Whether your garage floods, a pipe bursts, or you've experienced flooding after a natural disaster, water can cause irreparable damage to your home if it's not addressed immediately. When water gets in a house, the drywall can sop it up like a sponge, compromising the integrity of the structure. Water on the floors that isn't taken care of immediately will cause mold and mildew and can be dangerous to your health. If you've experienced a water-related emergency, here are some things you should do to minimize the damage.
As soon as you see water in your home, dry off all items of value and remove them from the area. The sooner you get your valuables out and away from the water, the better the odds are that you will be able to save them. Turn off all breakers and gas lines before entering the home in order to avoid electrical shock and possible gas leaks. Using mops and buckets, get as much water out of the home as you can. If the amount of water is minimal, can you can use wet/dry vac to help remove it. If it's a significant amount of water, a sump pump can help to quickly pump the water out and away from the home.
It's important that any area where water has been gets dried out as soon as possible. You can purchase or rent large, heavy-duty fans to help circulate the air and dry the floors out. A dehumidifier can also help. Pull up any carpet and look to see if the water has permeated the padding. If it has, you'll need to remove all of it and dispose of it. Saturated carpet can quickly grow mold, and if the damage is too severe, it will not be salvageable. Take a look at the walls and see where the water level has risen. If it's fairly high, you can cut out sections of the affected drywall and then patch it with new drywall. Wooden trim is usually salvageable, but if it's made of press board you will need to replace it.
Apply a strong disinfectant that has mold-killing ingredients to the floors. Let it soak and allow it to kill off any mold spores before wiping it dry. Be sure to apply it to the floors, walls, and any furniture that got wet. Purchase a specially concentrated mold killer and put it on everything that has gotten wet to ensure that mold won't return. Throw anything away that has been soaked and will not be able to be saved, or else it can spread mold around your home. After everything has been thoroughly dried and disinfected, you can begin to rebuild the areas that have been flooded by adding new flooring and replacing furniture.
For emergency water removal, go to websites of services that specialize in this in your area.