An issue commonly faced by homeowners and renters is water damage from a leaking or broken pipe, and since plumbing takes place behind the scenes, it can be confusing for someone to deal with it if they have no prior knowledge. Fortunately, it’s not very difficult to spot the symptoms of a faulty pipe, but the damage could all come at once. If you see water damage on the walls or ceiling or notice the odor of sewage in your home, then it’s likely you have a broken (or soon to be broken pipe) and you should contact a professional immediately.
In the case of a water emergency, you’ll want to shut off the main-valve as soon as you notice a burst pipe, this will prevent any further damage. There should be two main-valves (if not more) located at your water-meter; once you’ve located these, you should turn them both off until you understand the location of the damaged pipe and the nature of the leak. (If you don’t know where your water-meter is, you should locate it before an issue like this occurs if possible.)
Once the potential of further damage has ceased, you should proceed to secure any valuable items and documents from harm’s way; if there is a pool of water, you should shut-off your electricity to avoid electrocution until you’re certain there is no risk, then find a method to drain the water out of your house (most easily with a water pump). Remove any rugs or items which may have gotten wet and vacuum the water out to prevent mold from growing (you may need to hire a carpet-cleaner).
When the urgent water damage has been dealt with, it’s time to hire a water damage specialist near you to repair the damage and clean any mold which has potentially grown in your home. What needs to be done is: cut out the drywall around the affected area, precisely locate the broken pipe, remove the pipe, clean the pipe (inside and out), solder on a copper repair-sleeve, ensure the leak has been repaired, then patch the wall. You can also skip cleaning the pipe and mounting a repair-sleeve by simply replacing the pipe.
In the case of a broken sewage pipe (accompanied by a disgusting odor), attempt to secure the leak by blocking both sides with a rag and duct-tape, then call a professional immediately (these leaks can release harmful chemicals into your home).
Repairing a broken pipe in your wall can be tricky and, if done improperly, can cause further damage to your home. Your best course of action is to personally deal with any urgent threats of water damage and call a professional plumber immediately. For additional help in the north bay, contact us for a qualified plumber.
Basement flooding, you never expect it and you can't really prepare for it. Unexpected issues happen all the time in homes, but a basement flood is not only unexpected, it can also be very dangerous.
Turn It Off
The absolute first thing that you need to do when your basement floods is to shut off any power and gas into the basement. The importance of this can not be stated strongly enough. If you do not know where your shutoffs are call an electrician before entering the basement.
Wear Protective Gear
Once you are sure the water is safe from electrical or gas dangers, you should still put on protective gear before entering the water. Wearing gloves and boots or waders is advised. The water you are walking in is likely going to be grey water but could easily be black water, depending on the source. Until you are sure what type of flooding you are dealing with, take all precautions.
If it something you can clean yourself, read our steps on this other post. If not, look to the next paragraph.
A professional team will arrive on scene and begin removing all standing water from your home. Any and all water damaged items and furniture will be removed and dried off entirely. If the basement is carpeted, it will likely need to be removed as it can prove difficult to dry and any moisture that it could hold can promote mold growth. Additionally any wet drywall will likely need to be replaced. Often with flooding, dirt will infiltrate the basement and any contaminated dirt will need to be removed from your basement and crawlspaces.
In any case of serious flooding we strongly suggest calling in a professional team of experts to restore your home to the its pre-flood condition of safety, comfort, and appearance. Time is not your friend in a flood situation and after the first 48 hours when the water becomes black, a whole host of mold and bacteria begin to settle on the flood site. If not properly cleaned, this can become issues that can hurt your family's health for years to come.
Some of you might be asking yourselves right now “What is Grey Water?” The answer to that question is any water from the overflow of household appliances like washers or dishwashers is considered to be grey water. Also, some flooding can be classified as grey water. Grey water is considered to be partially biologically contaminated waters. Given enough time grey water can become a much more dangerous black water if the appropriate action is not taken to clean it in time.
Grey water is also know as Sullage. Sullage is dangerous to individuals with weak immune systems. It is also not suggested anyone with asthma or allergies should not take part in the clean up of sullage. Sullage can be safely cleaned up by most adults, if you take the precautions to use rubber gloves and safety glasses. It is also a good idea to consider wearing long pants and long sleeved shirts as well as a mask when cleaning grey water. Avoid getting grey water on your skin to ensure you do not spread any microbes that may be in the water.
As mentioned earlier, time is of the essence when cleaning greywater. If grey water contamination is not cleaned up in the first 48 hours, it becomes black water. Black water cleaning is far more intensive and often requires the removal of anything that the water could soak into and form mold. Everything from carpets to drywall needs to be replaced in black water flooding. That is why it is essential to move with haste when you have grey water flooding and clean the affected area thoroughly.
With time working against you in situations of grey water flooding, it is always wise to consider calling in professional assistance. Never underestimate the task at hand as grey water cleaning is not just removing the water and mopping up. All fabrics need to be removed, cleaned thoroughly and dried out. If you have any doubt that you were able to completely clean any fabrics, it is strongly encouraged you just opt to throw them out.
In the days following cleanup, it is recommended to continue to keep an eye on the area. At any signs of mold or excess moisture, call professional assistance. Post-flooded areas that were not properly cleaned are perfect environments for bacteria and molds to colonize and grow.
Water damage to your home can have lasting consequences, especially if left untreated. Mold can grow, wood can weaken, and a nasty smell can linger. It is imperative to have a professional look at the problem so that the damage can be minimal, and you won’t have to spend double the money on repairs. A professional can tell you the procedure for how they will handle the water damage to ensure it is fixed properly. You will want to inform the professionals as soon as possible to avoid any further issues or complications. It is also important to hire a professional to see the damage so you can properly file a claim with the insurance company. The insurance company can be a hassle to work with, and hiring a professional will speed the process. Depending on the company and the size of the claim, they may assist you with the report to file with your insurance company, which will save you time.
One of the worst things that can happen when you have water damage is to have mold start to grow. Mold grows quickly and can cause a lot of health issues if left untreated, even with a small amount of moisture. Hiring a professional water damage company will give you the proper care to remove the mold. They will be able to determine if mold is growing and can stop it from reaching other parts of your house. Mold is an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. Without a professional water damage company, you may not realize where mold could potentially grow, leaving yourself open for a larger issue months down the road. Can you imagine repairing the water damage only to have everything need to be redone months later due to a mold issue?
If you need a professional water damage company, you will want to look at local businesses. They have knowledge of the area, local references, and can tell you what to expect. They have more to lose as well because they thrive on the local population for business. Most local companies will be striving for a good recommendation and will do their best for you. It is also a good idea to go local because a lot of them provide 24-hour services. It’s a benefit if you have major damage and need them to look at it right away. You can find a good local company through local reviews and business flyers.
When you hire a professional water damage company, they work quickly and efficiently to repair the damage. It’s hard to fix everything yourself, and the assistance you get from a professional service can save you a lot of time and money. The worst part of hiring a professional company is that you have to pay for the service, along with the cost of repairs. It is a lot of money to put up front, but it will benefit you in the long run. There have been too many horror stories of DIY repairs gone wrong and homes having to be remodeled because of the lasting effects of water damage. Don't take chances, hire a professional immediately.
There are many, many possibilities for water damage, but all of them reveal a destructive process that can result in rotting wood, mold growth, the rusting of steel, stripping laminated plywood, swelling and weakening of drywall, and the loss of family heirlooms.
You may believe that this type of damage may be indiscernibly slow, and that “a little water never hurt anything”, but it’s consistently one of the most major contributors to property damage.
The problem, besides the obvious damage to your stuff, is that your homeowner's insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage, or the process of water damage restoration. In times of crisis, only a water damage specialist can make sure the job is done right, so they can (hopefully) save you money and your precious personal property.
Here are six things they do to make your life better after water damage overtakes you and your home.
1. Mold Detection and Removal
Mold problems left untreated usually require a specialist. Not only can mold result in breathing problems, left untreated, mold can cause structural damage to your home. A specialist can assess the situation for you and effectively remove any mold or spores.
2. Water Removal
It goes without saying that the average homeowner isn’t equipped to pump out large bodies of water from their home. A specialist has the equipment needed to take care of the situation quickly, and help you avoid more structural damage that can occur.
3. Drying the Wet Stuff
Pumping out the water is only half the job. After a leak or major flooding, it’s necessary to dry affected areas to avoid warping of wood or the forming of mold. Again, your average homeowner may have towels lying around to make a dent, but most major water damage areas require high-powered drying fans to do it quickly and efficiently. Specialists have these available in times of need.
4. Deodorizing more than Febreze
Mold, wet drywall, or soaked carpet, smells sometimes permeate your house based on damage that has already occurred. A specialist can help you dispel the bad smells so you can stop loading up on candles.
Many specialists can help you restore your home beyond simply removing water and mold. Talk to your water damage specialist to see if they can also replace or reconstruct structurally damaged areas.
6. Sanitation and the Little Touches
Water damage specialists in Santa Rosa, CA go above and beyond when it comes to your needs. Not only can they clean up the big messes, they can often fix broken septic systems, dishwashers, or other plumbing issues.
A home is generally one of the single largest investments most people make. As such, it’s important that those investments are protected and cared for to the best of our abilities. That’s why you should understand how your home insurance policy in the case of water damage.
You see, home insurance matters in Santa Rosa, CA when it comes to water damage, because insurance companies judge your coverage on where the water comes from. Sound a little convoluted? Think of it like this: there’s a big difference between property damage that occurs from a broken pipe and one that comes from flood waters or natural disasters.
Insurance: What’s Covered?
The average water damage home insurance claim sits around $5,000, but can range widely up to $20,000 depending on the extent of the damage. That’s why it’s important to know what your insurance company will pay out when it comes to replacing your belongings and fixing your home.
A general home owner or rent’s policy covers water damage from rain and hail damage (that would cause a window to break), burst pipes, or leaks that happen in other areas of the house. That said, a standard policy usually doesn’t cover flood waters or sewer backups. Sometimes, even heavy rain qualifies as flood damage depending on where you live.
Because of these policies, it’s important to carry extra insurance if you happen to live in flood plains or low-lying areas. If possible, locate a flood or elevation map of your area to see if you run the risk of lack of coverage. It should be noted that it usually takes 30 days for flood insurance to go into effect, so don’t wait until something is coming before you’re covered. If you need assistance, you can get coverage through the federal government using the National Flood Insurance Program.
Cover Your Bases…and Uncover Your Downspouts
Flood waters, even if insured, are often unavoidable happenstances. Since you can’t control the weather, the best you can do is make sure your property is covered both by insurance, and by proper maintenance. Here are a few tips that you can employ to make sure your house is prepared when those waters starting rising.
Prepare a few sand bags and sumps in advance
Ensure your house has proper runoff locations
Clean gutters regularly and install gutter guardsInspect your roof for damages
Seal basements as best you can
Have a contingency plan for your family and valuables