Dealing with damage caused by a leaking pipe or flood can be a major headache. However, sometimes the best thing you can do is dive right in and start working on the problem. The longer you sit back and try to formulate the perfect plan, the damages become worse and you begin to feel frustrated.

It's critical that you get the water out of your house as quickly as possible. If you don't you'll be dealing with a whole new set of problems: mold caused by water damage.

Obviously, the deeper the water the more difficult the job will be. One thing to keep in mind is that if you're dealing with a flood in your basement caused by groundwater or floodwater seepage, you don't want to pump the water out too quickly. This may create a cave-in caused by an uneven balance of water pressure on the walls of your home. If you think a flood is stressful, try repairing that!

While you may be eager to get started, the first you should do is check whether or not standing water is above electrical cords or outlets. If so, you need to stay out of the water until electricity has been shut off to the circuits in the area. However, this can sometimes present a challenge because most electrical circuits are located in the basement. Don't put yourself in harms way if you can't reach the circuit box. Simply call your power company and ask them to cut off the main line to your house. Once they do so you can get to the circuit box and turn off the appropriate switches. You can then have powered restored to the rest of your home so you can run the equipment you need to start cleaning up. If for some reason you don't have any electricity going into your home you'll probably need to run a generator.

God forbid, if you need to deal with sewage or septic back-up be sure to wear protective gloves. When it comes to such things it's always best to err on the side of caution. You just don't know what kind of nasties might be out there. If you have any cuts or scrapes be extra careful that they don't come into contact with any contaminated materials.

At some point you might want to consider seeking the help of a company that specializes in water and flood damage restoration. Some things may be best left to professionals such as structural repairs including damaged ceilings, walls, and floors, cleaning furniture and carpets, and restoring fragile and/or valuable items (antiques, documents, artwork, books, etc.) to their previous condition.

A lot of people end up doing the first level of cleanup and then hire experts to come in for the final attack. Sometimes the best way to save your sanity is to leave the big cleanup jobs to the pros so you can concentrate on taking care of your family and sort through what personal belongings may be worth keeping.