Archived Water Damage Blog Posts
Signs That You May Have Storm Damage to Your Home
Sustaining storm damage to your home is never a fun experience. While some damages are certainly more severe than others, whatever the issue is, you will want to have it quickly addressed in order to avoid the issue compounding and creating more damages down the road.
Unfortunately, many damages can be invisible until they become severe, even with performing storm inspections after each one moves through. Fortunately, there are still some signs that damage may present, and if you know what to look for, you can often catch them much more quickly.
What to Look for That May Indicate Household Storm Damage
A damp, musty smell. If water damage is seeping into your house somewhere, you will often notice a damp or musty smell in the area where it is present. This is extremely common in basements or attics that may have leaks around their perimeter that have yet to be noticed, so if things start to feel damp in any of your rooms, you may want to look more closely.
Warping wood around windows or doors. If there are issues with the weatherproofing seals around your windows and doors, water may be seeping in from the outside but not showing up on the inside of the home. However, if you notice the windowsills or door frames becoming warped, swollen or otherwise misshapen, this can be a sign that there is water leaking in somewhere that should be addressed.
Damage to your ceiling in the home. If you do not have attic access, it can be difficult to do a full inspection of your roof after every storm, as checking the attic is always recommended. However, if you notice dark or sagging spots on the ceiling below the attic, this is a good sign that you might have roof damage that has led to a leak.
Peeling paint. Moisture damage will manifest in a number of ways, and peeling paint is one of them. Paint will begin to peel due to moisture and humidity, especially around where the ceiling meets the wall.
If you suspect storm damage in your home, we can come check it out and help you get to the bottom of it. You can call us any time to receive quick service from our expert technicians—get in touch today to learn more.
How to Buy a House With Water Damage
When planning to buy a house with water damage, it is important for you to be able to determine the extremity of the damage before closing the deal. This is especially true if the house is likely to experience future problems as a result of the water damage. To buy a house with water damage, you should first work with an inspector to have the water damage assessed, then work with a contractor to determine the costs for the water damage repairs. You can then submit a bid to the seller that considers the repair costs for correcting the water damage. Ask the right questions. When considering buying a house with water damage, there are some questions you should ask going in. Ask the following questions when talking to the seller about the home:
- Is the water damage from flooding?
- How long was the water been sitting in the home? How much damage was done, what kind, and how was it fixed?
- Was the home stripped down or were walls simply washed or bleached?
- Has the wiring been checked for salt infiltration? Have the wires been examined for rot?
Have the home inspected. Once you've asked preliminary questions, it's important to have the home inspected. Even if repairs were attempted, there may be underlying damage that went unnoticed.
- Hire a reputable home inspector in the area. Have the home carefully inspected for any existing damage.
- As water damaged homes may have a lot of issues, it might not be a bad idea to conduct more than one inspection just to be sure you've gotten the full sense of the damage.
Determine how to handle mold. While a good house inspector can assess for a lot of damage, mold is not easily detectable. You will need to have a second inspector come in and specifically check for mold.
- Mold is a scary problem as it can cause health effects. Have a mold inspection conducted before making any offers on the house.
- Go for an industrial hygienist over a run-of-the-mill mold inspector. A more thorough examination will be conducted.
After purchasing the home.
Obtain flood insurance. As the home was water damaged once, it's likely in a region where it's susceptible to water damage. It's vital to get flood insurance if you’re planning on buying a water damaged home.
- Ask the agent you're working with for a list of insurance agencies that provide flood insurance. Look at their reviews online and reach out to past clients. You can also ask for recommendations from other homeowners in the area who likely have flood insurance.
- Determine about how much insurance companies cover in the event of a flood. If coverage is minimal, the house may not be a wise investment.
Call SERVPRO of Douglasville and get an estimated cost of repairs. You need to determine how much repairs will cost. This is a major factor of whether or not you can afford a flood damaged home.
- SERVPRO will assess the damages on the home and provide several reports. These reports will overview the various types of necessary repairs and include an estimated cost.
What to consider when buying a home with mold.
Everyone responds to mold differently. There is a spectrum between those people who are very sensitive to mold vs. others who are not and those in between. The highest risk populations to mold exposure include infants and children, pregnant women, the elderly, people who are already sick or have existing health conditions and those who have respirator conditions like asthma. If a mold problem is fixed properly, you can rest easy. It is not going to suddenly come back without warning in 5 years … Unless: the water problem is not fixed. In other words, the cause of all mold problems is: WATER! The presence of mold indicates a water problem. If the mold is properly removed, but the water problem remains unfixed, it is likely that the mold problem will return.
Mold Is Discovered During a Home Inspection. What Is Going To Cost To Fix?
If mold is uncovered during a real estate transaction, how much is it going to cost to fix it? The answer depends on several factors discussed below. But in some cases, believe it or not, you or someone else might be able to remove the mold yourself without seeking professional help.
Whether or not you can fix the mold problem yourself is based on several factors:
- Size of contamination area. According to the EPA, if the mold area is less than about 10 square feet it may be manageable without professional help. This is not a hard and fast rule but just a general guideline and other factors such as the extent of the water damage overall need to be considered.
- How handy the individual is. You should be comfortable and experienced with doing house hold repairs because even many minor mold jobs (less than 10 sq feet), usually involve using tools, taking down drywall, etc.
- Susceptibility to mold health effects. People who are sensitive to mold or who fall into the high risk group above (Pregnant women, the elderly, etc) should not be around mold and should leave the removal to professionals.
- Location of the mold. Confined spaces like crawl spaces and attics often have mold. Due to the tight space, reduced ventilation and higher risk of injury it is recommended to seek professional services for mold removal in these areas.
Buyers and Sellers, take note: Attics and crawlspaces are without a doubt the two most likely places that a home inspector is going to find mold. This discovery often catches buyers and sellers by surprise because neither probably looked in these spaces beforehand. Our advice to sellers is for you or someone else to take a quick look at your attic or crawlspace before you put your home in the market to check for mold. If mold is discovered, much better to fix it before you list your property.
If mold is discovered during a real estate transaction and the parties decide to hire a professional to fix it, how much is it going to cost? The answer: anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand or more. It just depends on the extent of the mold problem and how much work is going to be needed. But based on our experience, most mold problems in real estate transactions are usually on the smaller size and cost far less than most sellers and buyers would assume.
What Goes Into Water Restoration?
Restoring your home to liveable, pre-damage conditions involves water removal, decontamination, and drying.
In cases of water damage it always important to act fast.
Standing water and moisture create the perfect environment for bacteria and mold. Prolonged exposure to an environment like this can lead to allergic reactions and even disease.
Parts of a water-damaged home may need to be rebuilt. Materials like drywall and carpet that have absorbed water often develop bacteria and mold that can’t be removed. Replacing these materials is safer than allowing infectious organisms to saturate the air.
Materials that may need to be replaced include:
- Heating and air conditioning systems
The Water Restoration Process
Repairing a water-damaged home involves a process starting with a thorough inspection of the damage to the replacement of flooring, walls, and ceilings.
Step 1: Inspection – A professional can best assess the extent of water damage in your home. Each inspection determines a class and category of water damage. Defining the class and category of water damage helps outline the best means to restore your property.
Classes of Water Damage
- Class 1damage involves part of a room that has absorbed little moisture. It’s the least level of damage.
- Class 2damage has affected an entire room and has absorbed into carpeting and walls.
- Class 3damage has absorbed up into the walls, saturated most of the area, and may have come through the ceiling. Class 3 damage is considered the worst.
- Class 4damage requires specialty drying due to damage done to materials such as hardwood, stone, and concrete.
Categories of Water Damage
- Category 1involves damage from a clean water source such as toilet tanks, broken pipes supplying clean water. Category 1 water damage can degrade into Category 2 or 3 if it sits too long.
- Category 2involves damage from “grey water,” such as washing machine or dishwasher water containing detergents. It may also involve water containing urine from toilet overflows.
- Category 3involves completely unsanitary water that can easily cause illness, disease, or death. Category 3 water comes from sewage, river flooding, and standing water that has begun growing bacteria and other microbes.
Step 2: Water Removal – Pumps and vacuums are used to remove water from your home. The type of equipment needed depends on the extent of the water damage. Water removal begins as soon as possible to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
Step 3: Drying – After all standing water and absorbent surfaces are vacuumed, drying and dehumidification begins. This step is important to clear up any remaining moisture after water removal. The drying out process can take several weeks to fully complete.
Step 4: Cleaning – All personal belongings need to be cleaned and sanitized to prevent unwanted mold and bacterial growth. Carpeting, clothing, and drapery are given antimicrobial treatments. Air scrubbers may also be used to remove particles and moisture from the air.
Step 5: Restoration – The biggest step in the process is restoration. Restoration involves replacing materials like drywall and insulation. Sometimes this process is as simple as installing a few panels of drywall, while serious cases could require replacing entire walls. Exposure to toxic substances like lead and asbestos is possible during restoration. Older homes are likely to contain these substances.
In the event of unknown water damage, many homeowners aren’t able to prevent mold growth. A tiny leak in the roof or pipes can persist for months before you notice it. In a situation like this, the restoration process takes even longer.
Whether your home has been flooded by broken pipes or a leaky roof, it’s important to remove all contaminated and wet materials in your home as soon as possible. Call SERVPRO immediately, we can arrive in 2 hours & get your life back to normal.
5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage
5 Things You Need to Know About Water Damage
When water damage strikes, let SERVPRO of Douglasville set your mind at ease. When you call SERVPRO you can expect a timely response. It's important to get a fast start on your water problems. Depending on the water type, the damage can be much more existent than just what appears on the surface.
Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.
- There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.
You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.
- Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.
It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.
- Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.
When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health effects associated with mold in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.
There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.
To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.
- Your insurance company needs to know right away.
It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.
Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. You may choose any reputable restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim.
- The pollution level of the water is important.
Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.
Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.
Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,
Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.
Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.
More contamination can mean that the SERVPRO restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.
When Water Damage Strikes
The first 24 hours following a water loss are the most important in preventing secondary or permanent damage. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will be on-site to help ensure a water damage is handled by completing the following steps.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville will inspect affected areas to determine the extent of water damage and will review the inspection with you to answer any questions before beginning any work.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville will take steps to help protect your home or business, as well as personal belongings and other contents, from further damage by extracting the excess water and preparing the area for drying. They will explain the needed emergency services to you step-by-step.
To help ensure your home or business and belongings are dried to appropriate industry standards, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will monitor the drying process. The updates will be consistently communicated to you.
SERVPRO® of Douglasville's team of professionals will repair structural materials, reinstall carpets, and clean affected areas of your property and belongings. A final walk-through of the job-site will be conducted with you to help ensure the property was returned to preloss condition.
EMERGENCY WATER DAMAGE TIPS
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Place aluminium foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents, and other sensitive valuables to a dry place.
- Don’t enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers, or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
- Don’t use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water; this could cause electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
For more information on recovering from water damage, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville today - 770-489-5659.
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Sources of External Water Damage
There are many ways that water can infiltrate your home, often when you least expect it. It will destroy everything in its path and take over your entire world. In addition to increased stress levels, unexpected water damage can cause displacement for you and your family. Only a certified and insured restoration company should be trusted to mitigate the damage to your home. SERVPRO of Douglasville is your local resource to get your home back in working order.
Water damage can occur from both interior and exterior sources. Below are some ways you can help prevent water damage inside your home that comes from outside sources.
- Ensure that shingles, flashings or tiles on your roof aren’t missing, broken, cracked, curled or damaged in other ways.
- Cut tree limbs that hang above your roof so they don’t cling to shingles and trap moisture.
- Make sure the vents, flues, chimneys, air conditioners, and evaporative coolers are properly installed and in good shape.
- Check for leaks around rooftop air-conditioning units, vents for exhaust or plumbing, or other specialized equipment.
Gutters and Downspouts
- Clear gutters and downspouts from leaves, twigs, and other debris. Also check that they are in good condition so that water can flow freely. You can do this by installing metal screens to help prevent clogging.
- Ensure downspouts direct water at least five feet away from your home’s foundation. This helps direct water away from the foundation. Downspout extensions can be added if needed.
Doors and Windows
- Install window well covers to help prevent water and debris from getting trapped and causing water to eventually seep into your basement.
- Check for leaks near the corners of your doors and windows. Signs of leaks include peeling paint, paint discoloration or swollen frames.
- Installing overhangs or awnings above exterior doors and windows protects them from the sun, rain, and snow.
- Check for a tight fit on closed doors and windows. Any cracks between the sash and frame Close your doors and windows to check for a tight fit. Repair or replace damaged flashing or weather-stripping.
- Check for and repair cracked or broken siding boards, bricks, stone or another masonry, and structural sheathing.
- Remove any shrubs and other landscaping features from along the walls, and avoid directing water towards the house when irrigating the garden and plants to prevent excessive water near the foundation.
- Seal any openings from wiring, plumbing, phone, cable, and heating and air conditioning lines with foam or caulk. Repair any damaged or unpainted wood surrounding these openings.
- Termites can eat wood, plaster, and even metal siding causing holes and compromising structural integrity. Check for signs of termite activity on the walls and the wooden structures around your foundation.
- Ensure that the exhaust vent doors properly open and close.
Following these steps can help protect your home from exterior water damage. If water does happen to sneak into your home, make sure to have SERVPRO of Douglasville on speed dial. We’ll be there to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Do You Know What To Do When a Flood Happens
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river, or even in the desert—there is always potential for flood damage. Fema.gov reports in the last 5 years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. Just because you haven’t experienced a flood in the past does not mean you won’t in the future. In fact, nearly 20% of all flood insurance claims come from moderate-to-low risk areas, and even just one inch of flood damage in an average home can cost you up to $27,000.*
According to the American Red Cross, floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather related disaster. The American Red Cross offers the following flood safety tips.
- Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off of your feet.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
- Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water.
If a flood does strike your home or business, contact SERVPRO® of Douglasville at 770-489-5659. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure when not treated quickly and properly, and the cleanup is often an overwhelming task. The SERVPRO® System is prepared to handle any sized disaster. When fire and water take control of your life, SERVPRO® of Douglasville will help you take it back.
*Facts and figures provided by fema.gov
**Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Iss 3
Flooding Can Happen Anywhere
According to the National Weather Service (NOAA), “Approximately seventy-five percent of all Presidential disaster declarations are associated with flooding.” NOAA lists the most common flood hazards in the United States as:
- Flash Flooding
- River Flooding
- Storm Surge and Coastal Inundation from Tropical and Non-Tropical Systems
- Burn Scars/Debris Flows (Caused by Wildfires)
- Ice/Debris Jams
- Dry Wash (Caused by heavy rainfall in dry areas)
- Dam Breaks/Levee Failure
Just because you haven’t experienced a flood doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. In fact, 20% of all claims paid by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) were for policies in low-risk communities. On average, floods cost $3.5 billion in annual losses in the U.S., and commercial flood claims average more than $75,000 (NFIP).
When catastrophic water damage happens to you, SERVPRO® of Douglasville can help. They can help you prepare ahead of time with an Emergency Ready Profile® (ERP), or respond to any size disaster to begin cleanup and restoration to get you back in business as soon as possible. SERVPRO® of Douglasville is ready to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
*Courtesy of Restoration Newsline Vol 30, Iss 3