Recent Water Damage Posts
Where to Look for Water Damage
Water damage can come from many different places and is not just a problem for people living on the coast. While the damage from a flood is pretty apparent, there are many ways water damage can happen to your home when you don’t even realize it.
Here are some common causes of water damage and how you can spot the warning signs.
Weather is a common cause of water damage. Rains cause flooding that can get into your home. Even if it isn’t raining or snowing there is still moisture in the air. Damp air can lead to condensation and water damage to your walls. This is especially true of basements, bathrooms, and other damp areas of your home that don’t get much airflow.
Appliances like your washing machine, garbage disposal, water heater, toilet, and air conditioner can all contribute to water damage if they leak or stop draining properly.
Water from our pipes and plumbing systems can also cause water damage. Leaks and drips can go on for months, or even years, raising your water bill and doing unseen damage to your home.
So if these are all the ways water can sneak into your home, what are the signs of water damage?
Here are a few warning signs that you have a water damage problem in your home.
Standing water – This may sound pretty obvious, but if you notice water pooling in your house you have a water problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.
Bad smells – While water doesn’t normally have much of a smell, the mold and bacteria that grow in damp environments can give off a distinct musty, wet odor. If you smell mold or mildew you might have a water issue.
Stains and spots – Stains on the ceilings or walls can be a sign of water damage. You might have a leaky pipe or roof. Call a professional to determine the cause of the problem and to clean up the damage before it becomes a serious mold problem.
Peeling paint – Paint damaged by water will start to peel, bubble, or flake off.
Uneven surfaces – Water damage can cause floors, ceilings, walls, and other surfaces to warp and feel uneven.
Cracks – Water is always seeking the path of least resistance out of your home. Water can enter through cracks and once water finds its way in, the crack will expand allowing even more to get into your home. Make sure you seal all visible cracks on your property.
Preventing Water Damage in a Commercial Building
According to disaster safety.org, here are some items to keep in mind to prevent water damage in a commercial building. When looking at your property, keep in mind that it isn't always the obvious that causes water damage.
Grounds maintenance and landscaping are major components of the interconnected systems that work together to protect a commercial building from water damage. In sometimes unexpected ways these outdoor activities and elements can have sudden and extreme impact on the building itself.
The Building Envelope
All buildings are different, but each is at risk for water damage. From a minor roof leak to violently destructive hurricanes, any unwanted water intrusion can significantly impact the value of a commercial property. Protecting the roofs, walls, windows, and other components of ‘the envelope’ are essential to reduce the likelihood of water damage.
Proper operation and maintenance of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system is essential to reduce the risk of water damage to a commercial building.
SERVPRO of South Albany County is IICRC trained and certified to clean up after all types of water damage. The quicker we get in to clean up, the less damage there will be and you can get back to operating your business!
Insurance Claims with Water Damage
Severe storms and water damage. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind for many, but while severe storms and flooding can cause extensive water damage, they are often not the main culprits.
Were you aware that various items in your home could be responsible for many situations that result in water damage?
Water Damage is a Major Threat for Homeowners
Homeowners may at some time face water damage as it is the 3rd most common reason that homeowners filed homeowners insurance claims between 2011 and 2015, with an average payout per claim of $8,861.
Understanding the difference between water damage and gradual damage and how they can impact insurance claims is important. Examples of gradual damage are things that have been happening over time, such as plumbing issues in the walls causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors, or water damage caused by cracks in the foundation. Some aspects of gradual water damage are not covered by homeowners insurance, unfortunately, while some storm-related water damage is.
If your home has experienced any type of water damage, the team at SERVPRO of South Albany County is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with cleanup and restoration and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Advanced Equipment for Water Damages
SERVPRO knows that staying on the cutting edge of technology in our industry will help our customers the most. That's why we add new equipment to our inventory on a regular basis. We are proud to be able to offer the best to our customers.
You may be wondering why this is importat. Check out this information found on aboveboardchamber.com:
Many homeowners feel that if the water is removed, the work of water damage cleanup is done. This is because it is difficult to see or feel the extent of the saturation of water in building materials without moisture detection equipment used in the water damage industry. What follows is that either the homeowner will attempt to remove the water and simply place household fans around, with or without removing drywall; or they will tell the water damage restoration contractor to leave when the water is extracted and before equipment is placed. The paradox here is that these decisions are made to save time and money. In some cases, they may have done just that. However, in most cases, the resulting long term water damage is both costly and time consuming in addition to being inconvenient and stressful. Added to that is the fact that the cost of mold remediation consequent of an improperly dried flood damage will likely not be covered by insurance policies because the water damage or sewage damage was not dried properly to begin with.
You have probably noticed by now that it is not the water removal service that is the important part of taking care of water damage. It is actually the drying part that makes your home safe from long term mold or building material damage. In fact, there is no time to waste when it comes to drying a water damaged home. Mold begins to start growing within 24 hours and continues “growing like a weed” damaging building materials as it spreads.
Water damage restoration companies spend a tremendous amount of money on drying equipment for a very good reason. They dry quickly, effectively, and safely. After all, think about it, if we could just use household fans and a couple of blowers, we would save a tremendous amount of money on equipment. If I thought those types of equipment did an effective job, I would be all over saving money by purchasing those at less than $50 each rather than a $300-400 blower and $3000 dehumidifiers. However, I know the importance of having industrial equipment to keep your home safe and dry. Further, all of the equipment works together to both dry the structural materials (blowers), remove the moisture from the air as the wet materials dry and the water from them turns to vapor (dehumidifiers), and clean the air to prevent allergens that permeate through the air during drying (air scrubbers).
2 Things Not To Do After Water Damage to Your Home
When your home has suffered extensive water damage after a broken pipe or flooding, your first instinct may be to start cleaning up the mess. As strange as it sounds, this may not be the best course of action. If you plan on filing a claim with your insurance company, you’ll need to provide evidence of the damage and get approval before making any repairs. Not only that, hiring a professional water damage mitigation service, to handle the clean-up and restoration of your home can save you time and money.
1. Don’t Throw Anything Away
Before you throw away any possessions damaged by a broken pipe or flood, you’ll need to photograph or video them, record their make, model, age and condition and allow a claims adjuster to inspect them. It’s also worth letting a water damage expert assess the damage too. They have specialized equipment for drying, cleaning, deodorizing and restoring everything from furniture to photographs, so there’s a fair chance they can salvage damaged possessions.
2. Don’t Try To Remove the Water Yourself
As distressing as it is to see so much water in your home, don’t try to get rid of it yourself. Again, you’ll need to have the damage assessed by an adjuster before you begin clean-up. When you contact your insurance company, talk to them about hiring your own public adjuster to do the assessment as a way to speed the process along.
Experts in water damage mitigation have access to specialized equipment that will make water removal faster, more efficient and much easier than anything you can do on your own. Their industrial de-humidifiers and fans can dry out your belongings before they begin to grow mold, saving you the cost of replacing furniture and carpets.
It’s easy to panic when a broken pipe or other disaster floods your home, causing extensive water damage. Whatever you do, however, don’t throw anything away or try to remove the water yourself until you file an insurance claim and talk to an expert in water damage mitigation.
Inspection and Water Damage Assessment
When responding to a water damage emergency, we begin with a detailed inspection of your home or property, including a damage assessment. At this stage, our professionals are trying to determine the scope of the damage so that we can develop an appropriate plan of action.
We will identify the category and classification of water damage to ensure our professionals restore your property based on industry guidelines. The level of contamination of the water will affect the specific restoration processes we use.
- Category 1: "Clean Water"
- Category 2: "Gray Water"
- Category 3: "Black Water"
We inspect and test to determine the extent of damage and how far the moisture has traveled to ensure proper and complete restoration. In addition, we will inspect for safety concerns that may be evident. If there are any safety issues like lead or asbestos, please bring them to our attention.
- Survey Damage
- Complete Safety Inspection
We move furniture and property contents and block items to help prevent rust or furniture stains on wet carpet.
How to Prevent Water Damage
Most Homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit.
But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!
Check out these 5 suggestions for preventing water damage:
- Be careful where you plant
Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.
- Clean out roof gutters
You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.
- Keep an eye on your water bill
With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up, or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.
- Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals
No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.
- Never pour grease down your sink
You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage.
Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?
The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.
SERVPRO Helps Keep Your Home Liveable
Except in the most severe situations, you should be able to live in your home even as SERVPRO technicians go through the motions of water damage restoration. We always try to keep residents in their homes wherever possible, even if it means making accommodations in how we go about our business. Of course, access to some parts of your home may be impeded while we do our work, but these efforts are designed to keep the rest of the building working and livable with as little trouble to you as possible. Here's a brief overview of how we try to keep your home functioning as normal during restorations.
When water damage in your home has especially strong odors or mold presence, our technicians may put in place some quarantine measures to keep a section of your home separate from the rest of the structure. While this may entirely cut off access to part of your house, it also stops odors and mold spores from reaching beyond where they have already taken hold. Our quarantines range greatly in size, from a small area in the corner of a room to an entire wing or section of the home.
SERVPRO technicians put up markers and warnings wherever there may be a safety hazard, helping to keep them as well as you safe from harm. This can be especially beneficial in situations with flooding or otherwise serious water damage where major electrical, structural, or chemical hazards may exist.
Our personnel is always careful to inform homeowners and insurance companies alike when the situation changes or needs shift. If anything happens that may change your living conditions or personal safety in any way, our technicians or representatives always contact you before going any further in their work. Keeping homeowners informed and updated on the restoration process has helped to earn us a national reputation for quality care and service.
Water Damage isn't a DIY Project
Trained and Equipped to Quickly Dry and Protect Your Home and Belongings
A mop and common household cleaning products may not be enough for black water intrusions. SERVPRO is trained to safely clean and restore your home, utilizing the following procedures:
- Identify the Source/Type of Water
- Measure Temperature and Humidity for Drying Analysis
- Survey the Extent of Damage and Inspect the Premises
- Perform Emergency Water Extraction
- Move and Block Furniture
- Provide Floor Service
- Inspect Carpet Pad/Carpet and Provide Service
- Apply Necessary Treatments (Disinfectants/Deodorization)
- Utilize Dying Equipment and Monitor Drying
- Dispose of Refuse
Emergency mitigation means that under normal circumstances, SERVPRO is on-site within four hours to begin drying and decontaminating your home and restorable contents. SERVPRO is trained and understands how to manage the drying process. By utilizing the proper equipment and moisture measuring devices, a structure is quickly and thoroughly dried, which helps prevent secondary water damages.
Abiding by OSHA guidelines and all applicable health regulations, SERVPRO removes moisture, sewage, and contaminants, disinfecting and deodorizing as they safely clean your home and restorable belongings.
Any water damage in your home is bad. Especially when the water contains potentially harmful bacteria that can affect the health of your family and the value of your home. Toilet overflows, sewage backups and other dark water intrusions are more than nasty, smelly messes; these biohazardous damages also introduce harmful microorganisms into a home, as well as the moisture necessary to support their growth.
SERVPRO understands how disruptive black water damages can be for your entire family. For this reason, SERVPRO offers 24-hour emergency response, and, under normal circumstances, will have trained, uniformed technicians on-site of a water damage within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services. By responding quickly with a full line of water cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO can help you regain control quickly while drying, deodorizing and protecting your home and belongings.
So, before you risk your health by attempting to clean up the mess yourself, call your local water damage cleanup and restoration experts at SERVPRO of South Albany County.
Understanding Different Water Types
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source. The term gray water is when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminants to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When you have a water damage, don't leave your property to chance. Call SERVPRO. Consider taking the following precautions to help minimize damage or prevent further damage while waiting for help to arrive.
Damage from Clean Water
- Shut off the water source if possible or contact a qualified professional to do so.
- Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if access to the power distribution panel is safe from potential electrical shock. Do not enter rooms with standing water, as electrical shock hazards may exist.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions to allow even more drying.
- Move any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other valuable items that may be sensitive to moisture to a safe place.
- Do not leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors as they may cause staining.
- Do not use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water as there is potential for electrical shock or causing damage to the vacuum cleaner.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet; do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Damage from Contaminated Water
- Avoid all contacts with sewage and items contaminated by sewage. Wash your hands thoroughly if you come in contact with contaminated items.
- Do not walk through contaminated areas, as you could spread damage to unaffected areas.
- Do not turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminated air. Do not use household fans to dry the structure; air flow could spread contaminants.
- Discard any food and/or products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to the contaminated areas.
How to Prevent Water Damage While You're on Vacation
One of the highest insurance claims by homeowners is water damage, according to a study done by the Insurance Information Institute. In fact, leaky pipes and in often cases appliances cause millions of dollars of damage in freezing weather and storms annually. While you’re on vacation, it’s no surprise that a leaky pipe can burst and cause hundreds of dollars of repairs. This is why it’s important to read our steps below on how to prevent water damage to your home while you’re away.
Step 1. Check for Leaks Before Going on Vacation
Before embarking on your trip, check pipes under your sinks and the water heater for any rust, cracks, or damage. You should also check the seals around your windows to make sure there are no cracks that might cause water damage. Additionally, check the exterior of your house and see what condition your roof shingles are in. If any show damage, getting them replaced before leaving for vacation is a good idea.
Step 2. Inspect Your Major Appliances
It’s important that you inspect the hoses that connect to important appliances in your home, such as dishwashers, washer/dryers, and refrigerator. If there is any damage, you should get the hose replaced before you leave to prevent extensive water damage.
Step 3. Clear Out Your Gutters
Make sure to get any debris out of your rain gutters before leaving for vacation. This way, you won’t have any blockages that can cause damage while you’re away.
Step 4. Inspect Your Sump Pump
Make sure it is in good condition and clear any debris from clogging the pit. You should also run a few tests, listening to the sounds it makes and making sure that the water in the pump is actually going outside. You should also install a battery-powered backup in case there is a power outage while you’re away.
Step 5. Insulate Exposed Pipes
If you are planning on being away from your home during the winter, it can be a good idea to insulate any exposed pipes. This will prevent them from freezing while you are away.
Step 6. Get Someone to Check on Your Home
Call a friend or hire a professional house sitter to check on your home every week while you are gone. Instruct them to ensure that the heat is always on if your vacation is during the winter. Also, show them where the water main is in case of an emergency.
Step 7. Turn Off the Water
Lastly, if you cannot find someone to check on your home, you should turn off the water main. You will also want to drain the pipes completely so that they do not freeze or burst during the colder months. To do this, run the water and flush your toilet after you turn off the water. You should also open the cabinets under your sink to let the warm air surround the pipes.
How to Spot Water Damage Early
Spotting Water Damage Early
Water is one of the most important natural resources. However, when there is a leak in your roof or plumbing system, water damage will make for one of the most stressful problems you will face as a homeowner. Before water can cause damage to your property, you will need to identify the problem and request professional help.
If you notice standing water around your property, you should suspect a problem with the plumbing system or flooding. Regardless of the source of the problem, stagnant water will weaken the foundation of your home if allowed to stand for a considerable period of time. The water will also form a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Water spots and stains
Another common sign to look for is water spots and stains on your walls and ceilings. While there will be no visible water in such cases, any leaks that manifest in this form could damage your drywall or wooden flooring. Once you notice this sign, you should consider assessing the extent of the damage to take the necessary measures.
If part of your home is damp and has been out of sunlight for a while, mold may start growing on the surface. While it is possible to treat and remove mold that grows on these surfaces, it would be important to hire the best experts.
Evidence on walls
If your drywall is sagging or appears to be saturated, this could be a sign that water is causing damage to your property. Some of the other subtle signs you should never ignore include bubbling or peeling paint. Such defects should be repaired before water deteriorates your building material further.
If your home is not well ventilated, odors and smells will be trapped in the space in case there is a persistent leak. The smells will not only be a sign of damp areas but could also be an indication of mold growth.
Sounds of water running
When you are sleeping at night and the house is quiet, you may hear sounds of running water in the pipes or dripping inside the walls. This could be a sign of water damage.
Once you have noticed any signs of water damage, it is advisable to call a reliable company to carry out repairs. SERVPRO of South Albany County has the expertise and experience to help you address such problems and prevent them from recurring.
The Process of Drying
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. While your initial reaction may be to grab a few towels to mop up the mess and place a fan or two around the damaged area, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry-approved standards to help lower the chances of any secondary damages. If your business suffers a water damage, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will:
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to hep prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help "Speed up Mother Nature"? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material - but only if the air is, indeed, drier.
The only problem is, nature often takes too long and secondary damages may occur while the building is drying out.
Your SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals have the tools and equipment to help Mother Nature along, including equipment to help dry hardwood floors, tough-to-reach spaces inside walls, and much more. Your SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals also use state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process to help speed the drying of your home or business.
It's not only the equipment, but the technology too. SERVPRO has developed DryBook, a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process and helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process.
The bottom line? SERVPRO of South Albany County Franchise Professionals have the training and equipment to help make water damage "Like it never even happened."
How to Save Personal Belongings from Water Damage
One of the most common topics after a client suffers water damage, is how and what they can save from water damage. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer to this question. Every water damage is unique in some sense, so what can be saved is really on a case by case basis. However, here are some guidelines that you can use to make the best decision possible.
What Type of Water Damage
Determining whether the water that damaged your personal belongings is clean or contaminated will be a big factor in whether or not it can be salvaged. Obviously, if you are dealing with clean water, the chances of you being able to save some of your belongings is higher. Even though it may be possible to restore something that is damaged by contaminated water, it is more than likely not worth the health risk that it may bring.
Porous vs Non Porous Materials
Porous materials such as fabrics, wood, and paper are very good at retaining water. This also means it increases the chance of other dangers like mold growth, and damage beyond repair. This is not always the case and if handled quickly and properly, many times these items can be saved as well. On the other hand, porous materials like marble, metal, and porcelain - among others - usually have no problem being restored. Since there is really nothing for bacteria and mold to root itself in, a simple cleaning is usually no problem.
The Amount of Time the Water Saturated
Another factor that will come into the equation of determining what can and cannot be saved is how long the materials have been wet for. The longer an item sits in water, the deeper it can penetrate. As you can imagine, this makes it increasingly more difficult to bring it back to its normal state. The perfect example of this is wooden furniture. It takes quite a bit of time for it to really absorb and become completely water logged. If you get personal belongings out of the standing water and begin the drying process right away, you have a good chance of being able to save them.
Factor in the Replacement Cost
Water damage restoration of personal belongings is no different than any other type of repair. You will always want to evaluate how much it is going to cost to repair something versus simply replacing it. Is the item you want to save really worth paying a professional to do work on it? Sometimes it is, sometimes it is not.
You should also take into account that paying for restoration does not guarantee your item will be returned to its original state. If that’s the case, you’ll have to replace the item anyways.
If you are unsure about whether or not one of your items could be salvaged, it is best that you get it analyzed by a professional. If you hire a water damage restoration company to handle a dry out of your property, they will be able to assist you in assessing damage to your personal belongings as well. To speak to a professional water restoration representative at SERVPRO, contact us today.