Water leaks can be very destructive to both the home and the tenant's personal belongings. Its important to know how to properly respond to any type of water leak. In general, tenants are responsible to act quickly and in a timely manner by reporting a water leak right away while taking certain steps in order to protect the property and prevent further damage. Depending on the terms of the lease and local laws, the tenant may be considered negligent if they do not respond properly, which is something you don't want to happen to you.
Here are 10 steps that can be taken to help minimize damage to the home and your belongings:
- Locate of the main shut off valve for the property and turn off the water going to the home
- Reacting quickly to try and stop the leak at its source; whether it’s a shut off valve at the toilet or leaking garbage disposal
- Sewer line backups are nasty, and the best way to respond is to turn off any appliances that use water while also avoiding use of any water in the home; including showers, washing your hands, and even using the restroom
- Depending on where you live, opening up doors and windows are a great way to pull moisture out of the home; keep in mind that this only works if the humidity outside is less than inside the home
- If its not freezing outside and its above 60 degrees, turn on the air conditioner; this acts as a dehumidifier which can pull out moisture until help arrives
- Set up containment barriers by using towels, sheets, blankets, paper towels, etc.
- When available, setup fans to start drying things out but be careful if there is standing water because the last thing you want is to electrocute yourself
- Some people have wet and dry shop vacs, if this is the case then begin sucking up any standing water, or at least do the best you can until a water remediation company can get out there
- Take whatever measures are necessary to move personal belongings away from the source of the leak or backup
- In some cases, a water loss could be coming from upstairs or is near power sources in which you would need to turn the power off to the home to reduce the risk of electric shock and or shorting out the breaker panel
Water leaks are often very stressful and when they first happen, may people become anxious and do not think clearly. Before this happens to you, its important to take time now to go over the different locations of shut off valves in the home so that if something were to occur, you are prepared to respond.
October 23, 2013