We can’t say for sure what the worst homeowner nightmare would be, but we’re pretty sure a flooded kitchen holds a firm position somewhere at the top of the list. When water isn’t where it’s supposed to be (like when it forms a swimming pool on your kitchen tile), it can cause serious damage. And the tricky thing with water damage is that some of it can be unseen. Water can seep into cracks and crevices undetected, causing a buildup of mold and other severe problems.
When you’re faced with a flooded kitchen, you’ll undoubtedly feel overwhelmed. What damage is being done? What can you do to stop it? What should you do first? Read on to find out.
Stop the Flooding
The obvious first step is to stop the water from doing any more damage. Find the source of the leak, and stop it. If a pipe has burst, turn off your main water valve. If the leak is near your sink, you may be able to find a knob near the pipes. If all else fails, you can typically call a plumber, describe your situation, and have them help you figure out how to turn off the water.
Think of Safety
If you see sparks or smell gas, turn off the electricity in the flooded room. (This can be done at your main breaker.) Next, call the fire department immediately, and leave your home.
Call a Disaster Relief Company
A flooded kitchen is one project you should not tackle on your own. Mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, which means you want the water in your kitchen cleaned thoroughly by someone who knows what to do. Removing the water yourself, patting the area dry, and leaving a fan on the floor for a few days is not a sufficient treatment for a flooded kitchen. Water can seep into unseen places, and you can end up dealing with major damage down the road.
You need the help of a disaster relief company, which will handle all the cleanup, gather evidence, get estimates, and deal with the insurance adjuster for you. Not only that, but they may be able to negotiate to get you the most claims money possible. And if you need to rebuild or restore, the disaster relief company will know how to do that.
Call Your Insurance Provider
Tell your insurance company about the flood so they can get their process moving. Don’t wait too long, or you could affect the outcome of your claim. Ask questions: Is the damage in your kitchen covered? Will the insurance company reimburse you for takeout food if your kitchen is temporarily unusable? Will there be extra costs?
Initial Damage Control
You’ll want to have a water damage restoration company do the main cleanup, but take stock of your furniture, books, and more to see what you can save. Don’t leave books in wet places because their colors can bleed. Move furniture and other items to dry places, and let them air out. But only do this after the damage has been documented properly by the disaster relief company and/or insurance company. If an item looks like it is destroyed, ask the disaster relief company for advice. Make sure to file appropriate claims with the insurance company for anything that has been destroyed.
If your kitchen has been badly damaged, you’ll need to begin a restoration process. The insurance company should tell you how much money you’ll receive, and once they do, you can begin working with a restoration company to restore, remodel, or even upgrade your kitchen.
That sinking feeling you felt when you first saw the flood in your kitchen? You can quickly replace it with relief — as long as you act fast, and get the right team on your side.
Deborah Lamberton is the general manager for New Life Restoration, a 24/7 disaster cleanup company that offers fire & smoke, water & storm damage, mold remediation and more.