Catastrophic floods and storms like recent Sandy may grab all the headlines, but more common water damage issues and repairs end up costing homeowners, renters, and landlords billions of dollars every year.
In this article we are going to address some of the frequently asked questions related to Water Damage situations in Upstate New York cities and towns. We’ll focus on the following:
- Water damage and mold
- Water damage and carpet
- Water damage and hardwood floors
- Water damage and ceiling
- Water damage vs. Flood damage
- Water damage prevention
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Flooding or Water Damage causes building materials and furnishings to get wet.
That creates an ideal environment for mold spores that are everywhere around us to grow and multiply. Mold growth promotes decay of the buildings and building materials. In addition, large quantities of mold in the air cause health problems. Some molds also produce mycotoxins that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. Health implications from mold exposure vary greatly depending on the individual and the amount of mold in the building. Symptoms could include
- Nasal and throat conditions
- Eye irritation such as itchy, red or watery eyes
- Skin rash
Mold infections are particularly a concern for people with severely suppressed immune systems. The State Health Department recommends the following steps to reduce the potential risk:
- Promptly remove standing water and all porous wet materials such as carpeting, saturated wallboard (sheetrock) and upholstered furniture from the home.
- Aggressively ventilate the home to dissipate moisture by opening windows and using fans, if available. Dehumidifiers are useful in enclosed areas or when windows need to be closed because of rain or high humidity.
- Clean mold from small areas on hard surfaces, such as wood or concrete, by scrubbing the area with a cleaning rag wetted with diluted detergent. Rubber gloves and a dust mask can be used to minimize direct exposure to contaminants and cleaning products.
- Discard porous materials such as drywall, carpeting, upholstered furniture and ceiling tiles with extensive mold growth.
- Check routinely for new mold growth or signs of moisture that may indicate the need for cleanup, home repair, or removal of affected materials. A mold problem can usually be seen or smelled. Mold growth may often appear as slightly furry, discolored, or slimy patches that increase in size as they grow. Molds also produce a musty odor that may be the first indication of a problem. The best way to find mold is to examine areas for visible signs of mold growth or water staining, or follow your nose to the source of the odor. Be careful when using household cleaners or disinfectant products. Read and follow all label directions and warning labels before mixing any products. Mixing some products (for example, products containing ammonia and bleach) can create hazardous fumes.
- Keep children away from both cleaning products and areas where mold is present. Individuals with known mold allergies or asthma should not clean or remove mold, as their condition may be aggravated.
- Hire an experienced professional for a large mold problem, or if you are highly sensitive to mold
If you live in Rochester, NY area or Upstate New York, call A-Plus Cleaning and Restoration 585-325-3000 – we are ready to help you.
Any individuals who experience health problems after exposure to mold should immediately contact their health care provider. For additional information on mold and suggested cleanup tips, visit New York State Department of Health information about Water Damage and Mold Another useful resource is United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Mold Resources WATCH A BRIEF SEGMENT ABOUT HURRICANE SANDY AND MOLD
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Every Flood or Water Damage situation is different.
When the carpeting is soaked after the flood it is critical to establish the source of water before deciding on the course of action. Depending on the water the carpet could be restored or discarded as a major health hazard. Water that caused the flooding could be
- Category 1 Water, or Sanitary – clean water, usually comes from pipes or rain
- Category 2 Water, “Grey” or Unsanitary – ater that is only slightly contaminated, such as dirty dishwater or contaminated toilet water overflows
- Category 3 Water, or Black Water – heavily contaminated water containing untreated sewage
- Stop the water flow to prevent further damage
- Take the wet carpet outside if possible. If taking it outside isn’t possible, lift it off the floor and tear off the padding.
- Remove any remaining water with a mop or a wet vacuum cleaner
- Scrub the floors with a bleach solution – 7-10 tablespoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water
- Ventilate the room with industrial size fans for 36-48 hours, and if possible, keep the windows open
- Run dehumidifier to speed up the drying process
If you live in Rochester, NY area or Upstate New York, call A-Plus Cleaning and Restoration 585-325-3000
We are ready to help you clean, dry and restore your water damaged carpet and property.
So, how do you treat hardwood floors after the flood?
The first step is to remove moisture from the floor if any is still present. You can do this with fans (for better results use powerful industrial size fans), dehumidifiers and other drying methods used above and below the floor.
If the floor was under water for a significant amount of time, it is best to hire a professional water damage restoration company to make sure the floor is dried properly. After the drying is complete, you may see that the following signs of water damage:
- dark stains
- the floor is cupping, or “curves”
- the floor is buckled – it has completely unattached itself from the sub-floor
Depending on the degree of the damage, dark stains or cupped floors could be cured by professional Hardwood Flooring companies who could sand and refinish the floors using the right tools.
When the floor is buckled, often the best course it to replace it.
If you live in Upstate New York or Rochester, NY area –
Call A-Plus Cleaning and Restoration 585-325-3000
We are ready to help you dry, clean and arrange to restore or replace your water damaged hardwood floors by one of our trusted partners.
What Causes Water Damage To A Ceiling?
You left your kitchen sink running… your bathtub overflowed… pipes broke and caused flooding… your roof is leaking… a sink above is leaking – those are some of the typical examples that cause water damage to a ceiling.And then, like with any water damage situation, there are all sorts of questions:
- How long should you wait before making any repairs, to the water damaged ceiling area?
- Do you have to remove the actual sheetrock/drywall to your damaged ceiling area or can you just let the water dry and patch the ceiling?
- You see a pucker in the ceiling where the water was – what would cause that kind of damage and can it be fixed without removing the drywall ceiling area?
- You just see a wet area on the ceiling – how damaged is it and can you repair it right away?
Without looking at your specific situation, there are no easy answers to those question, except two basic rules:
- Before you start any repairs, it is critical to make sure that the leak/ source of water damage is established and is taken care of
- The ceiling area is completely and thoroughly dried and cleaned and the possibility of mold growth is significantly reduced.
If the ceiling has been completely dry for a while and you just have a dark spot, the video below shows
How to Repair a Water Damaged Plaster Ceiling
A step-by-step demonstration of repairing ceiling’s bubbling plaster and paint caused by water damage:
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If the water damage to the ceiling is significant, it might require calling water damage restoration professionalswho are equipped not only to repair the ceiling, but most importantly to ensure that there is no water leakage and re-mediate or reduce the possibility of mold growth.
If you live in Rochester, NY area or Upstate New York, call A-Plus Cleaning and Restoration 585-325-3000 – we are ready to help.
It Pays To Know The Difference
A flood is a covering by water of land not normally covered by water.
When your property is filled with damaging water, many wonder if the Insurance will cover the losses.
That depends on the type of insurance you chose to purchase and how the water entered your house.
There basically are two insurance policies that deal with a homeowner’s damage due to water — a flood insurance policy and a homeowners insurance policy.
Only Flood Insurance Will Cover Your Flood Losses.
Insurance buyers guide states:
“A homeowners insurance policy does not provide coverage for flood damage, but it does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home. Just the opposite from flood damage, for insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. A few examples of water damage may include:
- A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain free access to your home.
- A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.
- A broken water pipe spews water in your home.
Even if your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover the water or flood damage you’ve experienced, losses from theft, fire or explosion resulting from that damage are covered. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your possessions after you’ve evacuated the house, the theft would be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, the flood damage would be covered only if you have flood insurance.
Flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other.”
Ask your insurance agent about your coverage and make sure you are adequately covered for water and flood damage related losses.
State Farm Insurance has created this video to share some simple steps that you can take in order to prevent water damage to your home.
Preventing Water Damage to Your Home
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Avoid Water Damage from Frozen Pipes
Below is a quick Check List for Water Damage prevention:
Check under your sinks for signs of leaks.
Most of the time the costliest damage to a property result from invisible wall leaks.
- clogged toilets and drains
- blocked up garbage disposals
- rusting pipes
- roots growing into a sewer line
- prevent freezing of the pipes
Heating and Air Conditioning Systems:
Imbalanced duct systems can draw outside humidity through walls. In addition to causing damage to the property, moist air also provides breeding grounds for mold spores.
Be sure to service your air conditioner on a regular basis.
Regularly monitor your appliances:
- Hot water tanks
- Washing machines
- Water heaters
One of the most frequent problem areas because moisture in the form of dripping or condensation can accumulate through the concrete or stone foundation of your home.
The best way to minimize the possibility of water damage through your basement is to waterproof your basement by a professional company that specializes in basement waterproofing.
Air leakage between the attic and the house bring moisture into the attic which condenses on the underside of the roof. This can then cause rotting and mold.
Maker sure that light fixtures as well as holes for pipes and wires going into your attic are airtight. Take care of leaky attic access points, and exhaust fans venting into the attic.