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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Don't Use Your Vacuum to Extract Water!

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

We’re not exactly sure where this misconception came from, but we hear it all the time. People seem to think that, when they have a water intrusion in their home, it’s a good idea to break out their regular, residential vacuum cleaner and try to suck up some of the water before we arrive.

Don’t get us wrong: anything that you can do as a homeowner to safely extract water and mitigate damages before a certified restoration technician arrives is incredibly helpful. It’s the best way to minimize primary damage from the water and speed up the drying process. Extraction, after all, is 1,200 times more effective than evaporation when it comes to dealing with water damage.

The key word, however, is safely. Using a regular residential vacuum cleaner to suck up water is just plain unsafe, as well as ineffective.

Think, for a second, about your vacuum cleaner functions. Most modern vacuum cleaners either have bags in which debris collects, or they have reusable plastic compartments which can be emptied once the job is done.

Even if you manage to effectively vacuum up some of the water on the ground, neither of these collection systems is designed for water. They’re not watertight, which means they’re likely to leak some or all of the water that you’ve sucked up.

That leak makes this situation very dangerous. You already should know that water and electricity don’t mix – yet if water leaks into the components of your vacuum cleaner, including the motor, that’s exactly what will happen.

The consequences can vary. Your vacuum may break down and become ineffective. It also stands a chance of electrocuting you. Neither option is very attractive.

So take it from us – don’t use your regular household vacuum on water. If you have a wet-dry vac that is specifically made for collecting water, then you may be able to use that to extract some water.

Past that, we recommend trying to soak up the water with a mop, towels or anything else absorbent. If you can’t soak it all up, you can still set towels down to impede water migration. Some homeowners have saved themselves thousands of dollars simply by setting towels down along the base of their walls so that water could not wick up into the wall chambers.

Again, the key word is safety – don’t do anything that might put you in harm’s way. The best thing you can do is call a professional restoration team like SERVPRO of The Southtowns when you need us – we’re here to help.

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