10 First Steps When Water Damage Happens



Your damage may range from a small, local flood or spill, to a major flood. Either way, you must understand that water will find its way into the smallest interiors of your property.

Remain-Calm You may feel that cleaning the surface areas and floors is sufficient. It is not. Water damage occurs most frequently within the interior structures of your property opening the door for multiple health hazards and structural degradation.

Pinnacle Restoration uses advanced instrumentation to find any exterior and interior property damage due to water or sewage.  These instruments are specifically designed to find water and sewage within all areas of a property structure.

When Water Damage Happens

We offer these tips as a general guide to help you minimize the damage to your property and your health. Additionally, we recommend that you consult an insurance agent who specializes in home insurance for more information.

1. Stop The Water

If water is flooding from inside your home, whether from a burst pipe or water heater malfunction, shut off the main water valve immediately. It’s a good idea to make sure everyone in your home knows where the shutoff valve is located.


2. Call Us Immediately 702-577-1320

Water damage and bacteria growth can begin within hours after you experience a loss. To increase your chances of a complete recovery, call Pinnacle Restoration as soon as possible.

It’s important to act quickly, as mold, fungi and disease-causing bacteria thrive in water-logged environments. Bacterial contamination in water-damaged buildings has been identified as a potential cause of health problems, including infection and respiratory conditions like asthma.


3. Turn Off Utilities

Turn off electricity at the main breaker box, or fuse box, only if you don’t have to step in water or stand on a wet floor to do it. Turn off your main breaker; then flip each circuit breaker to off. Or pull out your main fuse; then take out each circuit fuse.

Unplug small appliances, but never unplug or disconnect an electrical appliance if you have to stand in water, or on a damp floor, to do it. If there is no water where your large appliances are located, unplug appliances such as washers and dryers and move them to higher ground if needed, or put them on blocks, making sure they won’t vibrate off the blocks when used.
Put plugs in toilets, showers, sinks, or other drains to prevent sewer back-up.

Make sure your sump pump is working and consider having a back-up.

Consider having a back-up generator in case the power goes out.

Do not turn on the heating and air conditioning system if it was flooded, or might serve to spread contamination.


4. Prevent Electrocution

Do not use any electrical appliances if your carpet or flooring is wet. If there is no threat of electrocution, use a wet vacuum to remove water, but check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting.

Do not use a regular household vacuum to remove water.

Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or flooring.

Don’t go into a basement, or any room, if water covers cords that are plugged in, or if water covers the electrical outlets!

Stay out of a basement, or any room, if you hear buzzing, snapping, crackling, or popping noises, or see sparks! Stay out of water that may have electricity in it!

If it looks like your main electrical box, or meter, will be covered with water, call an electrician immediately!

Do not flush toilets, take showers, or use water, unless absolutely necessary. This will decrease the burden on sewer lift stations.

Stay away from green electrical boxes, electrical appliances, or electrical equipment, that have water around them!

Keep children away from indoor and outdoor electrical appliances and electrical equipment in flooded areas!


5. To Use Fans Or Not To Use Fans

We don’t recommend you turning on your air conditioning or any fans to dry out water disasters unless the damage is small, localized, and away from electrical wiring.

Another reason not to use air conditioning or fans is that bacterial growth may distribute much faster if the air movement is not directed correctly.

We recommend that you allow our professional staff to manage the drying and air movement activities. They will take all safety and health issues into consideration based on your circumstances.


6. Contain Water Flow If Possible

Do not attempt to handle any water flooding if you suspect any sewage backflows.

Otherwise, if the flooding is small or localized, you may prevent further damage by mopping, blotting, or containing water with towels.


7. Move Property To A Dry Location


Move furniture to a dry area to facilitate drying. If it is too heavy to move place aluminum foil or wood blocks under the legs to keep it away from a damp carpet.

When it is safe to do so, inspect your furniture and separate what is salvageable from what cannot be saved. Be aware that water damage may not be restricted to furniture that has been sitting in water. Excessive moisture in the atmosphere can also cause damage.

To determine whether a piece of furniture is worth saving you have to look at the extent of damage. Take into account the cost of the item in relation to the cost of restoration. Finally, you have to also take into account its sentimental value to you. You may want to keep and repair a family heirloom despite damage.

Set aside furniture that is beyond repair for evaluation for insurance claims. Upholstered furniture that has been sitting in water for too long may be hard to salvage as water can encourage the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew, all of which which can have a long term bad effect on your health. Wood furniture that has become warped may also be difficult to save.

Lift draperies off the floor, loop through a coat hanger and place the hanger on the drapery rod.


Lay items flat on clean absorbent towels/unprinted paper; change absorbent towels regularly until item is just damp.

Do not attempt to separate soaking or very wet sheets; leave in 1/4” thick stacks and separate when just damp.

If media is not water soluble, blot excess water off the surface.

When items are just damp, sandwich between new paper towels and lightly weight overall to flatten.

Do not air-dry glossy (coated) paper, parchment; immediately freeze.


Most photos, negatives and color slides can be cleaned and air-dried using the following steps:

Carefully lift the photos from the mud and dirty water. Remove photos from water-logged albums and separate any that are stacked together, being careful not to rub or touch the wet emulsion of the photo surface.

Gently rinse both sides of the photo in a bucket or sink of clear, cold water. Don’t rub the photos and be sure to change the water frequently.

If you have time and space right away, lay each wet photo face up on any clean blotting paper, such as a paper towel. Don’t use newspapers or printed paper towels, as the ink may transfer to your wet photos. Change the blotting paper every hour or two until the photos dry. Try to dry the photos inside if possible, as sun and wind will cause photos to curl more quickly.

If you don’t have time right away to dry your damaged photos, just rinse them to remove any mud and debris. Carefully stack the wet photos between sheets of wax paper and seal them in a Ziploc type plastic bag. If possible, freeze the photos to inhibit damage. This way photos can be defrosted, separated and air-dried later when you have the time to do it properly.


Have been submerged in water or standing beneath running water. They will require intense individual attention to air-dry. If time does not allow this attention, freeze for later treatment. If large quantities of books are saturated, freeze-drying may be the best option.

Fewer than 500 non-coated paper books with non water soluble components.
• Do not open book, fan pages or remove bindings.
• Cover drying surface with plastic sheeting & absorbent paper (e.g. unprinted newsprint), as needed.
• Stand the soaked book on end (head or tail) & allow water to drain.
• Place paper towels (or aluminum foil if cover dyes are bleeding) between the textblock & the covers.
• Change paper beneath the books & paper towels as they become saturated.
• Keep air circulating by using fans. Do not aim fans directly at the wet materials.
• Allow books to drain until they are ‘wet’ books.

Freezing & Freeze-drying
Freezing wet materials will stabilize them, prevent mold growth & provide time to determine a course of action. Rapid freezing to –15 to -20 degrees F is recommended to minimize damage from ice crystals. Home freezers rarely meet this criterion!

Once frozen, it is best to dry materials by the vacuum freeze-drying method. During vacuum freeze-drying, water from the damaged material sublimates, i.e., passes from a solid state (frozen) to a gaseous state (vapor), bypassing the liquid stage & therefore minimizing damage from inks and dyes running, boards warping & paper cockling. It is important not to place materials into a vacuum freeze-dryer in distorted shape if at all possible, since they tend to emerge from the process in that same shape. If freeze-drying is not possible, the materials must be thawed and air-dried.


Fewer than 500 non-coated paper books with non water soluble components.
• Cover drying surface with plastic sheeting & absorbent paper (e.g. unprinted newsprint), as needed.
• Open book to a shallow angle & interleave approximately every 20 pages with paper towels. Begin by laying the book flat & interleaving at the front of the book, allowing the work surface to support the main weight. When interleaving has reached the approximate center of the textblock, turn the book over and start interleaving from the back.
• The book may be left flat until paper towels have absorbed some of the water, about one hour.
• Stand book on end (head or tail), slightly fanned.
• Change paper beneath the books and interleaving periodically until the book is only “damp”, and then proceed to #3.
• Keep air circulating by using fans. Do not aim fans directly at the wet materials.


• Cover drying surface with plastic sheeting & absorbent paper (e.g. unprinted newsprint).
• Stand damp books on head or tail, slightly fanned. If the cover is damper than the text, place absorbent paper between the boards and book, change them as needed.
• Use fans to circulate air to dry the books completely.

8. File An Insurance Claim ASAP

After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again. Make sure you have the following information handy:
• The name of your insurance company
• Your policy number
• A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times

Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.
• Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels.
• Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible.
• Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible, place flooded items outside of the home.

Your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages. You’ll need to file this claim with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.

You’ll receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.


9. Wash Your Hands And Clothes

We cannot stress enough that the water from your flood may contain bacteria or sewage. It’s important to remember to always wash your hands before making contact with others. Shower and wash your clothes as soon as possible to prevent any bacteria growth or health hazard to you and your loved ones.


10. Don’t Throw Anything Out

Don’t throw out damaged belongings, especially expensive ones. A claims adjuster may need to inspect them. Also, make a thorough list of stuff that was water damaged as soon as you can. This will help us process your claim faster. It helps to document damage with photos and video.

Save all receipts for any rental equipment, temporary repairs or payments to professional services.

04/26/2015  vvel4g

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Pinnacle Restoration of Las Vegas, Nevada specializes in disaster recovery, property restoration and repair.

We respond to your emergency immediately - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year - to quickly secure your property and begin emergency services that stabilize and minimize damage.