The last thing any homeowner wishes for is to encounter water where it shouldn’t be. This is called water damage and stands as one of the most dreaded home issues by most homeowners. But first, what is water damage?
Water damage is simply the various losses caused by the intrusion of water into various home materials and systems, thereby causing destructive processes like rotting, mold growth, rusting, swelling of composite wood, flooding, delaminating materials like plywood, and many other destructive processes.
Water damage has various sources from whence it originates. The most common of these are burst pipes, leaks, flooding, and excessive rainfall. The average cost of emergency water damage repair is in the tone of \$1,100 to over \$4,000.
This comprehensive guide walks you through the immediate actions you should take if you find yourself facing water damage in your home.
Before you can begin to handle water damage, you need to identify and stop the source of the water. This could be as simple as turning off the water supply if a burst pipe is the cause. If the water damage is due to an issue you can’t control, like a flood, focus on safety measures and damage control.
Addressing the source of the water is the first step in controlling water damage. Here are a few common sources of water damage and how you can manage them:
Leaky Pipes: If a pipe is leaking, turn off the water supply immediately. You may be able to fix the leak with a patch kit temporarily, but you should contact a plumber for a permanent fix.
Appliance Leaks: If an appliance like a dishwasher or washing machine is leaking, turn off the appliance and disconnect it from the water source. You may need to contact an appliance repair professional for further assistance.
Floods: If the water damage is due to flooding from a storm or natural disaster, your main concern should be safety. Evacuate if necessary and wait until authorities say it’s safe before you return.
Roof Leaks: If your roof is leaking, place a bucket or other container under the leak to catch the water. Contact a roofing professional for a permanent fix.
Remember, addressing the source of the water damage is crucial to prevent further damage and begin the restoration process.
With that being said, it is important to note that you shouldn’t handle water damage restoration all by yourself to save a few bucks. This can have adverse effects on you, your family, and the home or office. Let the professionals handle water damage restoration for you. Various companies are involved in 24/7 emergency water damage handling, water damage removal, and emergency water damage restoration. So therefore, you don’t need to put yourself and your family in harm’s way.
Safety should always be your first priority when dealing with water damage. The immediate aftermath of water damage can present various hazards, from electrical risks to structural instability. If the water damage is extensive, it may be safer to evacuate the premises until professionals can assess the situation and ensure the area is safe.
Water and electricity create a dangerous mix that can lead to electrocution. If water has reached any electrical outlets, appliances, or your home’s electrical system, it’s crucial to turn off the electricity at the breaker box, provided you can reach it safely. If there’s any doubt, evacuate the home and call an electrician or your utility company.
Water has the potential to weaken structures, compromising the integrity of your home. Be extremely careful when moving around, especially in the upper levels of a flooded home. Ceilings may be holding trapped water and could collapse under the weight. Stairs and floors may also be unstable. It’s best to wait for professionals to assess the structure before you venture into heavily damaged areas.
Water damage, particularly from floods or sewage leaks, can introduce harmful contaminants into your home. These could include bacteria, viruses, fungi, chemicals, and other toxic substances. Avoid contact with contaminated water and materials. In addition, damp environments are conducive to mold growth, which can start to develop within 24-48 hours of a flood. Exposure to mold can lead to health problems, including allergies and respiratory issues. If you suspect mold growth, seek assistance from a professional mold remediation service.
If you must deal with water damage, ensure you’re wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). This may include waterproof boots, rubber gloves, eye protection, and a mask or respirator. The type of PPE will depend on the severity of the damage and the potential contaminants in the water.
Remember, if you’re in any doubt about your safety, the best course of action is to evacuate and leave the cleanup to professionals.
Before beginning any cleanup efforts, it’s essential to thoroughly document the extent of the water damage for your insurance company. Comprehensive documentation will support your insurance claim and can help ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for the damage.
Take photos and videos of all affected areas. Capture the damage from multiple angles, and make sure to photograph any standing water, damaged furniture, structural damage, and any other damaged items. It’s also a good idea to take close-up photos of water-damaged items, as this can provide more details about the extent of the damage. Don’t forget to document damage to personal belongings as well as to the structure of the home.
Create a detailed list of damaged items. For each item, include a description, the estimated value or cost, and the date of purchase if known. If you have receipts or other proof of purchase for these items, include these in your documentation. Your list should also note any items that are beyond repair.
As you begin the cleanup and restoration process, continue to document the steps taken and any further damage discovered. This could include issues like mold growth, which might not be apparent in the immediate aftermath of the water damage.
Consider having a professional water damage restoration service assess the damage. Their expert evaluation can support your claim and ensure nothing is overlooked. They can also provide an estimate for the cleanup and repair costs, which can be useful information for your insurance claim.
Remember, the more detailed your documentation, the better your chances of a successful and comprehensive insurance claim. It might seem like a lot of work during a stressful time, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.
As soon as you’ve ensured everyone’s safety and documented the damage, the next step is to contact your insurance company. Reporting the water damage promptly can expedite your claim process and allow you to start the recovery process sooner.
When you call your insurance company, explain the situation clearly and accurately. Describe the extent of the damage and the cause, if known. Provide your policy number and any other necessary information they require. It’s also important to ask what steps you should take next and whether there are any specific requirements for moving forward with cleanup and restoration.
Provide your insurance company with all the documentation you’ve gathered, including photos, videos, and an inventory of damaged items. If you had a professional assessment done, submit this report as well. This evidence supports your claim and helps your insurance adjuster understand the extent of the damage.
Coverage for water damage varies depending on your insurance policy. Some policies cover certain types of water damage, such as that caused by burst pipes, but may not cover damage from floods or sewer backups. Ask your insurance company to explain what is and isn’t covered under your policy.
An insurance adjuster will likely visit your home to assess the damage firsthand. Be available to walk them through the affected areas and answer their questions. If you disagree with their assessment or the settlement offer, don’t hesitate to negotiate or seek a second opinion.
When any category of water causes water damage, it is important to take quick action. When water damage is left unattended, it can lead to worse-case scenarios like damage to your house, growth of molds, a toxic environment, and not to mention; health issues. Water damage restoration plays a key role in staying safe from water damage. A professional should handle proper water damage restoration or removal. The benefits are numerous, including:
Water damage restoration can be a quick and effective way to restore your home after water damage. Moreover, the earlier you handle the water damage, the better for you, your family, your home, and your health.
If You are having any kind of Water Damage in DC, MD & VA – Don’t hesitate to contact us immediately. (888) 412-5228.