Many different plumbing fixtures can flood your house, from a slowly leaking dishwasher to a cracked toilet tank to a loose washing machine hose. Burst pipes are also a common culprit during the winter. No matter what plumbing fixture has caused your flooded house, you must act fast to mitigate the damage. Here are the first five things a homeowner should do after discovering the house is flooded.

Shut off the Water

Your primary goal is to stop the flooding. One way to shut off the water is by turning the valve behind the damaged plumbing fixture clockwise. The other option is to find the main water shut-off valve.

If you don’t know where this is located, check the basement, crawlspace, garage, or next to the water heater. If the valve isn’t inside, it might be buried in an underground box near the street. If you can’t find the main water valve and your house keeps flooding, call us for help.

Move or Protect Your Furniture

Carry furniture and other wet items to a dry area. If there’s anything you can’t move for whatever reason, place a few layers of aluminum foil under the legs and pin up the skirts so the color from the furniture doesn’t stain the floor. Prop up cushions or move them outside so they can dry.

Turn off the Electricity

As you know, water and electricity don’t mix. To prevent the possibility of electrocution, go to your main breaker panel and flip the circuit breakers that power the flooded rooms in your home. If the floor in front of the breaker panel is wet, stand on a dry wood plank before touching the breakers.

Start the Flooded House Cleanup Process

There are two companies you should call when you have a flooded house—Miami Rooter to correct the source of the flooding and a restoration company to perform in-depth cleaning services and prevent mold growth from damaging your home or belongings.

While you should leave the majority of flood cleanup to the restoration company, mold can start growing within just 24 to 48 hours, so it’s imperative to begin the drying process as quickly as possible. Here’s what to do while you wait for help to arrive:

  • Remove as much excess water from the floor as possible. Mop up tile and hardwood, blot wall-to-wall carpet with towels, and use a wet-dry shop vac (not your regular vacuum!) to remove standing water.
  • Open the windows if it’s cool and dry outside. Otherwise, turn on the air conditioning—unless the flooding was from sewage and the water level rose high enough to seep into your HVAC system.
  • Open all affected cabinets, turn on bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, and run ceiling fans in damp areas to help speed up the drying process.

Document the Damage

A big part of recovering from a flooded house is receiving compensation from your insurance company to help pay for the damage. Make a list of ruined items, the year you purchased them, and their original cost or current value. Take pictures of the damage as you clean so you have proof when you file an insurance claim.

Call us for Emergency Plumbing Services

When your house is flooding and you don’t know what to do, contact us for the emergency plumbing services you need. Our plumbers can help you find the main water shut-off valve and repair your pipes or fixtures to stop the water damage. By installing better hoses, fittings, gaskets, and pipes, we can dramatically lower the risk of this incident ever happening again.