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In most cases, after your home has been damaged by water, the first thing you should do is attempt to remove as much water as possible by using a mop, wet/dry vac and dehumidifier, and opening windows. The next step is to document any damage with photos, videos and notes. Next, it’s time to call your insurance company. Repairs for some kinds of water damage may be covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy, so filing a claim as soon as possible is imperative. Damage from melting snow or burst pipes, for example, may be covered, while flooding may not, but you won’t know for sure without reviewing plan documents with an insurance agent. Depending on the extent of damage, contacting a water damage restoration company may also be required.
That depends on both the kind of furniture and the extent of the damage. Furniture made from plastic or metal may be easily salvageable, while wood furniture can be more problematic. In general, everything with upholstery should be thrown away, including couches, chairs, and mattresses. For sentimental or valuable pieces that aren’t severely damaged, it may be possible to remove upholstery and padding and have it redone. A professional is recommended to ensure furniture is repaired and appropriately preserved.
Mold is a serious issue that is, unfortunately, quite common after water damage. Treating mold isn’t negotiable. If it’s present, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. First, dry all areas and remove any items that have traces of mold. If you think there’s a possibility that mold may be in the walls or floors, a professional water damage restoration company is likely necessary.
Standing water can permanently damage wood floors, so acting fast is essential. Dry all affected areas and remove signs of mold as soon as possible, using tools such as squeegees, mops, and shop vacuums. First, remove all surface water and use a cleaning solution to thoroughly clean boards. Remove any signs of mold, mop up all remaining water, and keep the area thoroughly vented until floors are completely dry. Sanding and refinishing may be required. If the damage appears to be severe, floors can’t be adequately dried using tools available at home, or there are signs of significant corrosion, contact a water damage restoration company.
In many cases, insurance does cover water damage. This generally applies to incidental water damage, such as flooding from burst pipes. However, certain kinds of water damage likely won’t be covered, which is particularly true for flooding in areas that require separate flood insurance. Always check with your insurance company about policy details before filing a claim.
Contents restoration is very similar to personal property restoration. However, contents restoration is a term that’s used to refer to restoration in a place of business. Depending on the service and any applicable insurance policies, contents restoration might cover items such as office furniture, equipment, and inventory. Items may need to be removed and cataloged before being brought to an off-site restoration location. Typically, the goal is to clean and restore the items so they don’t look or smell damaged.
While every insurance policy is different, it's usually safe to assume that a homeowners insurance policy will cover sudden and accidental damage that's the result of a plumbing malfunction, such as a ruptured water heater or a burst pipe. Depending on the insurance company and coverage amounts included in the policy, the entire cost of water cleanup and restoration may be covered, or the insurance provider may only help with some of the repairs, such as damp or moldy drywall or ceilings.
Of course, there are many variables involved, and often, many cases in which insurance companies do not cover water damage. For example, if an appliance has been leaking for some time and the homeowner hasn't taken necessary precautions, insurance companies typically aren't willing to cover the cost of water damage that results from a leak. Additionally, most insurance policies don't automatically include coverage for flood damage; however, flood insurance can often be purchased as a supplement to homeowners policies.
Just as with homeowners insurance, renters insurance policies vary from provider to provider. While some do include coverage for leaks due to frozen or broken pipes that occur suddenly and accidentally, many policies are quite basic and only cover the cost of personal property lost in a burglary. It's important for renters to take the time to understand what's covered by their insurance, and if their policy doesn't cover water damage, they may want to consider shopping around for supplemental coverage.
In some cases, the property owner's insurance may cover some damages to renters' personal effects in the event of a plumbing emergency or natural disaster. Renters should inquire with their landlord about what exactly their property policy covers to determine if they should purchase additional insurance in case of an unexpected emergency that results in water damage.
Water damage mitigation is the term used to describe actions that may be taken to prevent excessive damage to property and belongings when water-related emergencies occur. It often includes:
Water damage restoration is the process that occurs after water has been cleaned up and damages have been assessed. It includes tasks like repairing or replacing drywall and floors, eliminating mold, and testing the air for humidity to ensure no further damage will occur.
It depends on the cause. Some scenarios that might be covered by a home warranty include:
While Sheetrock, or drywall, with minor water damage may dry out, in most cases, drywall that's been water-damaged quickly becomes unusable. Once it becomes wet, it softens and its structural integrity may be compromised. Even after drying out, previously damp drywall can have hidden mold growth inside. After drywall gets wet, a water damage restoration pro can assess the damage and recommend the best course of action.
There are several signs you can watch for in the home to determine if water damage may be present. This includes:
Category 3 water is water that contains dangerous contaminants, such as heavy metals, pesticides, or toxic organic waste. This type of water can seep into the home through sewer backups or overflows, or as a result of groundwater overflow or natural disasters. Cat 3 water can be extremely hazardous and as such, removal and cleanup must be completed by water damage restoration professionals.
When it comes to carpet and drywall, homeowners can expect the drying-out process to take a minimum of 72 hours. Once that process is complete, water damage restoration professionals can quickly assess the damage and begin repairs and reconstruction. The amount of time this takes depends on the size of the job, but in most cases, construction on a single room or floor of a home can be completed within one to two weeks.
In some cases, water damage isn't a huge deal. Minor issues, such as a leaky toilet or appliance, can typically be stopped quickly, and damage can be corrected in a matter of hours, provided the leak was caught soon enough. However, when large-scale water damage occurs, the consequences can be detrimental. Leaks that are left untreated, burst pipes or water heaters, natural disasters, and floods can all result in serious damage to the home's structure and may require considerably more money and time to restore.