A spill on the kitchen floor is no big deal – we’ve all had to throw down a couple of towels after dropping a cup of water. But real water damage across multiple areas of the house can quickly wreak havoc on your home. In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about minimizing your losses during severe water damage. We’ll cover what to do first, how to prevent further damage, and how to get restoration services started.

Severe water damage can come from many sources – a broken pipe, severe weather, or even a leaking roof. No matter the source, it’s important to take action as soon as possible to minimize the damage.


1. Understanding Water Types

Believe it or not, there are several water types to be familiar with when it comes to dealing with large amounts of water in your home.

  1. The first type is “clean” water, which comes from sources like rain, condensation, or leaky pipe. This type of water is relatively harmless and can be cleaned easily.
  2. The second category is “gray” water, which is slightly contaminated and may cause illness if ingested. Gray water can come from dishwashers, washing machines, or toilets (urine only).
  3. The last and most severe category is “black” water, which is highly contaminated and can cause serious illness or even death if ingested. Black water comes from sewage, seawater, floodwaters, and any standing water that has been present for more than 48 hours.

If you come into contact with any water that you suspect may be contaminated, it is important to wash any points of contact thoroughly with soap and clean water. If you have any open cuts or wounds, be sure to cover them before coming into contact with the water.

2. Taking Action

Once you have determined the type of water you are dealing with, it’s time to take action. Managing severe water damage is a race against time, so move quickly.

If you are dealing with gray or black water, do not attempt to clean it yourself. These types of water can contain harmful bacteria and other contaminants that can cause serious illness. Instead, contact a professional restoration company as soon as possible.

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Turn off Water Supply and Electricity

If you are dealing with clean water, begin by shutting off your water supply. Deactivating your water main line will ensure that the power is off to all of the appliances in your home, preventing any chance of electrical shock or short-circuiting. Turn off the electricity as well to avoid the risk of electric shock.

Remove Excess Water

Once the water is turned off, it’s time to start removing any excess water from your home. Begin by mopping up any standing water and drying wet areas as much as possible. Remove any area rugs or carpeting to dry separately. Once the area is mostly dry, you can start cleaning surfaces with a mild soap and water solution. Be sure to dry surfaces completely after cleaning. You may wish to use a dehumidifier or fans to help speed up the drying process.

Move Valuables

Place your valuables on high shelves or use plastic bags and bins to protect them from moisture damage. You may only have time to grab a limited number of items, so choose wisely. After home disasters, many victims report regretting leaving behind important documents, photos, valuable books, electronics, and sentimental items. Ergo, take care to salvage the things you truly need.

3. Assessing the Damage

Once you have removed all standing water and cleaned surfaces, it’s time to assess the damage. Begin by checking for any structural damage, such as cracks in walls or ceilings. If you see any severe water damage, do not attempt to repair it yourself – contact a professional immediately. 

Next, check for any signs of mold or mildew. Mold can begin to grow within 24-48 hours of water exposure, so it’s important to act quickly. If you see any mold, take pictures and contact a professional mold remediation company right away. Mold exposure can cause serious health problems, such as:

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, and skin
  • Respiratory problems such as coughing or sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Nausea

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If you find signs of mold, contact mold remediation services so you do not suffer the health consequences of trying to deal with mold yourself. If you do not see any mold, you can begin the process of drying out your home. This may include opening windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate, using fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process, and removing any wet materials such as carpets or area rugs.

Document the Damage

If you have any items that have been damaged by severe water damage, such as furniture or electronics, it’s important to document the damage by taking pictures. This will be helpful when filing an insurance claim. If possible, salvage what you can by cleaning and drying damaged items.

4. Preventative Strategies

There are a few preventative strategies you can use to help avoid severe water damage in your home:

  • Inspect your home regularly for any signs of leaks or moisture, such as water stains on ceilings or walls. Regular plumbing services should catch most issues before they crop up. 
  • Repair any leaks or moisture problems immediately.
  • If severe weather is expected, take steps to protect your home, such as covering windows and moving any valuable items to a higher level.
  • If you are going on vacation, shut off the main water valve to your home and drain any remaining water from pipes by opening all faucets.

If you do experience severe water damage in your home, contact a professional restoration company as soon as possible. The sooner you take action, the less damage your home will sustain. And remember, preventative strategies can go a long way in avoiding water damage altogether.

Contact Shepherd’s Disaster for Water Removal and Dehumidification

If you have water damage, it’s important to contact a professional water removal and dehumidification company as soon as possible. At Shepherd’s Disaster Recovery, we have the tools, experience, and expertise to perform water damage restoration effectively and efficiently. Contact us today by phone or online.

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