Property Water Damage Drying: Essential Do’s and Don’ts

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 21, 2024

Ruptured pipes leak through the walls and soak several rooms in the house. You mop up the water, but everything is still wet. A faulty sprinkler system sprays water all over the office. It soaks furniture, equipment and carpets.

After any type of water damage, drying things out is a critical step to recovery. How you handle it is just as important.

Water Damage Drying Do’s

When water damage affects your home or business, call your insurance company first. Your agent can recommend a restoration contractor who knows how to deal with water damage.

Once you’ve made the call and mopped up, start the drying process with these six steps.

1. Open Things Up


Get fresh air moving through damp areas by opening windows and doors. Even a small breeze helps dry out walls, floors and ceilings. Open closets, cabinets and drawers too.

Power Tip: Humidity impacts water damage drying time, so skip this first step if it’s damp outside.

2. Create Cross Ventilation

Run fans in opposite corners of water-damaged areas so that they create strong cross-currents. Speed up the process by renting large fans from your home improvement center.

Power Tip: If you suspect water damage affected your HVAC equipment, don’t run the system until it’s been inspected by a licensed technician.

3. Set Up a Dehumidifier

If you’re dealing with soaked drywall, add a dehumidifier to your drying equipment arsenal. Don’t let the drip pan fill up and overflow. If you’re dealing with extensive water damage, think about renting several large dehumidifiers.

4. Don’t Forget the Basement

basement flooded chicago home

Water damage upstairs can seep into your basement. Check downstairs for signs of dampness. Dry concrete floors as quickly as possible. Otherwise, they set the stage for unhealthy mold growth.

5. Take Care of Carpets

Damp carpets spread damage to baseboards and subfloorings. They breed mold too. Give wet carpets an initial cleaning to prevent fungal growth. Finish up with a heavy-duty wet vac.

Power Tip: Don’t ever use a regular vacuum cleaner on wet carpets or rugs.

6. Set Things Outside

If the weather cooperates, move wet furniture and belongings outside. Fresh air speeds up the drying process. Sunshine helps discourage mold growth in wood and fabrics.

Power Tip: Postpone throwing away damaged items until after the insurance adjuster makes an inspection.

Water Damage Drying Don’ts

Don’t let your best cleanup intentions put you in a dangerous position. The aftermath of water damage can pose serious risks to your health and safety. Pay attention to these potential hazards.

1. Don’t Attempt Deep Water Removal

If you’re dealing with an inch or more of standing water, let professionals clean it up. Certified technicians work with heavy-duty water removal equipment that minimizes water damage inside walls and down in subflooring.

2. Don’t Try to Fix Soggy Ceilings

Sags and bulges in wet ceilings may be holding back gallons water. Buckling might be the result of serious structural damage. Soggy ceilings can suddenly collapse, so don’t try to fix this problem yourself. Leave the work to restoration pros who handle the drying process and structural repairs.

3. Don’t Risk Electrocution

Water damage can compromise the electrical system in residential and commercial properties. If water levels reach outlets or you suspect a system compromise, bring in a licensed electrician to make an assessment and repairs.

4. Don’t Try to Clean Up Sewage Water

Don’t try to clean or dry out water damage caused by a sewage backup. Category 3 water is highly contaminated with dangerous pathogens. Stay out of affected areas until all surfaces and materials have been cleaned, sanitized and dried by certified restoration technicians.

How Professionals Tackle Water Damage Drying

The materials in most homes and businesses quickly absorb excess water. Drywall wicks up moisture, standing water migrates to subflooring, and water damage can affect wall studs and ceiling joists.

bathroom water damage tech

A restoration contractor maximizes the structural drying process using specialized water damage drying equipment.

High-speed air movers and drying fans
• Industrial-grade dehumidifiers
• Wall and ceiling drying units
• Floor and cavity drying equipment
• Hardwood floor drying systems

If water damage isn’t widespread, you can probably handle the drying process yourself. Always keep in mind the potential risks to your property and your personal safety.

Don’t Take Any Chances

We know how quickly a small job can turn into a big project. If you’re facing water damage cleanup and drying in the Chicago Illinois area, we’re always here. Don’t take any chances.

You can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for expert water damage restoration, and we help with insurance claims too. Just give us a call at 773-647-1985.