6 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage
Water has the potential to cause more damage to your home or business than you realize. In fact, even a small amount of water may cause a major issue over enough time. Whether you have a major leak or persistent drip that has lasted for weeks, here are 6 things you need to know about water damage. Plus, we cover how to clean up water damage too.
6 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage
1. It’s Easier to Prevent Water Damage than it is to Clean It Up
The most effective way to clean up water damage is to prevent it in the first place. Although you can’t guard against every cause of water damage, regular home maintenance will decrease the chances.
Visually inspect the plumbing in your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and basement at least once a quarter. Look for signs of leaky pipes, slow-moving drains, and cracks in your foundation walls.
Take a look at the outside of your home for signs of trouble too. Check that gutters and downspouts are flowing properly and are not clogged with leaves or other debris. Make sure that landscaping allows water to flow away from your foundation.
While it’s common nature to ignore small issues, the longer you wait to address a water problem, the greater the chance of water damage. Make repairs as necessary and replace items like your hot water tank and HVAC system before they fail.
2. Clean Up Water Damage as Soon as Possible
Even with regular maintenance, it’s still possible to have a water event. Whether it’s a sewage backup, a broken supply line, or another water issue, the key to limiting damage is to begin cleanup as quickly as possible.
If you plan to clean up water damage on your own, you need to stop the flow of water into your home. If the cause is plumbing related, you need to turn off your main water supply line. Your main water shutoff valve is usually located in the basement or crawlspace, but maybe in a utility closet or the laundry room.
Once you turned off the water or if groundwater or sewage is involved, begin removing as much standing water as possible. Remove personal items and allow them to dry in a clean space. Then use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry out the air as quickly as possible.
If you are calling a water damage restoration company, you will still want to shut off the main water supply line to prevent further damage. While you wait for them to arrive, clear a path so they can bring in hoses and equipment. You should also secure pets and young children to prevent them from getting in the way.
3. Mold Can Grow in as Little as 24-Hours
Mold needs a cellulose-based material and a source of moisture to grow. Most building materials and possessions meet the requirement for cellulose. After a water event, mold can grow on walls, wood, boxes, paper, and most other surfaces in as little as 24-hours.
The sooner you extract the water and begin drying out water-damaged items, the lower the chances for a mold problem. If mold does develop, you may need to replace certain materials. Mold is extremely difficult to remove from porous materials like drywall, particle board, and paper goods.
4. Insurance Doesn’t Cover All Types of Water Damage
Insurance companies will cover quite a few things, but it’s important to know what types of water damage they will not cover. Most importantly, they will not cover any damage caused by groundwater. This includes rain or snow that touched the ground before causing the damage.
The biggest exclusions in insurance coverage are floods, sewage backups caused by floods or storms, and hurricanes. Depending on where you live, you may be eligible for additional insurance to cover hurricanes or floods. Unfortunately, the cost for hurricane and flood insurance is usually prohibitively expensive.
Your insurance company will also likely deny your claim if there is clear negligence. This includes failing to repair previous damage or take steps to prevent damage in the future. Make sure to regularly inspect your property and make repairs when necessary. Avoid delays in making repairs to major items like roofing, siding, windows, and doors.
5. Small Leaks Can Cause Major Damage
It’s common nature to assume a small problem is just that, small. Unfortunately, water is a great solvent. From drywall to wooden support beams, even a small amount of water can weaken or even destroy almost any material with enough time.
While you should fix any leak, a leaky roof is especially problematic. Many roof leaks start in the winter, as water pools along the roof edge. As it freezes and thaws, it can work it’s way underneath roofing shingles into the roof decking.
Once there is a pathway, water can get in at any time. Even if only a small amount of water enters at a time, it can slowly weaken structural beams and cause materials to deteriorate.
6. It’s Harder to Sell Your Home After Water Damage
Unfortunately, selling your home can be more difficult if you’ve had water damage. Buyers are likely to ask tough questions about your home and your agent is obligated to be honest. In order to get the highest bid possible, it’s important that you make the necessary repairs after a water event.
Be honest about the issue and explain what steps you took to repair the damage and prevent further damage in the future. Obviously, some types of water damage are beyond your control, but you should still make an effort to resolve water issues whenever possible.
Avoid making cosmetic repairs to cover up a water issue, as it’s likely the buyer’s agent or the home inspector will spot it right away. If you choose not to make repairs, you will likely get lower offers from potential buyers.
Professional Water Damage Restoration
If you need professional water damage restoration services, Restoration Local is here to help. With our network of local contractors, you can find a qualified water restoration company in your neighborhood.
We also have on-call contractors available to assist after any water event. Call 1-888-443-3110 to speak to a local water restoration company. They always offer 24-hour emergency services, 30-minute response time, and a free estimate.