with a water/bleach solution. Contact a contractor or water damage restoration company like ServiceMaster of Lake Shore in Chicago, IL to provide complete remediation services if your ceilings, walls, or flooring have been damaged. 

9. Contact ServiceMaster of Lake Shore or a trusted water restoration company

As we’ve mentioned before, contacting a water damage professional is an essential part of any water damage remediation process. 

Even if you believe you’ve cleaned the area entirely, a water damage restoration team may be able to spot hidden damage that also needs to be dealt with so you don’t run into other problems down the road.

Our team is here to evaluate your property and help you ensure complete restoration. 

Dealing with Water Damage in Chicago, IL? We’re Here to Help!

If you’re dealing with water damage in Chicago, IL, you are NOT alone. 

Our team is here to help. We’re here to help you navigate the water damage cleanup process and restore your property by providing comprehensive water damage cleanup services to customers throughout the Chicago, IL, area and suburbs.

Contact us today to request a water damage inspection: (312) 707-8597

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    (312) 707-8597


    Our office is located in downtown Chicago, IL just west of Millennium Park, nearby Willis Tower and Magnificent Mile. We provide 24 hour emergency fire and water damage cleanup to all of Chicagoland including Lincoln Park, Logan Square, Gold Coast, Lake View, Magnificent Mile and Little Village. We also provide a variety of specialty cleaning services.