5 Things to Know About Water Damage

The steps to take after water damage occurs

When a pipe breaks, a drain backs up, or any type of water damage occurs in your home, it can be overwhelming. You are looking at a mess and you will have more questions than answers running through your mind.

What do I do? Is everything ruined? Can I fix this myself? If not, who do I call?

And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?

Water damage is extremely stressful. The more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it.

Here are five things every homeowner needs to know about water damage.

1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.

Flood damage (rising water) is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. It is covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Homeowner’s policies that cover water damage are for sudden and accidental losses. Ex. Broken pipes, appliance overflow, etc.

2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.

You should look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.

3. Take action immediately to correct water damage. The damage will only get worse the longer it takes to correct it.

Secondary damage like water wicking into sheetrock or other building material adjacent to the primary area affected by the water can occur.

Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.

There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold can multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a licensed mold remediation company to safely treat and remove the mold.

To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry as quickly as possible. If you do not have the knowledge or required equipment, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Vector Restoration offers 24-hour emergency service, so you can start recovering your property quickly.

4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.

Call your insurance company immediately when you discover water damage. They may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do NOT have to call the company they recommend. You may choose any reputable water restoration company you choose to restore your property for the insurance claim. Be aware that most water restoration companies only dry the property, leaving you to do the reconstruction or find and hire other contractors to do it for you.

Vector Restoration offers Water Damage Restoration, Fire Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation, and Reconstruction. You will have the opportunity to work with one company from start to finish.

5. The pollution level of the water is important.

Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.

Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.

Category 2: Water that contains significant contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness. Examples are water from the discharge line of dishwashers or washing machines or water that has overflowed from the washing machine.

Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. Contact can cause severe illness or worse. Water from a sewage backup or storm water are examples.

Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination the water touches, such as dirty carpet or soil from the ground, can change the water damage category to Category 2 or even Category 3. And since standing water breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.

The category of the water determines the process used to clean your structure and property, and it might mean soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.

Preventing water damage is an important focus of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.