5 Important Questions You Should Ask About Water Damage
Has water damage happened to you? Here are 5 key steps to keep it from getting worse.
1. How do I turn off all the water to my home so the flooding stops? The most important step to immediately stop all continued water damage is to know where your main water valve is should you find yourself in a situation where your home is flooded due to excessive water damage. Most of the time you can find your main water valve in one of the following areas:
A. Basements – the shut-off valve is usually settled close to to the front foundation wall. The main water might have return through the concrete floor or through the wall. The valve is usually inside 3-5 feet of wherever the most water enters. In some cases, the main water may enter in a different area, like a mechanical room, up through the floor, near the water heater or furnace.
B. Crawl-space and a basement – the shut-off valve is also wherever the water enters the basement or in some older homes, the shut-off may be inside the crawl space. If the latter is true, you may want to consider a secondary valve located in the basement.
C.) Crawl-space with no basement – the shut off valve can usually be settled close to the hot water heater or beneath the sink, but anywhere is possible. As with “B” on top of, it may be inside the crawl-space; in which case, you may want to consider a secondary valve located up in the living space (near the water heater or under a sink).
D. Slab-on-grade construction – the shut-off valve can usually be settled close to the hot water heater or beneath the sink, however anyplace is feasible.
2. Insurance - is it important to check my policy to see if water damage vs. flood damage are both covered? I know it sounds crazy and you might be saying what is the difference whether its from a burst pipe or actual flood however flood damage is not covered by home insurance policies so it is important to clarify with your claims agent that you have water damage to begin adjusting the claim properly. Note: If you live in an area likely to be flooded, we recommend you contact your home owners insurance to see who they recommend can provide you the best coverage.
3. Is all water damage covered by my insurance policy? We can't state enough how important it is to become familiar with what your insurance policy truly covers under their "Water Damage Section". Most policies will cover excessive rain damage caused from a really bad storm, burst pipes, washing machine over flow, flooded bathtub, shower or toilet however they may not cover poorly maintained property issues (sprinkler damage, flooded yard, ect.) as well as slow longer term leaks that occur over time.
4. What happens after the water damage has occurred? At the point when your property has been water damaged, you don't have the advantage of waiting before beginning to clean up as an immediate secondary problem begins to happen called Black Moldwhich can cause an extreme health risk to everyone including your pets in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, however its needs moisture and a nutrient source to grow. Guess what? That is exactly what a wet carpet and drywall offer, a nasty breading ground. How much time do you have? According to most experts including FEMA you have approximately 24 to 48 hour window from the time your carpet or drywall gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that, mold will multiply rapidly which may require a professional mold remediation service to properly and safely remove all mold which can be very costly.
How do I prevent this from happening? Act immediately, to prevent mold growth you will need to get your property (carpet, drywall) completely dry within 48 hours. Try to remove as much of the water as possible and call a company that specializes in emergency water extraction and water damage restoration. This will save you a lot of time and headache as they will have water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as soon as possible. Most water damage companies have a 24 hour emergency hotline so you will be able to have them at your door within a couple of hours.
5. When should I contact my insurance company? As soon as you are aware that you have water damage it is important to contact your insurance company as they can start a claim immediately and help guide you through initial steps you will need to take to help prevent further damage to your property, such as turning off the main water valve which will cut off all water flow within your home. A lot of the time your insurance provider may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. The option is always yours to work with any licensed restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim.