You know the normal sounds your home makes.
The air conditioner kicking on as the dog days of summer begin. The heating system starting up on a cold, winter evening. The creak of a loose floorboard as someone rises early in the morning.
What you don’t normally hear — and you do not want to hear — are the sounds of spraying water from a broken pipe or hose, or a malfunctioning hot water tank or water filter system. Even worse is when this happens when you are not home and upon arrival you wade through inches of water on the floor, or duck from the dripping water from an upstairs leak.
When water damage occurs (and statistics say water damage claims are among the highest with
insurance companies) you need to act quickly. The #1 concern is to think “safety first.” Before entering into any areas of the home that are damage from flood waters, be sure that the power is turned off. Nothing is worth getting an electrical shock!
Next, find the water turn-off valve and stop the flooding. Many homeowners aren’t sure where the water turn-off valve is located. Now is the time to figure that out, and even put a tag on it so it is easy to find, especially in the dark or in the beam of a flashlight. Don’t delay… find that valve and mark it!
It’s always best to be prepared. Contact your water damage restoration contractor and get the info you need to be safe… just in case.
Mold and your Health
Mold is ever-present in our world. It contains tiny spores that commonly grow within household dust. When these mold spores become greater in quantity, they pose a health hazard to humans. As a result, humans face serious health hazards such as respiratory issues and allergic reactions.
They may also manifest something called mycotoxins. High exposure to these types of spores can cause serious health concerns such as neurological problems.
Since the spores are toxic to humans, a variety of harmful health problems can develop over time. Some people are more sensitive to the spores than others. Consequently, there is a higher risk for people with any sort of chronic lung illnesses, which will result in more caustic reactions when they are exposed to mold.
Some other troubling health concerns include:
- Nasal and sinus congestion, with a constantly runny nose.
- Eye irritation, including itchy, watery eyes.
- Wheezing, difficulty breathing and chest tightness.
- A lasting cough.
- Sore throat.
- Skin irritation, often a rash.
In most properties, the air conditioner will act as a dehumidifier, removing the moisture from the air. Basements, closed in porches, and crawlspaces need to have moisture removed from it different since air conditioning does not reach these areas in most cases.
Any water damage that occurs in a building needs to be treated quickly. The spores can grow quickly in right conditions. Mold will begin to grow within 24-72 hours once moisture and contaminants are present. As soon as water is found, remove the source of the water. If the roof is leaking, place a tarp over the roof. If a pipe is leaking, change the pipe. After the source is stopped, drying the property can take place. Most of all, it is highly important to have a certified and trained water damage technician be the one to dry it. When moisture spreads, it goes to places that are unseen. A trained technician will know the right method to dry all of the affected areas.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes how water damage situations (such as from a flood, leaky or broken pipe, sewage backup, etc) can be potentially hazardous… not just initially, but over time as well.
Why? Because of the potential of mold and how it affects human health. Exposure to damp and moldy environments and materials can be especially harmful to those sensitive to irritants common to mold contamination. Some find that even being outside near plant life in the process of decomposition is a problem. Mold and mildew can run rampant under certain conditions, causing allergic reactions.
So when a water damage does happen in your home, don’t take chances. Mold needs moisture. It needs to be fed. It will grow on organic materials that are wet. If you take away its “food” you inhibit the ability of mold to grow.
Remember that mold will grow in places with a lot of moisture, anywhere there is a leak. This can be around windows, behind walls where water has intruded, from leaky roofs, and especially from leaky pipes – especially those that are leaking and you didn’t know about it!
Many homeowners are tempted to clean up water that comes into their home, such as when a sump pump might fail or when a toilet might overflow. Good intentions for sure. But if you don’t get it really dry, really fast, there can be problems.
Here’s a scary thought: Some professional water damage experts won’t even do a water removal job if they can’t get to it within 24 hours. They know mold could have started to grow and that means more work than simply extracting water and drying the home could be required.
You don’t want all that headache. When any water intrudes into your home, remember it’s more than water. It’s breeding ground for mold. Do what’s best. Call your water damage pro!
Avoiding Wood Deck Woes
Wood decks can be beautiful things, add value and enjoyment to your home. Unless they are ignored or neglected, of course.
Like any surface in your home, a wood deck needs some special care. While a lower-cost alternative to pavers, concrete and other hard surface materials, wood decks are very attractive, especially if you chose a color tone that matches your home and is one you enjoy.
But after a year or two, aging happens and dirt and grime accumulates. Stains as well. You start to wonder what you can do to bring back to life the deck you admired so much. Continue reading “Avoiding Wood Deck Woes”
It’s a terrible sinking feeling (pun intended) you get when you drop your iPhone, iPad or Android — or other expensive hand-held electronic device — into water, such as a sink, bathtub or (gross) toilet.
When that happens, you respond quickly. You dip your hand into the offending reservoir, grab the device and shake it vigorously, hoping against all odds that you can force all moisture out before permanent damage occurs.
You may even dunk your device into a bag of rice, hoping that online tip you read about rice pulling moisture from electronic devices is true. You may submit it mercilessly to the business end of a hairdryer until it is too hot to hold.
What’s the best thing to do when electronic devices suffer from water damage? Continue reading “Water Damaged Electronics”
There are many reasons why a carpet can become smelly, from pet odors to heavy soiling and other causes. However, what some don’t realize is a little water intrusion can cause a big problem with the condition of their carpet, even after it seems the carpet has dried.
Water intrusions can be from many sources. If it is from a toilet (raw sewage), it’s almost always best to discard the carpet and pad and get something new. While doing that, be sure the sub-floor is also cleaned and disinfected appropriately, and sealed if necessary. If it is from an overflowing sink or a leaky pipe, the damage can usually be limited so purchasing new flooring isn’t always necessary.
But one of the biggest problems is waiting too long no matter the cause of the water damage in your home.
When you discover a wet carpet or rug, it’s time to get to work. Remove the water with extraction, and get some air movement and ventilation started on removing moisture.
However, here’s the problem. If the carpet isn’t dried really fast, like how professional water damage experts can dry carpet using their specialized tools and equipment, a persistent musty smell can develop. There’s not much a homeowner can do to fix that issue. In the winter months, when humidity is low, you may not notice the odor that much. But when summer arrives, with the higher humidity, those odors will come back with a vengeance.
Even worse, mold can begin to grow. No one wants potentially dangerous mold in their homes!
What’s the best solution? Call your water damage pros right away, before real damage sets it. They’ll be right over to save the day.
DID YOU KNOW that water is the most essential element of life? That’s right. We all need water. We need it to bathe, to drink, to water plants and the grass, and even to enjoy recreationally, such as in a swimming pool.
But are there times when you may wish water was scarce? Yes, such as when some water ends up where it shouldn’t be, like on your valuable wood floor.
When that happens, you must clean it up quickly. If you don’t, permanent damage can occur.
Have you ever walked or drove down a road and came across a sign that declared, “Floodplain Zone!”
If it was near your home, you might have panicked. But if it was somewhere far from your home, you felt safe.
A floodplain can be dangerous because any home in or near one is subject to flooding. If you have a basement, you have more to worry about.
But did you know that even if you live outside a floodplain, there are flooding issues that you must be aware of? Continue reading “Safe or Not Safe?”