A Truly Localised Flood: What to Do When a Room Inside Your House Is Flooded
Major floods are a natural disaster that can affect everyone in the area. And then there are some floods that are extremely localised—limited to your home, or even a single room within your home. To come home and find that a room has been flooded due to a burst pipe or another plumbing mishap is something that nobody wants to experience. But if it was to happen, it's important to know the best process for solving the issue and cleaning up so that you can make your home liveable again as soon as possible.
Fixing the Issue
Contact an emergency plumber immediately. This really goes without saying, as the reason for the leak needs to be identified and repaired. If you rent your home, contact your landlord or the real estate agent responsible for the lease in order to inform them of the issue. Your landlord might then step in and make arrangements for an emergency plumbing service, as well as having the property cleaned and dried. If you own your home, contact your insurance company immediately. They might in fact arrange for the plumber and for professional cleaning.
Once the plumber has completed their repairs, ask them if they suspect if there has been any water damage to your home's wiring. In this instance, an electrician might also be required, particularly if your home's circuit breaker has been triggered and has shut off electricity to your home (or to an individual section within in your home). Be sure to retain the receipt for the cost of the plumber (and the electrician if applicable) to be reimbursed by your insurance company or landlord if the costs are not immediately covered
You also need to confirm with the plumber that the water doesn't contain human waste. This is only applicable if the leak was caused by a problem with your sewerage line. In this instance, a professional cleaning crew should be contacted.
Once the area has been deemed safe, you should document the damage. Take as many photos as you can to show the extent of the flooding. You can provide these to your insurance company, or to your landlord to show their insurance company.
If professional water extraction is not necessary, and your landlord or insurance company have not arranged for professional cleaning, then you will have to start by mopping up the bulk of the water. Using old towels, soak up as much water as possible. Wash these towels immediately to prevent mildew from setting in. Unfortunately, this step will need to be repeated numerous times until the majority of the water has been removed.
Carpets will either have to be removed and replaced, or professionally steam cleaned if the damage was not severe. In some instances the carpets will still need to be temporarily removed so that the sodden underlay can be dried out before steam cleaning is possible.
To speed up the drying of the general area, an industrial dehumidifier might be necessary. This is simply left on in the area for the recommended amount of time (check with the company you've rented the dehumidifier from) to extract dampness that cannot be mopped up.
In an ideal world, this is a situation you will never have to face. But it's good to know the best way to proceed if you were ever faced with a major plumbing drama that has resulted in a flooded room.