When the Levee Breaks
by Alan Noel
Seems Ol' Man Winter took his time getting started this season. Now that he has cooled things off, it's that time of year when those unwrapped pipes burst on us unsuspecting souls when we are away from home or snoring away. Or to make things even worse, you could get caught in the middle of a storm with the power interrupted, with broken water pipes, a flooded finished basement or water flowing from the ceiling, with no way to get the water out unless you have a generator to power up a wet/dry vacuum or a pump.
So, what do you do in case of an emergency? Here are a few tips on how to help limit the amount of damage to your furniture, should you suddenly find yourself surrounded by water:
- Get as much as you can out of harm's way.
- Remove pictures, any linens and any other objects from the tops of pieces and shelves.
- If water is coming from above, never cover wet pieces with blankets. This will force any moisture present INTO the finish and will cause even more damage.
- Case goods that are up on legs are easiest to repair.
- Stack pieces from heaviest to lightest onto one another if necessary.
- Remove all drawers as soon as possible. These, along with the case, rails and styles will swell and may be impossible to remove later.
- Dry off as much as you can as fast as possible.
- Once power is restored, turn on floor and ceiling fans. Good air circulation will speed drying.
- When inspecting pieces for damage, be sure to look inside of case goods and not just the outside. Especially examine the interior of chests and their drawers as well as any other enclosed areas for mold or mildew.
- If your piece is particularly valuable or the damage is severe, you may want to consult a furniture restoration specialist before attempting cleaning or other repairs.