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when water damage happens...

Mitigating water damage in a home is crucial to preventing further structural damage, mold growth, and potential health hazards. If your facing water damage, keep reading for some suggestions on how to address the issue properly.

Some common sources of water damage are: burst or leaking pipes, sewer back-up, storm water, sump pump failure and human error (forgetting to turn off a faucet). If you are able, identify the source of the water leak and stop it. If you are unable to identify the source, contact a local plumber to assist you. Addressing the source will prevent further water from damaging your home. Be aware of the health hazards associated with a sewer back-up or other non-potable water sources and take the necessary steps to remain safe.

If you want to utilize your homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of the damage, contact your insurance agent to find out how to file a claim for damages, and if the source of the damage is covered under your policy. You will want to get a claim number and the contact information for the insurance adjuster who will be handling your claim. An insurance adjuster will likely schedule a time to come to your home and assess the damage.

Once the source of the water has been addressed, contact a restoration company as soon as possible to prevent any further damage. Companies working in the restoration industry are currently not required to be properly trained or certified in order to mitigate water damage in your home. It’s important to ensure that you contact a company who is certified with an organization like the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) so that you know the work performed will align with industry standards.

You should expect the company you hire to remove any standing water from your home with pumps and/or wet dry vacuums. Once the standing water is removed, the company will begin removing the contents from the area of the home affected along with any materials like drywall, carpet or ceiling tiles that require replacement. A flood cut may need to be made to your walls to remove the saturated materials and allow the fans and dehumidifiers to dry out the area behind. Throughout this process, a good company will pay close attention to covering your floors with protective paper/plastic and protecting the undamaged portions of your home while performing these tasks. A good restoration company should also assist with gathering the proper documentation your insurance company may ask for.

The restoration company should use a combination of containment barriers, fans, and dehumidifiers to create the ideal environment to dry your home out as quickly as possible. Standard dry times range between 3-5 days, but each situation is unique. The technician involved in your mitigation should take moisture readings to document the level of moisture saturation and to verify that the drying process is working properly. The final readings should show that the wet materials left in place have been restored to a normal moisture content. Once the area is dry, an anti-microbial agent should be applied to prevent any mold growth. If any of your home’s contents were damaged, you can reach out to your insurance agent for the recommendation of a company that specializes in cleaning and restoring contents. Some items may be salvageable, and some may not.

Once everything is dry and sanitized, the restoration company will begin to repair the damage and restore your home to its previous condition. Be sure the company you hire is properly licensed and insured to perform the required work. A scope of work should be provided to you, outlining the details of the work required to restore your home and the cost involved. The restoration company should communicate clearly and promptly with you throughout the process of rebuilding your home.

Damage of any kind to your home can be a disruptive and stressful experience and the company you hire to assist you with the repairs can either add to or help alleviate that stress. Do your research before hiring a company. Read online reviews, check out the Better Business Bureau to see if they are rated, and make sure they are properly certified, licensed and insured. A company who cares about the outcome of your home repairs is well worth the time it takes to find them.

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