Coping with water, fire, and smoke damage
Water Damage Tips
- Call ServiceMaster of Charlottesville immediately. Water damage and bacterial growth can begin within hours.
- If possible, stop the source of the water.
- Blot furniture, prop up cushions on upholstered pieces, and place furniture legs on wood blocks or aluminum foil.
- Turn on the air conditioning or heating system. Turn on ceiling fans if the ceiling isn't wet.
- Lift draperies and sheers off of wet surfaces. Loop the draperies through a coat hanger and place it on the drapery rod.
- Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
- Check under all beds and in closets for wet surfaces.
- Open closets, drawers and cabinet doors to enhance drying.
- Don't touch any electrical source or enter a room with standing water until electricity has been turned off.
- Don't use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
- Don't use electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpeting.
- Don't use appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked.
- Don't remove books from shelves. Instead, pack them together tightly until your restoration professional can start the specialized drying process.
- Don't use a household vacuum to remove water.
- Don't lift tacked-down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinking.
- Don't disturb visible mold.
- Don't wait to call for professional help! Immediate action can prevent further damage.
Fire and Smoke Damage Tips
- Call ServiceMaster of Charlottesville immediately. Corrosive byproducts from fire and smoke can cause irreversible damage in as few as 72 hours.
- Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
- Discard open food packages. The food may be contaminated.
- If electrical service is off, clean out the freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors open.
- Send clothing and linens with substantial smoke damage to a professional restoration cleaner rather than a dry cleaner.
- Wipe Formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
- Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
- Wipe the leaves of houseplants to remove smoke residue.
- Tape cheesecloth over your intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air.
- If the temperature is above 60 degrees, open doors and windows to air out the house and reduce smoke odor.
- Don't touch anything with your bare hands. Oil from your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
- Don't attempt to clean painted walls or wallpaper. Incorrect cleaning can compound the soot residue.
- Don't attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
- Don't use electrical appliances without having them checked.
- Don't eat food exposed to fire or smoke.
- Don't use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.