A roof leak, a flooded basement, or a burst pipe are common reasons to call a plumber or roofer, but you also need to get an electrician on the phone. That roof leak may have compromised the electrical systems that power overhead lights and fans, while water damage in the walls or basement may have destroyed the power to all the outlets.
Safety Comes First
If you discover a water leak, your electrical systems are the most dangerous. Your first steps for dealing with the leak should be:
Turn off power to the section of the house that is suffering water damage. If it's a whole house problem, such as major flooding, turn off the entire circuit.
Stop the water flow, if possible. For broken pipes, turn off the water at the main valve. For a leaking roof, you may need to tarp it temporarily or at least set up buckets to catch the drips.
Although you can shut off the water before attending to electrical issues, only do so if you can access the shut-off valve without walking through any standing water. Sharing a puddle with a wet outlet or appliance could result in a painful, or deadly, shock.
Repair and Cleanup
After addressing the water and the electricity, you can begin the process of clean up and repairs. You will need to:
Unplug any appliances – after the electricity is turned off. Move them to a dry area.
Remove furniture, boxes and clothing from the wet area. Spread everything out to dry to cut down on damage and mildew issues.
Call a plumber or roofer and schedule a repair. The sooner the better, so you can begin more detailed cleanup.
Make sure the area is completely dry. Use fans and dehumidifier to help dry out excess moisture in carpets and walls. You can also use a water extractor to suck the water out of the carpet. Remember, at this point you shouldn't turn the power back on. Use extension cords to power any drying tools, and make sure the cords do not run through puddles or wet areas.
Call in an electrician. They will inspect your electrical systems and make sure everything is safe to turn back on. If repairs are necessary, have these completed before attempting to restore power.
Make sure that the repairmen you hire to fix the water damage and electrical systems are licensed and insured. Water and electricity don't mix, so quick action and prompt repairs can keep you and your home safe. For more information, contact a company like Advantage Electric.