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Water Damage

Water damage is a problem that most property owners dread. When it rains heavily or snow melts quickly, the risk of this type of damage increases. Water can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage by damaging wood furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. Water damage also increases the risk of mold growth, which is a very expensive problem to fix. Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.

There are several possible causes of water damage. Leaky dishwashers, clogged toilets, broken pipes, broken dishwasher hoses, overflowing washing machines, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, and foundation cracks are just some of the possible causes of water damage in homes and businesses. Floods, heavy snow, and heavy rain are other possible causes of this type of damage and can lead to having water in basements. Too much water can lead to minor problems such as water in basement areas, or it can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses. Once a home or business sustains water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Starting water damage cleanup as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked furniture, carpets, rugs, clothing, and other items.

Assessing the severity of the damage is important for determining what is needed to start water damage repair and water removal. There are several different categories assigned to water damage. Category 1 refers to clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of damage include broken appliances or sink overflows. Category 2 water is also called gray water. This means that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness of ingested. This type of water contains microorganisms. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage may cause category 2 water damage. Category 3 water is known as black water. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of black water damage include sewage problems and contamination of standing water.

There are also several classes of water damage. The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options. Class 1 is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation. Class 2 has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage. Class 3 has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture. Class 4 requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete.

It is important to hire one of these water damage restoration companies as soon as possible after water damage occurs. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Mold exposure may aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Exposure may also increase the risk for respiratory diseases and other medical problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of water damage on everyone in a home or commercial space.

Why Are Some Water Damage Claims Not Covered?

Water damage comes from several sources and is classified inn different ways. It can also fall under different areas of coverage. For example, natural flooding is considered to be very different from standard water damage and is covered under separate policies. So why are certain water damage claims not covered or denied? We explore this today.

Gradual versus Sudden Damage

Homeowners insurance is meant to cover sudden unexpected damage to a home. The trouble with water damage is that it can hide for quite a long time before it becomes apparent. This leads to conflicts about whether or not the original cause of the damage was gradual or sudden.

For instance, discovering a crack in a foundation might be a cause for a claim. But if the crack wasn’t found and water seeps into the basement and causes damage that might not be covered because it was gradual. Another example is a slow faucet leak under a sink. If the cabinet floor underneath the sink gets damaged, that’s gradual.

Sudden damages can refer to a pip breaking in a freeze which leads to a huge flood. It could also a tree poking a hole into the roof of a home after falling and letting some storm water in. But these can also lead to secondary damage that doesn’t show up till much later, which can create conflicts with policyholders.

If the smashed roof was repaired, but soaked insulation wasn’t remedied, mold could develop and lead to another claim. A common example is a sudden failure of an appliance. A washer in a dishwasher might gradually fail, but once it does the damage can be sudden.

The policy will be the guide

The policy will be the guide about whether or not this secondary damage can be covered or not. For instance, some states require insurance companies to cover secondary mold damage due to a legitimate water damage claim. It’s up to adjusters to know the exceptions and to understand exactly what the policy covers.

Water damage versus Flooding

Most homeowners policies will cover sudden water damage except in one major case, flooding. Flooding is not covered by most homeowner’s policies. It requires separate flood insurance. In this case, how is flooding defined?

In the most general sense, once water from a natural source (e.g., a river or the sky) touches the ground, it is then considered flood water. Your insurance company may put in other restrictions, but this is the core difference. This is why storm water falling in from a hole in the roof is covered by some policies, but a swollen river washing away a porch is not. However, most homeowners are not conversant with this difference. It is common to say that a room is flooded when there is water all over the floor, and this can set off alarm bells for insurance adjusters.

The adjusters will have to get a clear idea of where the water came from and why before adjusting a claim. Too many simply hear the word flood and automatically deny it. As a homeowner, you need to make sure that you clarify the distinction in order to avoid being denied outright.

Judgement 

Deciding which category a claim falls into is tricky, but acquiring evidence is the same as any other claim. Ask for home maintenance records, photos, and descriptions of what the homeowner did before and after the incident.

Interview any professionals including water damage professionals who worked on the situation prior to your examination. Ask if any cleanup work was done and what preventative measures the policyholder took to prevent further damage. From there, it’s just a matter of using your expertise and the wording of the policy to know whether or not the claim is covered.

Why Professionals Are Needed During Water Damage Restoration...

Flood and water damage do more than just ruin a couple of things in your home or property. The worst part about the water damage is that there is something we can’t see at first, which is called secondary water damage. Secondary water damage goes together with infestation of potentially pathogenic microbes like mold, mildew and bacteria.

Typically, if your home is not dried out and ventilated properly within approximately 24 hours of a flood, secondary water damage may start to develop and will ultimately introduce molding and infestation. Mold is one of the top hazards encountered during flood and water damage restoration. Therefore, it is extremely important to note that areas that have been wet for more than 48 hours will start sprouting mold!

So avoiding further damage is a very good reason to call in professionals. A reputable company will be able to offer their services promptly to handle any problems your have.

Flood and water damage restoration can be very difficult work well beyond the scope of many home and property owners. The first thing should always be assessing the source of the water that caused the damage. Was it clean water from a busted pipe or a torrential downpour? Simply put, without the proper expertise and equipment to detect water damage and remove items affected by it, it is possible to make the damage to your home worse. It is therefore advisable to leave flood restoration to a professional.

Professionals can sufficiently and efficiently decide if anything on your property can be restored or should be replaced. Reputable water damage restoration companies have special drying techniques, which will save time and money for the insured and insurance company. You don’t want to end up with any type of secondary damage or mold that could be prevented by calling a professional right away. A professional will know when it is necessary to remove materials such as vinyl or laminate floors in order to dry sub floors. They have tools, such as moisture meters, that can detect exactly what’s been affected so that we can properly mitigate the loss.

Professionals take the risk for you so you don’t have to put your safety on the line. As a result, you stay out of harm’s way since flood waters are infamous for containing bacteria, pathogens, chemicals, debris, and other dirt.

Reputable companies always guarantee a total clean-up. Some homeowners often try to do the cleanup themselves and realize they overlooked something. Since most homeowners are less likely to have the appropriate tools or skills, it is easy to mess up. Such a mishap can end up being more expensive in the long run.

Anytime you experience a water damage, you should call a professional. The sooner you call, the more you can minimize damage. Even if the cause of the problem is still not fixed, the faster we can begin extracting water, you can lessen the chance of further damage. Often times an area can feel dry to the touch, but it is important to have a professional use a moisture meter to check for water behind cabinets, walls, etc.

What To Do After A Flood

Flooding is often unpredictable. Flood waters strike fast and often recede quite quickly as well. Flood water is one of the primary causes of water damage to a home. However, before you start dealing with that, it’s important to arm yourself with necessary knowledge about what to do after a flood.

When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can’t see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.

So today, we discuss tips from the National Weather Service concerning what should be done after flooding has receded.

Be Hungry For Information

  • Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes, a “boil water” order is put in place following a flood. So it is important to be aware if any such order is given out for your continued health.
  • Check with utility companies to find out when electricity or gas services may be restored.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety to avoid any incidents.

Avoid Flood Waters As Much As Possible

  • Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be debris under the water and the road surface may have been compromised.
  • If it is likely your home will flood, don’t wait to be ordered to leave; evacuate yourself! Make alternative plans for a place to stay. If you have pets, take them with you or make arrangements to board them at a facility well away from the flooding danger.

Keep Away From Disaster Areas

  • Do not visit disaster areas. Yes, even if your home is in one. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Pay attention to road closure or other cautionary signs put in place for your safety. If you’re worried about your home, your safety comes first–it can wait.

Get A Hold Of Family Members

  • Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Register with or search the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well listings.

Wait For An “All Clear” Signal From Authorities

  • Do not enter a flood damaged home or building until you’re given the all clear by authorities.
  • If you choose to enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can compromise the structural integrity and its foundation.
  • Make sure the electrical system has been turned off, otherwise contact the power company or a qualified electrician.
  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to discuss the damage done to your property.
  • If you have a home generator, be sure to follow proper safety procedures for use.

 

Saving Water Damaged Furniture

People tend to fill their homes with various things that bring them comfort. So it can be quite disheartening when water invades our homes. Whether it be from flooding, rain water, or a busted pipe, when water comes in it can wreak havoc on our belongings. When that happens, we’re left with the tricky task of discerning which water damaged furniture can still be saved.

Whenever you’re faced with this task, always base your decisions on: the extent of the damage, the cost of the item damaged, its sentimental worth, and how much it would cost to get restored professionally.

Wood

Wooden furniture can be salved pretty well. However, it will depend on how long its been soaked or submerged in water. Wood often expands when it’s saturated in liquid then shrinks when it dries. This can be pretty damaging for wooden closets or cabinets when the joints often don’t fit as well because of the warping or swelling.

When there isn’t as much warping, affected panels of wood can be replaced–you can choose to replace it or even just straighten it out. A common issue with wooden furniture that has been exposed to water is the buildup of moisture. This can eventually lead to mold or mildew growing, if it isn’t cleaned fast enough.

It is important to make sure that any wooden furniture is taken out and be allowed to air out. Never put it under the sun–this is a common misconception about what wood needs to dry. Exposing wet wood to sunlight or overly warm weather will warp the material and you may end up with wood that’s twisted or bent out of shape. When it’s done drying, treating it with disinfectant and cleaning solutions will help keep mold away.

Annoyingly, wood does not have to be fully exposed to water to develop damage. When wooden furniture is damp, it may develop little white spots on it. These white spots can be removed with a mixture of half a cup of ammonia and half a cup of water. Take a damp rag and dip it in the solution. Rub lightly against the wood grain. It is important that you wipe the areas dry immediately after application.

Fabrics and Plush

It can be quite disconcerting when plush material like the sofa cushion and throw pillows are subject to water damage. It goes double for fabrics like rugs and curtains.

The rule is that if it’s anything that’s absorbent and porous, it’s best to toss it if you’re not willing to have it sent out for professional deep cleaning. Rugs and carpets can be cleaned but it depends on the type of water its been exposed to. If it’s relatively clean water like water from pipes or a busted dishwasher, you can hang them out to dry.

If it’s been exposed to dirty water like sewer water or flood waters, it can be quite dangerous for your to clean that yourself. It’s best to send that out for professionals to work on or brace yourself and let it go.

Upholstery

If you’re truly attached to that couch or love seat, time is not your friend. Water damage upon upholstery only gets worse the longer the furniture is submerged or waterlogged.

It’s crucial to get started on its drying process as soon as you are able. If there’s extensive exposure to water, it’s time to get professionals involved in the piece’s restoration.