16.Preventing Water Damage

The Importance of Preventing Water Damage

Industry experts estimate nearly 14,000 Americans experience a water damage emergency daily, while 98% of basements across the country will suffer from water damage in their lifetime.

What Happens When There’s Water Damage? Water damage generally means you’ll also experience furniture and appliance damage, structural issues, and/or mold and health issues if the water isn’t cleared out and cleaned up from your home as soon as possible. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions) and irritants. Allergic reactions include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash. Molds can also cause asthma attacks.” They go on to state, “mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic people and non-allergic people.

What Causes Water Damage In Your Home? It could be something as obvious as a flood or a hole in your roof, or by something subtler such as moisture dripping onto your home’s foundation, faulty appliances or even a leaky pipe. The average cost of water damage caused by an internally leaking water heater is $3,642, while a foot and a half of water in your home could cost you upwards of $26,000 in damages.

Do I Need To Call A Pro If I Have Water Damage? If you do experience water damage, seeking out the help of a professional water damage restoration company that can service your home in a timely and professional manner is ideal. Ask family and friends for recommendations, and consult an online rating service such as Angie’s List.

What Water Damage Coverage Is Included In Your Homeowner Policy? If you’re not sure, this is the perfect time to check. The longer you wait to perform a repair that’s water damage related, the more it’s going to cost you. Any time you experience water damage, one of your first calls should be to your insurance company to determine whether you have coverage to repair the specific issue you’re facing.

How to Prevent Water Damage

According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), there are three water damage categories consisting of:

Category One – clean water from a sanitary source

Category Two – greywater which potentially contains bacteria from a dishwasher or washer

Category Three – black water comprised of highly toxic sewage

Other areas of your home to inspect for and to protect against possible water damage include:

Drywall: A mere half-inch of water along the edge of a drywall sheet can easily spread as high as six inches in no time. While you can try to mitigate your loss by using fans and dehumidifiers, a professional contractor skilled in water damage recovery can use a commercial-grade dehumidifier that’s four times as effective before any harmful mold can take hold.

Flat roof: If your home has a flat roof, check to ensure there’s no build-up of debris, and that water freely runs off and doesn’t start pooling in certain areas

Gutters: Check to make sure they’re not restricted with debris, aren’t leaking and drain away from your home. You can find out if a drain pipe is clogged, try flushing with a hose. If it’s a stubborn clog, using a plumber’s snake usually does the trick. If you don’t have gutters on your home, consider installing them so water is directed away from your home to prevent slab or foundation damage, which would cost more to repair than installing rain gutters.

Irrigation: Frequently inspecting any garden hoses and outdoor faucets (also known as hose bibs) to ensure they’re not leaking will help prevent water damage to your foundation; change the washers as necessary.

Plumbing: Replace any leaky appliance hoses; consider installing a sump pump and/or water leak alarms if you’re located in a high flood risk area. If you already have a sump pump, check to make sure it’s in working order each spring; your sump pump has a life span ranging from seven to 10 years.

How to Monitor for Water Damage

Do A Walkabout. Inspecting your home on a regular basis is key to preventing water damage. On a regular walkthrough of your house, you may notice an area of condensation or a water stain starting to form on a specific ceiling area. Before it gets any worse, you’ll be able to conduct any necessary repairs to ensure the damage doesn’t progress any further.

Is Your Water Bill Higher Than Normal? If you experience a spike in your water bill, this could easily be a sign of excess water consumption or a potential damage problem.

Do You Live In A Flood Prone Area? Smart water leak detectors can be installed and in the prescience of water will immediately send an alert to your phone. Some systems will even monitor ambient temperature and humidity, as well as being able to instantaneously shut the water off to your home.

What is Condensation? Simply put, condensation is water or frost that forms on a surface such as a door, skylight, or window, or in your basement. Condensation could be caused by higher than normal indoor humidity, contrasting colder outdoor temperatures, or where the indoor temperature of surfaces are less than the dew point (the temperature at which the air’s moisture visibly turns into liquid) of the air surrounding them. Relative humidity refers to how much moisture is in the air in comparison to how much moisture the air can hold at any given temperature; warmer air holds more moisture than does cooler air.

How to Reduce Condensation in Your Home:

  • If you’re already using a humidifier, adjust the output
  • Ensure there’s proper ventilation in your home, especially near areas where humidity regularly occurs
  • Use the bathroom fan every time any family member has a bath or shower to remove excess moisture
  • During the day, open curtains and blinds (if it’s not extremely hot outside)
  • Know that items such as aquariums, plants, and fresh paint within your home cause contribute to overall moisture levels
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