Winter months can bring a lot of water damage to Western North Carolina in the form of burst frozen pipes. If you’ve just experienced water damage in your home or business, the first thing you want to do is call a Disaster Restoration company (like us) right away. The reason for this is that you want to have a professional handle the cleanup and restoration process so that it’s completely and thoroughly done.
Here’s 7 things that you can do, right now, to lessen or prevent water damage from occurring.
Floods, natural disasters, and heavy storms have the ability to cause mold growth in even the most protected homes and apartments. Hidden leaks and weak foundations are gateways to dangerous and potentially life-threatening mold damage. Preventing irreparable mold damage in your home is possible with an understanding of how mold infiltrates homes and the proper steps to take to ensure the health and safety of your household.
Some water damage is caused by a force of nature. There is, realistically, nothing you could have done to stop your neighbor’s tree from crashing into your house, or the river from flooding. Most water damage is not caused by a catastrophe, however. Most water damage that homeowners face could have been prevented if they hadn’t made some of these simple mistakes.
Winter pipe problems happen to the best of us. They can cause many issues in your home or business. That’s why you need to be prepared for the winter and know what to do to prevent any problems. In this article, you will learn 5 tips to stop winter pipe problems before they start.
Keep Your Faucets Running
One way to prevent any winter pipe problems is to keep one or two faucets running slowly at all times. When you are living or working in a place that has extremely cold weather, so this can prevent the pipes from freezing. This is because moving water eliminates the chance that the pipes will freeze. You don’t have to have the faucets running fast, even just letting them drip will work to eliminate winter pipe problems.
Stay Warm to Prevent Winter Pipe Problems
To prevent winter pipe problems, keep your home or business warm. You can do this by keeping the temperature of 32 degrees, especially in areas of your home or business where water lines are located. You can also direct warm air to any colder areas of your home. Look for pipes near the outside of your home or business and protect those first.
Check the Main Water Shutoff Valve
Before the winter season starts, make sure to check that your main water shut off valve works properly. If it doesn’t turn properly, call a plumber to help you fix it. That way, if you experience low water pressure or no water at all, you can turn the valve off completely. This will help prevent any winter pipe problems before a plumber can get out to help you fix the issues.
Insulate Your Pipes
An effective way to prevent winter pipe problems is to insulate the pipes in your home or business. This will create an extra barrier against the cold. If you are concerned about regular insulation not being enough protection, you can always add a thicker layer for winter. You might have to spend a little bit of money, but it will be less than dealing with frozen or broken pipes.
Fix Any Exterior Cracks
Before the winter arrives, walk around your home or business to find any cracks. Cracks will introduce the cold to the inside of the building -this will increase the chance of winter pipe problems. To avoid this, fill all of those cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking. This will keep your home or business warmer and avoid any issues.
Now you know 5 tips to stop winter pipe problems before they start. Remember to keep faucets running, direct warm air to the colder areas and keep the temperature above 32 degrees. Also remember to check the main shut off valve, insulate your pipes, and fix any exterior cracks. These tips will help keep your home or business safe from any winter pipe problems you can imagine. As long as you prepare, you can prevent major expenses this winter season.
Crawl space problems pop up all the time, especially in older homes. There are many problems that can, and most likely will happen with any home over a period of time. In this article, you will learn about the most common crawl space problems in older homes.
Moisture is one of the most common crawl space problems. Moisture can cause wetness, smells, and even mold. When water is in your crawl space, it will evaporate and seep through your insulation and the rest of your home, which creates the potential for mold to travel throughout your house. Here are some of the ways moisture can affect your crawl space:
Open Crawl Space Vents– Open crawl space vents let in moisture, which allows the environment to create wood rot, mold, mildew, and dust mites.
Dirt- Every crawl space will have exposed dirt. Unfortunately, the dirt will absorb moisture, then dry and send the moisture throughout your house. This will change the humidity and potentially add to your energy bill.
Weather- The weather elements are one of the biggest contributors to moisture crawl space problems. If you suffer from rain and humidity in your area, they will cause major issues in your crawl space.
Crawl space problems can also be caused by your house settling. A house will settle when the soil underneath can’t support the weight of the house anymore. This can cause many issues with your crawl space. Poor preparation and moisture are the biggest reasons of this happening. Here are some other reasons house settling may occur:
Poor Drainage- When your home has little to no drainage system, then the water from your gutters and roof will end up around your foundation. The soil expands due to the water, and it pushes against your crawl space foundation, creating cracks.
Plumbing Leaks- You probably didn’t think that a plumbing leak could lead to your house settling, but it can. When you have a leak inside of your home from plumbing, it can easily spread to your crawl space. Cracks in pipes or water lines from your home harm your foundation and create water damage in your crawl space.
The construction of the foundation, floor joists, and support beams of your home can play a major role in dealing with crawl space problems. If the support pier columns aren’t spaced properly, the floor joists will sag, which results in squeaky, uneven, and sagging floors. Some crawl space foundations let in more water and air, which causes problems. Concrete block is cheap but will let in the most moisture, whereas poured concrete is better and won’t cause issues unless there are cracks or holes.
Now you are aware of common crawl space problems in older homes. Remember to keep out moisture, as it can create mold and other issues. Also, remember to check settling issues and have the best foundation for your home. Keeping these issues in check will reduce the number of crawl space problems you deal with.
After any problem inside your home, it is obvious that you may face some kind of stresses and problems, and this stress is escalated when the problem in question is water damages. This is because water damages can result in problems that’ll hurt you for a lifetime if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, if you are informed and you know what to do in these situations, especially when insurance claims, you can keep your stress low, save a lot of money in costs, and bring your home back to normal in no time.
How an insurance claim can be filed:
Before you start panicking when you see water damages inside your home, you should try and formulate a plan. The first step of this plan is to call up the insurance company you will file a claim with, and the restoration company who will help you extract the water and clean up the area so any damages can be reduced. Once these calls have been made, you will need to start working on having a claim filed so you can be reimbursed for damages.
Much like the basement, your attic can sometimes be left on its own for a long time. Most attics are used for storage, which means that few people go in and out of the attic regularly. This is why, when problems like leaks or damages happen in your attic, the damage can often be extensive as it can go unnoticed for weeks or months. This is why prevention is done.
Prevention of water damages:
The attic is usually located above the ceiling of home but is still under the roof. This is why there is a greater chance of water damages here. However, by following certain preventative measures, you can save a lot of money and time in restoration costs.
When it comes to water damages, it is clear that there are a lot of problems associated. The leaks can cause huge problems for the house, from affecting its stability, all the way to needing the investment of large amounts of money for repairs. However, when time, money, and resources are at risk, we tend to overlook other things, like potential health risks.
These health risks don’t just affect the homeowner, but your families and loved ones as well. However, these health risks are not unavoidable. With awareness and understanding, you can learn to prevent these from ever affecting the health of your loved ones.
Mold can be one of the biggest problems to come out of a water leak. The mold can grow particularly well when there is a lot of dampness and humidity in the environment, conditions that are often provided by standing water from a water leak. Molds can reproduce using spores, which can spread throughout the house and further spread the mold in conditions that are damp and moist.
Health risks associated with molds:
At low levels of mold exposure, people in the home may feel growing headaches and allergic reactions. This affects those people most that are already allergic to pollen grains, and they are more like to experience, coughs, sneezes, or watering eyes. However, at higher levels, these seemingly non-dangerous symptoms may become signs of a bigger problem. They can cause severe long term problems such as pain when breathing in or when swallowing something. People who are already at risk, such as the elderly and young children, may face this more.
How to deal with mold infestations:
Molds can not only harm your property, but also your family. You will need to clean up and remove all the standing water effectively and then clean out the area using antifungal disinfectants. In case the problem is bigger than you thought, you should call in the professionals and get a restoration services company to assess the extent of your risk and to work on it.
Water damages can also help promote the growth of insects inside your home. These can be innocent insects, but there can be some dangerous organisms such as the mosquito. Water is very important for them as it becomes a breeding ground for their eggs. Mosquito bites are also dangerous as they not only are a nuisance, but they also can become a way for diseases to be transmitted, and some people can be allergic to them. Where there are a lot of insects, spiders also grow. This can be harmful as spider bites can also be dangerous.
In most cases, the best thing to do is to start cleaning up your home regularly and taking precautions if someone starts to experience any symptoms. However, if the problem seems to be getting out of hand, contact a professional restoration service at once if needed.
The repair of minor water damage in your home can be handled with standard DIY techniques. This guide will take you from complete recovery to “just maintaining” until professional help arrives.
Even if the water is clear and comes from relatively clean source, (called a category 1 spill) it can turn sour in a short period of time. Always wear gloves and boots. If you have respiratory problems, or are prone to infections, consider a mask and goggles too. If you must use electric, run a cord from a non-flooded room, and never use fan or electric tools in standing water.
Stop the leak
Shut off the water to the area or appliance. If you’re not exactly sure what is leaking, you’re going to shut off water to your house until you can find it. Locate your main valve BEFORE you have an emergency. If you don’t know how to turn it off when an emergency arises, calling the water company or 911 will get you the help you need. Depending on the severity of flooding, you might want to cut off any gas or electric as well.
Document the damage before you clean
Take as many pictures and videos as you can. Get lots of angles, and close ups of any damages. The better documentation you have, easier it is to get your insurance to pay. Try to maintain integrity of the scene. Only throw away things you must (like moldy items or broken glass) because of a danger factor. If you decide to file for damages, your agent will want to see the scene as “true” as possible.
Remove all standing water
For the most part, towels buckets, mops, and possibly a fan should suffice for supplies. If you have standing water, and need to use a pump or fan, be extremely careful!
Remember: electricity and water don’t mix! As we discussed before, you may have to run extension cords from a non-flooded area. Never put anything electrical except a pump in standing water.
Dry out walls and furnishings
Once the standing water is eliminated, and the floors are relatively dried, dry out the walls and furnishings (those that cannot be removed) with fans and dehumidifiers. Weather permitting; you might open doors and windows for a helpful cross breeze as well. You should keep air circulating in the affected area for a week to 10 days. If you have dehumidifiers, you can run them with the house closed up.
Bleach (or any disinfectant) is your best friend!
You want to start disinfecting immediately. As water sits, mold and bacteria begin grow in it. Bleach is the most certain way to kill it, but can be harsh and must be handled with care. You can find a host of other safe and effective disinfectants at your local stores. If the mold or a sour smell persists after using a mild disinfectant, you may have to resort to bleach.
Dispose of ruined items and elements ASAP
Not everything destroyed in a flood can be safely placed in a dumpster it is important to separate r electronics for proper disposal. You should also bag extremely moldy object or hazardous items to keep them contained before dumping. Water damaged electronics can be highly corroded, which is bad for the environment, mold and toxins, can spread quickly—even at a landfill.
Hiring a water damage specialist is the most stressful part of repairing water damage. There’s a lot riding on your choice. With the quality of your home repairs on the line, many homeowners pour all their energy into the hiring process and are shocked and annoyed when the work doesn’t stop once they’ve signed a contract. Working with your chosen specialist can also be a stressful process. This is a quick guide to help you through the most common turbulent spots in the repair process once you’ve hired a water damage specialist.
How to ask about progress
If you don’t have a background in water damage repair, you may not know what progress looks like. If you have standing water at your property, a good repair will start with moving that water. Once the machines are set up and you have pumps, dehumidifiers, and fans working, a couple of days are needed to dry your property. You wont see your water damage specialist on the premises during this time. It takes time for water to dry, and them checking in wouldn’t make water evaporate faster. From the homeowner’s perspective, however, the specialist hasn’t done anything for a day!
No need to worry about the progress your water damage specialist makes; frame your concerns as asking for an explanation. Any good specialist will be happy to explain what they’re doing and why. Just be sure that you don’t come off as accusatory right off the bat. It can put a strain on your relationship with your specialist if you make negative assumptions instead of asking for help understanding.
Reassessments occur, and it’s not unusual for your specialist to amend the original estimate for your project due to additional issues. The assessment of most damage takes place once work begins. Your specialist isn’t going to know the state of your under-flooring (for example) until they rip up your ruined carpet and take a look. A good specialist will talk to you before beginning any work that you didn’t agree to. Be aware that an estimate is just that.
Don’t finalize your insurance settlement until the work is finished. Reassessment means you could end up paying out of pocket if you’ve settled too soon. Ask your insurance company if they require documentation of the repair process. If they do, get these requirements to your water damage specialist ASAP so they can be sure to follow them. When you and your specialist are on the same side, insurance is a snap.
What to do when things don’t go as planned
If you’re ever not happy with the work that you’re receiving, you should talk to your water damage specialist right away. Try not to go in looking for a fight. Bring your contract and the written estimate that you received, and approach them in good spirits. Explain the nature of your concerns, point out anything relevant on the contract, and keep an open mind. If you go into it sure that they’re trying to rip you off or are doing a sloppy job for no reason, you don’t resolve the issue.
Hiring a water damage specialist lets the work on your house begin. The difference between a perfectly restored home and one in disarray depends on working along side your water damage specialist. Keeping your cool and asking plenty of questions are great ways to keep the relationship between you and your water damage specialist cordial.