Install water alert sensors in areas of your home susceptible to water damage. These areas include above ceiling trays, underneath washer and dryers and radiators.
Don't hang artwork where there is an obvious water stain on the wall or ceiling, and be aware of overhead pipe exposures.
It is essential to act quickly as secondary damage and bacterial growth can begin within just a few hours. If you have a leak, arrange for a reputable, registered plumber to visit as soon as possible. In the meantime, try to stem the flow or catch leaking water in a bucket.
- Carefully remove vulnerable or affected furniture and artworks to a dry location.
- Carefully blot wet artwork and open any drawers or doors, but do not attempt to un-frame any artwork.
- Mop and blot up water from floors.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to assist the drying process.
- Move small items into a controlled environment.
Dust items left indoors. A fine layer of salt will be deposited on works left indoors if they have been exposed to water. Dust these items with a soft cloth and wipe metal objects with a soft, lint-free cloth.
IF WATER HAS COME INTO CONTACT WITH YOUR ARTWORK - EMERGENCY TIPS
Immediately remove objects from the wall and place in safe dry area of your residence. TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING -- this is the most important procedure for insurance claims.
Works of art on paper may be extremely fragile when wet; use caution when handling. Free the edges of prints and paper objects in mats and frames, if possible. These should be allowed to air dry. Sodden books and papers should also be air-dried or kept in a refrigerator or freezer until they can be treated by a professional conservator.
Remove wet paintings from the frame, but not the stretcher bar. Air-dry, face up, away from direct sunlight.
Air-dry objects indoors, if possible. Sunlight and heat may dry certain materials too quickly, causing splits, warping, and buckling. If possible, remove contents from wet objects and furniture prior to drying. Storing damp items in sealed plastic bags will cause mold to develop. If objects are to be transported in plastic bags, keep bags open and air circulating.
The best way to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew is to reduce humidity. Increase airflow with fans, open windows, air conditioners, and dehumidifiers. Moderate light exposure (open shades) can also reduce mold and mildew.
If objects are broken or begin to fall apart, place all broken pieces, bits of veneer, and detached parts in clearly labeled, open containers. Do not attempt to repair objects until completely dry or, in the case of important materials, until you have consulted with a professional conservator.
These guidelines are general in nature. It is strongly recommended that professional conservators be consulted as to the appropriate method of treatment for fine art objects.