After a large flood or leaking roof, water damage can leave an unsightly mess in your house. Not only does the damage make your home appear unappealing, but it could also lead to health issues.

If a home inspection reveals the presence of mold, the indoor air quality in the house could be compromised. According to the CDC, the health effects that can result from the spores in the air vary among individuals and can include nasal congestion, skin irritation, wheezing, coughing and throat irritation. With these risks, you'll want to repair water damage in your home as soon as you notice it.

Here are some steps for making your house dry and clean:

Order a property inspection

You may not be aware of the extent of the water damage in your home. With flooding, you know when the water entered the house and have a good idea about what areas were affected. However, if your roof has been leaking during the winter due to ice dams in gutters, the issue could have existed for some time without your knowledge.

With floods, some water can still be left behind walls after the they has receded. Bacteria can begin growing and expanding to the drywall, plaster and even clothing in the house in a short time unbeknownst to your family.

After you notice or suspect water damage, schedule a house inspection. Not only will home inspection services give you a detailed account of the damage, but they will also recommend next steps for cleanup. For minor repairs, you can take on the task yourself. For more serious cases, on the other hand, you may need to call in professional help, especially if mold is found. The home inspector's report will be useful for interviewing contractors you're considering the job and comparing prices.

Dry out your home

If you're dealing with water damage that isn't too severe, you can get started on the cleanup with the following tasks:

  • Dehumidify the house. Portable dehumidifiers are good for removing moisture from the air before it can seep in the walls.
  • Turn on fans. Not only can fans be used to dry surfaces, but they are also helpful for air circulation in your home to keep the moisture from settling.
  • Open the windows. Again, circulating air is a key step, and opening your windows also help the air move freely.
  • Remove mold. If you there is a minor amount of mold, remove it immediately. In addition to the aforementioned health effects, mold can produce a musty odor. You can use household cleaners or a mixture of bleach and water.
  • Call in the professionals. For extensive water damage, contact restoration specialists. They understand the science behind bacteria growth and moisture buildup, which means they know the best way to handle these issues. They'll tackle the challenges of saturated drywall, standing water and mold to keep your home dry. These experts are armed with numerous dehumidifiers, air purifiers, fans and other special tools to remove moisture in a short amount of time.

Signs you need professional help

For serious water damage issues, don't delay to call the experts. Speed is key if you want to prevent more extensive and secondary damage. Drywall, for instance, can be saved if it is dried quickly. However, if it sits in water for some time, drywall can become heavy, sag and bulge. At this point, a replacement will be necessary. Ceiling drywall can eventually fall through, damaging any furniture or structures that are beneath affected areas.