Today is Friday, February 23, 2018

Water Damage Articles & FAQs

Articles and frequently asked questions about water damage.

Water Damage Loss to Home or Business

Water damage loss to a person’s home or business can occur in many ways. Avoiding this damage is a simple as a little common sense and routine maintenance.
Foreclosed/Vacated Homes and Businesses – Unheated structures can have frozen pipe bursts

When a house or business is left unheated, and the temperature drops to 10 degrees below zero, water pipes can freeze and burst. Later when the temperature rises, the ice melts and water flows freely from the pipes. The property is now flooded and the typical homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover the loss if the home was unoccupied and had no heat. The claim could be denied because of failure to upkeep maintenance that may have prevented the damage. A heads up for the snowbirds; before turning off the power for the winter, check your policy and take the necessary precautions against freezing weather conditions.

In the case of foreclosed homes, it is a common and cheap practice by banks to make a property ‘look’ good but not safe. This superficial “house-lift” causes a wet weakened structure with hidden biohazards like bacteria and mold spores. When these properties are purchased by an investor or new home owner, prior to moving in, make sure to have microbial samples taken to rule out that these types of shortcuts have been used. Property owners should leave a minimal amount of heat on to insure the pipes do not burst. The minimum amount of heat required to make sure the pipes do not burst in an empty home or business is 58ºF/14ºC. Although the ambient temperature of the interior of the home may be well above freezing temperatures, the temperature within the walls and basement will be much cooler, depending upon how well it is insulated. Winterize your home properly.

Bathroom – shower or toilet overflow

You can simply be taking a bath and overflow your bathtub or shower tub. In some instances, children can flood a bathroom floor and cause the ceiling beneath the floor to leak. Addressing the water spots and stains without drying or sanitizing, is just like putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. The extent of the damage has to be evaluated and properly dried to ensure that there is not damage to the underlying support of the bathroom floor and no hidden mold occurring between the floors and ceiling. Time is of the essence, do not wait until the inner levels develop mold and mildew.

Water damaged hardwood flooring can be saved if drying is started quickly. A remedy that water damage restorers use is a floor drying system called Injectidry and it reduces cupping and warping of hardwood floors. Flood Specialists, Inc. has been saving hardwood floors for many years using the Injectidry Floor Drying System. We can generally save about 92% of the wooden floors that we dry, avoiding replacement and costly repair. It consists of pads that are taped to the floor and a vacuum that simultaneously sucks water out on a vapor level and drying the flooring from the inside out. Moisture readings will be able to monitor how dry the floor is getting. The time it takes the floor to dry is based on the type of floor, how close together the joints are and how saturated the core of the floor board is. Knowing how to dry out wet wooden floors fast is the best way to prevent mold damage or replacement.

Toilet overflows – You can have a situation where someone has flushed tampons, pads, rags or paper towels down a toilet, clogging the waste line and an overflow of sewage takes place in the surrounding drains and toilets. This situation is called “black” water damage and requires special handling and removal of damaged items and fixtures. Black water is water that has been contaminated with fecal matter and urine as opposed to “grey” water from showers, laundry rooms, and kitchens. Black water is heavily polluted and contains pathogens. Do not touch anything contaminated with black water. Let specialists handle the area and all its contents.

Kitchen – Refrigerator/Dishwasher water line burst:

You may suffer a water damage situation by means of a burst pipe, a line rupture, and/or malfunctioning vinyl or copper feeding line to your kitchen appliances. Moving your refrigerator can dislodge the tubing if it has been fitted too short or loose. Pay careful attention when moving your appliances around. If you notice a leak; turn the water source clockwise to stop the water flow until you can get it looked at. Empty unheated homes can also cause these lines to burst. Take the necessary precautions and include these lines when you opt to drain your water sources.

Water Heater – Malfunctioning Valve or Rust and Corrosion

If you have ever suffered a water damage situation in the basement and the water table was over a foot tall; you should replace the water heater because the lining of the water heater is usually fiberglass insulation. If this not addressed, it will retain water within the water heater and rust out the bottom of the water heater faster. This rust damage can cause leaks and water damage to occur all over again.

Leaky Roofs

Ice damming is a situation in which there is ice packed gutters, preventing the snow melt to drain off of your roof properly. Large icicles are a telltale sign of a roof that is not providing proper drainage. The water rivets down the roof and hits an ‘ice blockage’ and pools or travels inward into the home and causes water damage. This water can damage walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.

Laundry – Hose dislodged from drain

Ever seen an exaggerated rickety old washer on a spin cycle hop around in a commercial? In real life washer machine spin cycles can be a bit bouncy and noisy when loads are unbalanced or when you throw in a pair of shoes to wash. That hopping machine can dislodge itself from the drain and cause water damage.

What To Do When Water Damage Loss Occurs

If you do have a water damage situation on your hands make sure to find reputable water damage specialists; to tent, dry, decontaminate and biowash the affected areas. Make sure they have infrared scanning capability to insure the moisture has been addressed. Beware of “multi-tasking” public adjusters who rent and place drying equipment for a few hours. They are not certified to deal with water damaged structures and cannot assess or remedy the problem efficiently. Damage to the underlying structure can cost tens of thousands of dollars in repair, remodel, mold and remediation costs. It is your investment to protect, addressed promptly and intelligently, a good water damage team can save you money in costly repairs.

Winter Fire and Water Damage Prevention

If you thought the only time water damage could happen was during severe summer storms, you are wrong. Winter can be just as bad or be the cause for Springtime issues. Winter is also a popular time for fires.

The frigid temperatures of winter are slowly creeping up on us. Soon we’ll have snow and ice and it will be too cold and possibly too late to winterize your home. Why would you winterize if you’ve never had problems in the past? The simple answer is that you may have never had a power outage during a blizzard or it hasn’t gotten cold enough. Consider what happens when there is a power outage. Your home gets cold and can’t keep the plumbing warm enough to keep them from freezing. Once they do, there is a good chance they will crack. When the power returns and your home heating restores the temperature in the house, the pipes will thaw and water will drain out the cracks caused by the freeze. You can avoid this mess by buying pipe insulation at your local home improvement store.

Winter Water Damage Prevention

  • Make sure you change your furnace filter frequently. A clogged filter makes your furnace work harder resulting in it running more often. Not only does this cost you more money, but it increases the chances of starting a fire.
  • Clear away anything flammable from your furnace. Keep everything at least a 6 feet away.
  • Check your smoke alarms and replace batteries. Consider a smoke detector that works on AC power and battery backup.
  • Check your fireplace and chimney. Make sure there are no rodents or birds living there.
  • Get your chimney cleaned if you haven’t done so in a while.
  • Water your Christmas tree daily. A 6ft tree can take a gallon or more per day.
  • If you clean your fireplace, be sure the ashes are completely extinguished before disposing of them. If unsure, douse with water.

Spring Water Damage Prevention

  • Disconnect and drain your garden hose so it doesn’t freeze and damage your hose. Store your garden hose in the garage after all the water has drained from it.
  • Make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris. If water is unable to drain into the downspouts, it will drain over the side and down by your home foundation.
  • Make sure all debris is removed from around the base of your home.
  • Plumbing that is close to external walls above the freeze line should be wrapped with insulation.
  • Outdoor water faucets should be checked for leaks and repaired.

If you are not sure how to do any of these things, give us a call.

Preventing Water Damage From The Outside?

When people think of preventing water damage, they immediately think of their sump pumps, floor drains, and foundation cracks. It’s funny how most people ignore the most important preventative measure there is from keeping rainfall from seeping down the side of your foundation and into your basement. What am I talking about? I’m referring to the grade of your landscape – not to be confused as the grade you get in school.

House on a hill

Preventing water damage by grading your landscape away from your house If you have a new home, you’ll notice that your house is on a hill. That hill may not be very big but the dirt at the base of your house is higher up than the outer reaches of your yard. The angle in which the ground slopes away from your house is the grade. The steeper the grade, the fast the water runs away from your house and the better you are at preventing water damage. Older homes were often built on flat land before it was known that grading helped keep basements dry.

If you have an older home or a new home in which the grade of your landscape is not sloping away from your house and allowing water to accumulate at the base of your foundation, you’ll want to follow these simple steps thereby preventing water damage from happening in the future.

  • Add dirt, preferably good top soil mixed with some regular brown dirt, to the base of your home and grade it so it slopes away from your house.
  • Add mulch to the base of your property at least 2-4 inches thick and 2-3 feet out from your house. This should also be done so it slopes away from your home.
  • Remove leaves and debris accumulation from exterior walls.
  • Trim trees so they are a few feet away from your outside walls and siding.
  • Adjust your sprinklers so they do not spray your house or the mulch around the house.
  • Wall cracks, either in the cement between bricks or concrete, should be patched. Tuck-pointing should done if the home is older and show signs of deterioration.
  • Gutters should be clean and free of leaves and other debris.

Stop the water from getting inside

Preventing water damage is as easy as focusing on the outside first. Doing so minimizes the ability for water to get inside. Following the steps above will save you time and money in the long run and keep your basement dry. If you have a landscape grade problem that is beyond your level of ability, call Flood Specialists, Inc. for advice or recommendations on landscaping companies who specialize in water damage prevention. It’s still not too late. Do this before the first big snow.

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