Water Damage to Your House

Water damage in the home can be a nightmare for homeowners. Whether it comes in quickly, like during a storm or flood, or accumulates slowly over time like from a leak, water can cause significant structural damage and even threaten your health. The longer water damage is allowed to continue, the more extensive and expensive the repairs become. You must work quickly to remove the water and dry your property and belongings.

If your home has experienced water damage, the risks are many. You may need to repair or replace walls, floors, ceilings, furniture, clothing, or personal items. Floods can bring hazardous chemicals or sewage carrying dangerous bacteria into your house. Furthermore, you will likely face mold growth where the water has infiltrated your home, if it is not dried out quickly enough. Mold can cause damage your home and your health, so it’s critical to remove it immediately.

To properly deal with water damage, we recommend contacting an experienced professional right away. He or she can evaluate the extent of the damage and make recommendations or perform necessary repairs.

water damage to houseWater damage and mold on ceiling

Threats to Your House from Water Damage

Water damage to your house can be caused a variety of problems, including rushing storm water or floods, a leaky roof, broken appliances, frozen pipes, and more. Water damage is expensive and unfortunately common. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage happens to 1 in 50 homeowners each year, averaging nearly $10,000 in damage claims.

Wet walls and ceilings, soggy carpet and saturated personal belongings will be obvious when your house experiences water damage. But water can also damage things not seen so easily such as wood beams, trusses, metal fasteners and other structural pieces. Even the slow drip of a leaky pipe behind a wall can cause significant damage if not caught quickly.

One of the biggest threats to your home from water damage is mold. Water damage often happens in dark, hidden areas like the basement or attic, that foster the growth of mold. If the water damage isn’t found, the mold will continue to grow. Mold is a type of fungus, a living organism. As mold grows, it can penetrate and eat away at materials like drywall and wood, which poses risks to your home’s structural integrity and safety.

Health Risks from Water Damage to House

Homeowners need to be aware of the health risks from water damage to your house in addition to the threats water poses to your home’s structure.

Mold isn’t just a danger to your house; it’s a major threat to your health, too. Mold can easily start to grow after your house has experienced water damage. It grows readily on damp wood, carpet, drywall, ceiling tiles, grout, fabric, flooring and more. There are many types of mold, and most act as an allergen. Once mold spores become airborne (which frequently happens when the mold is disturbed), they can be inhaled, which triggers cold-like symptoms. These symptoms include nasal and sinus congestion, sore throat, sneezing, watery eyes, and asthma symptoms like wheezing and cough. People with compromised immune symptoms, young children and the elderly are at risk of more severe health problems from mold including fungal infections and serious respiratory illness. Mold must be removed promptly to protect against these health problems.

While mold may be the most common health threat from water damage, it’s not the only one. Floodwaters and sewage backup such as from your septic system can bring dangerous chemicals and bacteria into your house. In the event of a major storm, downed power lines can conduct electricity through floodwaters, creating an electrical hazard. Water damage can be hazardous to your health, and it’s critical that you take it seriously and get professional help right away.

What to Do If You Have Water Damage in Your House

If you have experienced flooding, leaks or any other home water damage, you need to deal with the water immediately. The most important things to do to protect your home and your health is to get rid of the water, dry everything and repair the damage.

flooded basementFlooded Basement

Before you start, you need to make sure you have the proper personal protective equipment. If you had flooding or your home was damaged by sewage or other hazards, wear waterproof boots, rubber gloves, goggles and a n-95 breathing mask.

Begin by discarding items that cannot be salvaged such as carpeting, upholstered furniture, books, drywall, insulation, etc. Next remove the water. Small amounts can be cleaned up with towels. Water from a more significant leak or flood may require a pump to remove. In the event of a truly major flood, a contractor can bring in a professional grade pump to remove the water.

Fans and dehumidifiers can be used to dry the area where the water damage took place. You may need to run them for several days or even weeks to give your property time to dry completely. Professionals have commercial dehumidifiers that work much faster.

Some items may not be able to be dried, or will take too long to dry and mold may start to grow. Mold can grow on wet items in as little as 24-48 hours. These items should be removed from your home as soon as possible.

After your home is dry, you can begin working on repairing or replacing damaged materials and belongings.

In most cases, major water damage is too much for a homeowner to handle themselves.

How to Get Help

Water damage in your house may be beyond your ability to handle. If you need help dealing with water damage, contact a professional. You can get immediate, 24-hour assistance by calling 877-960-0491. A local, experienced professional will answer your questions and can dispatch help to your home to start addressing the water damage right away.

Additional Reading:

Does Insurance Cover Water Damage - How to know if your homeowners insurance will cover a water damage claim. What is likely to be covered, and what won't be covered.

Leaky Roof Water Damage - Causes of leaks in the roof, stopping the leak, cleanup protocol.

Water Leak Detectors - Guide to buying and using water leak sensors. Types, where to place them....

Water Damage To Ceilings - Causes, finding the leak, preventing mold, guide to repairs. When to repair it yourself and when to call in an expert.

Refrigerator Leaks - A look at common causes of refrigerator leaks, fixes, inspecting and assessing water damage, and preventing mold.

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