Pictured here is a set of photos from a dishwasher leak that caused major damage in a kitchen. The cabinets and walls behind the kitchen both had to be removed because of water damage and mold. The flooring also had to be removed, as the subfloor was soaked through.
Just as it looked like we weren’t getting a winter, the cold has returned. This coming week, in our service area, snow is expected to accumulate anywhere from six to twelve inches. With the snow, comes dramatic drops in temperature which could cause some unforeseen issues if left without care. And one of those issues is frozen pipes. When a pipe bursts because of freezing, it can rapidly cause thousands of dollars in water damage to your property. Making sure exposed piping is wrapped in insulation is one way to avoid such an issue, but exterior spigots should be shut off and the excess water within the pipe drained. Last year alone we were involved in dozens of burst pipe claims that cost home owners over one hundred and thirty three thousand in total damage. Some bursts effected kitchens which completely destroyed cabinets, while others ripped through multiple floors leaving behind water damage that took days to remediate. So, be sure to check your pipes as the temps drop for the next week to avoid the potential of major water damage restoration.
Most of the country is in some kind of a flood zone, a designation that indicates the area’s risk of flooding – some are just more severe than others. So, what does that mean for you as a homeowner? It means you are at risk of flooding, even if it hasn’t happened in your area in recent memory. And, it also means that you may want to consider buying flood insurance.
Here are five important things to know about a policy for flood coverage:
- It’s a separate policy. The typical homeowners insurance policy does not offer any coverage for flooding. None. But, you can likely purchase a separate flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. A few carriers in Florida also offer private flood insurance as an alternative. Your independent agent can help you find coverage in your area.
- Different flood zones have different flood insurance costs. The zone in which you reside will help determine your flood insurance costs, along with other factors. And, yes, the more severe the flood zone, the higher your insurance rates may be.
- Your lender may require it. If you purchase a house in one of the more severe flood zones, your lender will likely require you to carry flood insurance as a condition of your loan. If you purchase the home with cash or pay off your mortgage, it will be up to you whether or not you carry the coverage. Just be sure to discuss any major insurance changes with an independent agent first.
- Flood insurance is not just for coastal areas. Take, for example, the flooding just this year in West Virginia, Texas and Tennessee. It all goes to show that even if you don’t live near the coast, a flood could still devastate your area – and your home.
- What your policy covers will depend on the policy itself. Most people who buy flood insurance want dwelling and contents coverage. Be sure you understand what you’re buying and how much coverage you’ll have. An independent agent can help.
Keep in mind that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) periodically updates its flood zone maps. Even if you have flood insurance now, you may want to check whether it is still insuring you at the level you want. If you don’t have flood insurance and you think you could benefit from it, be sure to contact an independent insurance agent.
When water damage occurs in your home either from a roof leak, plumbing issue or from any other source, it’s imperative to extract the water and completely dry it out as soon as possible. Waiting long periods of time will only increase the chance of microbial growth and also increase the chances you’ll need mold remediation down the road which can prove to be costly. Another issue many home owners encounter is the fact that even though many water damage restoration companies claim to have 24 hour emergency service, not many actually live up to it. Customers in distress end up leaving messages or the contractor will attempt to convince them that they can do it later and nothing will happen. The fact is, not only is mold a risk, but also more damage to personal contents, water wicking, structural damage, etc.
When you have a flood in your home or commercial property, the quicker you get the water out the less damage you will have. So leaving messages or waiting a few days is not going to help you. What you need to do is immediately address the source of the water, then you have to contact a water damage restoration company who completely understands the urgency to have the home structurally dried. You also have to consider if you’re going to contact your insurance company, and if so, then you will need a water damage restoration company who is fully capable of working with your adjuster and has the proper certifications, software for billing and knowledge to provide full documentation for your claim.
We at Mold Solutions & Inspections are IICRC (The Clean Trust) Certified in Water Damage Restoration among many other earned certifications, and handle over two hundred water losses per year. We have a 24 hour emergency service that is unmatched and you will always speak to a live person when you call us no matter the time or day, holidays and weekends included. Each and every employee also undergoes hours of training and continuing education every year so you know that every person working in your home has the experience to address any issue. And it is because of this that we’ve won the Angie’s List Award for Water Damage Restoration every year since 2011, a feat which no other disaster restoration company has accomplished. So if water should have a water loss on your property, you can rest assured we’ll be there to bring your back to pre-loss conditions.
Water backup occurs when the water around the foundation of your home exceeds the capacity of removal systems to drain it. It can occur from surface water seeping into foundation walls or sewer systems overflowing up through drains in the basement.
- Maintain gutters and downspouts, keeping them free of debris and leaves and repairing them if they are sagging
- Inspect your gutters’ capacity – after fifteen minutes of heavy rain, if water overflows the gutters, install additional downspouts
- Extend downspouts at least ten feet away from the house
- Adjust landscaping and irrigation so that water flows away from the foundation
- Drain subsurface groundwater and storm water with a sump pump system that has battery backup and replacement warnings
- Run your sump pump every few months and clean it annually before the rainy season
- Prevent backflow of sanitary sewer water by installing backflow valves and standpipes at all basement drain locations, including sinks and toilets
- Prepare your basement “just in case” by raising your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace, all electrical wiring and personal items above typical water backup levels
Recovering From A Backup
- Remove standing water to prevent structural damage
- Dry all wet carpets, rugs and personal belongings to prevent mold growth
- Sanitize all areas and materials in contact with sewer water
- Consult with a licensed building professional who can determine the extent of repairs if necessary
Hiring a general contractor or the wrong type of remediation contractor can lead to even more damage and the possibility of mold. Always insist on a certified water restoration contractor and remember, you can hire any contractor of your choosing if you file a claim with your insurance.
There’s not many people who are complaining about this weather. Seventy degrees plus on Christmas and now today we may see seventy again. But with this warm weather comes the chance of humidity spikes and temperatures issues in your attic. Many homeowners make the mistake of the turning their attic fans off in the winter forgetting that there is more grains per pound in cold air than in warm air, thus increasing your chances for humidity issues in your attic due to the cold airs ability to retain moisture. With dense fog and high temperatures now, an attic without circulation can build up moisture on the joist, trusses, and sheathing causing the potential of mold growth. Attic fans should be turned on, especially now with the constant fluxuation in temperature. They should also be monitored to assure the humidity levels aren’t that high and the moisture content is under control. Failure to do so can lead to mold growth which will end up costing you thousands of dollars in remediation. Remember, just because you can’t see your attic doesn’t mean it isn’t apart of your home. It too needs maintenance and upkeep to prevent very costly issues.