Water Damage: 8 Ways to Dry Out and Move On

By the Missoula Organization of REALTORS®

Thanks to heavy snow pack and a wet spring, many of our Missoula neighbors have been dealing with water. While severe cases of flooding will most likely require professional assistance, homeowners can take steps themselves to dry out quickly in order to mitigate water damage and save their possessions.

1. Move air naturally: If humidity isn’t too high, open windows and doors to start air circulating. Open closet and cabinet doors, and remove drawers.

2. Move air mechanically: Rent or buy high-powered fans to rev up air circulation. Depending on size and power, fans cost between $50 and $500 to buy; $20 a day to rent. (Do not use your central air conditioner or furnace blower if HVAC ducts were under water.)

3. Dehumidify: A portable dehumidifier can remove water vapor from the air in a contained area, like a bedroom or downstairs rec room. Shut the room’s windows and doors to prevent more humidity from seeping in. Buy a big dehumidifier so you don’t have to empty its water drawer frequently.

4. Pump water: A sump pump is a submersible pump that continuously moves water out of the house through a hose or pipe. If you have standing water that is several inches deep, a sump pump can help. Rent a sump pump for about $44 a day, or purchase one for $100 and up.

5. Wet/dry shop vac: Some shop vacs are rated for use in wet conditions. These vacs suck water from carpets and give you a fighting chance to save rugs and wall-to-walls. Don’t use an ordinary household vacuum whose innards are not protected from water. A 6-gallon wet/dry vac costs $50; a 16-gallon goes for about $170.

6. Remove sodden objects: Haul wet rugs and furniture into the sun to reduce inside moisture level. Remove sheet vinyl or linoleum flooring to promote maximum evaporation. Throw out wet insulation under floors.

7. Freeze papers: To buy time, place wet books and photos into plastic bags and place in a frost-free freezer. This will stop additional deterioration, and prevent mold and mildew. When you have time, retrieve books from the freezer and air- or fan-dry the pages.

8. Absorb moisture: Desiccants (silica gel, clay, calcium oxide) absorb moisture like a sponge. Place water-permeable packages of desiccants and wet items in airtight containers or in sealed areas, like closets. Some desiccants change color to indicate they are saturated, which can take days or weeks, depending on how much moisture items contain.

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Diane Beck has been selling real estate in Missoula for over 20 years.  Her knowledge, experience and commitment to the community has placed her in the forefront of the real estate market.  Diane is serving the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® as their 2011 President and she continues to strive for the best interests of their members, community and herclients.