Three weeks ago, I got a phone call from my grandparents in Michigan. The sump pump (A.K.A. the basement pump used to remove water) in their basement had gone out and part of the basement was wet.

Since I've been in property restoration for my entire working life, I've always been the guy they called when something gets wet in their home, even while living over 4,000 miles away here in Hawaii. I guess this is the bane of any professional's existence, right?

Premier Restoration Hawaii

I'll give you a little background on my grandparents: they're both in their 70s. Grandpa was a farmer turned real estate broker and Grandma was, is and always will be, a hairdresser.

They've lived through a lot, have gobs of life experience and aren't too phased by most things. If anything breaks around the house, grandpa always knows how to fix it. In fact, he was in the middle of repairing the sump pump (remember, the thing that captures and removes water in basements!) when grandma called.

Their question to me was simple, "What should we do?"

I gave them a few helpful tips to prevent further damage and then started asking questions.

Even I, my family's trained water damage professional, couldn't tell them what to do. Their question was met with several of my own:

  1. "What got wet?"
  2. "How long has it been wet?"
  3. "What does is smell like?"

I tried my best over the phone but I couldn't tell them exactly what they needed to do to fix their home and prevent more damage. I eventually ended up contacting an old friend of mine, someone who's in the business, and asked him to go by and take a look.

When Should You Contact a Water Damage Professional?

"When you don't know what to do" is the simplest answer.

A cup of water spilled on the floor? You know exactly what needs to be done. When a corner of your finished basement floods? I'll bet you don't.

Your local Water Damage Professional will have all the inspection equipment to identify what is wet and what needs to occur to get those materials dry before more costly damage occurs. However, before your knight in shining drying equipment arrives, here are some tips on what to do immediately when flooding or water damage occurs in your home:

  1. Remove as Much Standing Water as Possible: You could use a shop vacuum, soak it up with towels, or simply push it out the door! Removing standing water is ALWAYS easier than trying to dry it
  2. Use Whatever Engineering Controls You Have: Air conditioning will dehumidify the air, heating the air will increase the air's ability to hold moisture, ventilating or "burping" (gross, huh?) the home will evacuate humid air and give you drier air
  3. Dispose of Wet Items Under $5: The reality is that it'll probably cost your Water Damage Professional more to address these items than they're worth; items like:
    1. Cardboard boxes
    2. Paper products
    3. Medium Density Fiberboard or chipboard (i.e ANYTHING FROM IKEA) are very hydroscopic or water loving and absorbing; once these items get wet, they're rarely salvageable
  4. Respond Quickly: Most indoor molds can start growing as early as 48 hours after the first contact with water. Even simple efforts like the ones listed above can help stabilize the situation to prevent extensive mold problems or further damages from occurring.

Do you have a wet basement too? Your reverse osmosis system connected to your refrigerator spring a leak? AC condensation pump overflow? Or maybe you just figured out you can get 36 years out of a 20 year shingle?! Contact Premier Restoration Hawaii and let's take care of it the right way.