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Residential Water Damage

Residential Water Damage

Residential Water Damage


Understanding Residential Water Damage

Residential Water damage is an emergency related service homeowner’s need when they discover unwanted water has intruding into the living space of their homes. Such water can result from a leaky or broken water pipe, toilet overflow, drain backup or appliance malfunction. Identifying the source of the intrusion is essential so you can quickly stop further damage by turning the water main off, in most cases.

HOW BAD IS RESIDENTIAL WATER DAMAGE? It is about as destructive an energy as fire and can do permanent harm to a homes structural integrity and in severe cases cause black mold and other toxic conditions. Within the first 24 hours of a flood condition hard wood flooring can be completely destroyed, electrical switches and receptacles can be shorted out, drywall and wood base can swell and become defaced, supportive wood substrates can become compromised and a perfect environment for mold growth exist.

This is why it’s always best to act quickly and get professional help for water damage in the home. Each hour water languishes as a destructive energy the more your home will suffer in the long run. Water will continue to absorb into materials and water will become more contaminated which is when microorganisms begin to thrive. 

2 IMPORTANT FACTS TO CONSIDER: According to the Insurance Research Industry 98% of all basements in the US will at some point experience some sort of residential water damage. Homeowners are not alone when indoor flood damage lifts its ugly head unexpected.

The second startling fact is many homeowners are unaware that their homeowner’s policy may not  cover residential flood damage, if the source of the water is from a sewer or drain. The needed coverage in these situations requires an additional policy addendum requiring a yearly premium and has a monetary limit usually at $5,000 – $20,000.

How Quickly Does Residential Water Damage Progress?

Even what seems insignificant like a water leak or wet carpeted area can be more complicated than at first glance. A more detailed evaluation can often show water has migrated to other rooms and even deluged down to a lower level of the home. Now suddenly what seemed harmless has demonstrated itself to be more problematic. Professional water restorers use sensitive moisture detection meters that will often discover even more concerns than what the naked eye can uncover. 

Time Lapse Progression of Residential Water Damage

THE FIRST 24 HOURS: As water from a leak or drain spreads in the home it saturates everything it come into contact with. Your valued furnishings, clothing, paper products, pictures, books and wood furniture all will gladly absorb as much water as possible. That’s what cellulose and absorbent materials do and this is a natural phenomena that works against you. Additionally the construction materials your home is comprised of will do the same. Drywall, carpets, wood flooring, doors and trim and cabinetry are also in a state of emergency, requiring restoration and drying. If your property is left to languish without proper treatment the time lapse progress of destruction advances to another level.

If the water source is from a roof leak than ceilings, insulation, electrical components and fixtures are at risk and the needed property restoration will be more involved to fully remedy this hapless condition.

THE FIRST WEEK CONDITION: Doors and windows are now so swollen they may be completely frozen in place, window frames are noticeably warped and swollen, wood flooring has buckled and lifted making it dangerous to walk on without tripping. Making matters worse, behind all wood trim and in each wet wall cavity mold has begun to develop and spread. It is not unusual for mild to not only be physically present, but at one week it can be seen as discolored and blotchy spots on multiple surfaces. 

All it takes for mold to manifest and thrive in a home is moisture, stagnant air and an absence of UV lighting. This “perfect storm” will heighten the level of concern for occupants and in some instances the home could be inhabitable till restoration steps are implemented. Human safety is a critical concern when residential water damage has been left to itself for a week or more.

MORE THAN ONE WEEK:  The homes condition is dire and human health is at risk by merely breathing the indoor air. Mold will be seen almost everywhere especially seen on cellulose materials like boxes, paper, drywall and wood doors and trim. Before any of these materials that are replete with mold can be removed from the home, indoor air quality must be managed. An air filtration system forcing air directly out of the home must be placed and a plant-based anti-microbial agent needs to be applied to all wet materials, prior to stirring up air.

Here are Some Sources Of Residential Water Damage

There are an assortment of issues that cause residential water damage, some sudden, others occurring slowly over time. Lets consider several of these nuisances that have created grand scale head-aches for some homeowners.

APPLIANCE MALFUNCTIONS: There are no limits to the damage a faulty water using appliance like a dish washer or washing machine can produce. Expensive kitchen floors and cabinets can be permanently damaged,  electrical systems can be affected and if there is a basement below, it is sure to get substantial water damage.

PLUMBING LINES THAT LEAK OR BREAK: Fresh water issue resulting from plumbing fixtures or broken water pipes are a common household problem. It can even result from running water to sinks and tubs that someone forgets to shut off. Believe it or not distractions from crying children and ringing phones are responsible for highly intelligent people suddenly forgetting they have water running. Once the child is addressed or the phone hung up, embarrassment and shock is looming in their near future.

BACKUPS FROM SEWERS OR DRAINS: This is probably the most common type of residential water damage that homeowners experience. Although basement flood damage can come from above such as from the main floor, it is most often a result of a sewage backup or sump pump failure. Be sure to have a conversation with your insurance agent to inquire if you have coverage for backup sewers or drains. This requires a special policy and many homeowners are in need of it, believing falsely they already have it.

If you do not have the backup of sewer or drain addendum then it is almost certain your claim for basement flood cleanup will be denied. Policies can be remarkably affordable and limits for coverage can be as high as $20,000.00.

FOUNDATION ISSUES, CRACKS & HOLES: This scenario of water entering into the basement usually happens during inclement weather of heavy rains. If your foundation has acquired small cracks, rod hole leaks or a wall crack your basement will become wet. Sometimes its just a small intrusion noticed at an exterior wall, but in rare instances can enter with a fierce vengeance and flood the entire basement.

Be sure to inspect your basements foundation yearly for new compromises as residential water damage from a foundation is not covered by homeowners insurance.  

COMMUNITY FLOODING: This source of flooding is catastrophic and will cost the most to remedy. Your homeowners policy will not cover flood damage that happens when entire communities are effected from a river that overflows, dams that break or streams that crest over their banks. Water that originates from outside the home from such examples requires insurance through FEMA or some other governmental agency or national carrier. This kind of residential water damage affects many in the US and is the most destructive and financially devastating. 

What to do First When Residential Flood Damage Happens?

As soon as residential water damage is discovered it is important to act as soon as possible to reduce cost and minimize structural damage to the home. The longer the wait the more time is given for the manifestation of mold and germs, as they will grow rapidly in moisture rich environments. Your best choice is to contact a professional water damage company. They will access the damage and create a sensible approach to restoring your home.

The professionals at Action Extraction of Macomb Michigan offer free inspections and will evaluate residential water damage without charge. Our evaluation includes an in depth inspection of property damage using sensitive moisture meters. Our skilled appraisal of the affects of the water damage will be vital to your insurance company as well as determining the protocol for restoration.

The naked eye is a poor gauge to determine the severity of a water loss and is never capable of seeing hidden moisture presence in building materials that are a food source for mold.  

Correctly Classifying Residential Water Damage

Whatever the source of your water intrusion, the most important step is the correct classification of the water damage contamination level. Correctly assigning the appropriate cleanup procedure must happen for the restoration to be effective at killing germs and successfully drying all wet materials, so there remains no possibility for mold growth.

DON’T ALLOW PROFESSIONALS OF OTHER TRADES TO GUIDE RESIDENTIAL WATER RESTORATION: Plumbers, heating and cooling contractors and handyman are skilled at their profession, but not at property restoration. Beware of presumptuous advice from other trades, as it is abundantly rare to find one who is insured, trained or certified in residential water damage restoration.

In the remote possibility you discover one that has experience and credentials it is crucial they understand the ever changing dynamics of the water damage industry. If they do not document correctly or do things contrary to the latest industry standards you may have your claim denied or paused for months, waiting for an answer. Using a local certified water damage restoration firm will provide you with a headache free restoration experience while adding trust to the insurance claim process, which is important.

Steps Of Water Damage Restoration

Once the scope of damage has been assessed and the source of water taken into account, then cleanup and drying should begin. Whether the source of the water damage is contaminated like a sewer backup or fresh from a water pipe, care must be taken to manage the air quality. In all drying processes water is becoming vapor and will be easily breathed in by occupants.

Action Extraction will place an air filtration device on each project that requires such management as well as disinfecting all surfaces with plant based disinfectants. Residential water damage cleanup must always take into account that occupants will be living in the home during the mitigation process and the conditions must be safe and manageable.

3 Types Of Water Damage Contamination

Not all water is created equal when it comes to residential water damage. Just as one would take a drink out of a drinking fountain but not a lake, so is noticing the different levels of contaminates in water damage important. According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), which is the organization recognized for creating the standards for water damage cleanup, there are 3 types of water damage. 

Category 1 Water Damage

Fresh water from a water pipe, toilet tank overflow, drinking fountain and hot water heater. The amount of contamination is relatively small and is the least dangerous to human health. Rapid restoration service must still be introduced as allowing moisture in building materials will become naturally contaminated in as little as 72 hours.

Category 2

Water with measurable contamination of living organisms and particulates also referred to as grey water. The amount of impurity is rather high and the potential for mold is very probable. Several types of this residential water damage is water from a discharge line of a dish washer or washing machine, aquarium water, sink and tub over flows, water from roof leaks and the most common being from a sump pump well.

Category 3

Water that is very infectious and dangerous when it comes into contact with the indoor air environment of a residential home. Contamination levels are at their highest and this category of water is regularly referred to in the residential water damage industry as black water. Human health risk are present and the water so unsanitary that any material that comes into contact with it like dry wall, carpet, paneling, flooring and cabinetry must be completely removed. Bacteria, pathogens and infection will result if property is not cleaned and restored correctly.

Sources of category 3 water come from sewers, drain backups, sewer pipe breaks, toilet clogs that make an in home back up, flooding from rivers, streams and water from a roof that has bird droppings. Careful cleaning must be enacted in this type of residential water damage cleanup or germs will be sure to remain.

Why Action Extraction For Residential Water Damage

Action Extraction in located in Macomb MI and has provider of residential water damage restoration since the firm began in 1988. We have been a Michigan leader for over 30 years and show our credentials to potential customers immediately upon our arrival.

While one may consider a local plumber, handymen or carpet cleaner that assert themselves to be a qualified provider of emergency property restoration, it is important to be certified, insured and familiar with the insurance industry.

Action Extraction technicians are highly trained, certified and register in continuing education classes each year. Just as you wouldn’t utilize a dermatologist to implement a hernia surgery, you shouldn’t just use individuals in related fields that are not expert.

Steps to Take While Waiting on the Professionals

All flooding whether from a small spill or major water catastrophe will move quickly placing importance on first steps. While waiting for the professionals there are several practical things you can consider doing. 

  • Remove pets, children and the elderly if possible when the condition of the home has mold or is a sewage backup. 

  • Protecting valuables during flood restoration is important. If possible, gather up any accessible valuables such as guns, money, jewelry and other items both breakable and easy to remove from the room. 

  • Turn off the circuit breaker box if water has come into contact with electrical components. This should only be done if the environment is safe to touch circuit breakers. This means no water is present and the box is located in a dry area of the home. Do not access the breaker box if it is anywhere near water damage to avoid electric shock or worse. If water is discovered, by no means attempt to touch anything electrical related. The professionals will take care of this dangerous matter.

  • Get your insurance company policy out, however, do not call them till the inspection is done. Giving faulty or misguided information can be a red flag to the insurance carrier, and contradicting statements later will cause needless problems. Giving them accurate information that comes with an inspection will avoid unnecessary confusion or questions. 

  • If the water damage comes from a backed-up sewer, or if the water is grey or black, wait for professionals before touching or dealing with the water in any way, as it is a serious biohazard risk. 

  • Removing all parked vehicles from the driveway allows room for service vehicles that are best parked near the entry door.
  • If none of these tips are possible, just relax and wait for the professionals as they will gladly manage everything for you.

Checklist after Residential Restoration has Been Completed / Staying Safe After Remediation

CLEAN OUT GUTTERS: Homes are kept safe by gutters that divert water from resting on the house when it rains. Water goes from the water tight roof directly into gutters are directed away from the foundation. 

Clogged gutters stop the process of moving water and overflow and splash water in all directions, placing the home at higher risk for residential water damage. Yearly cleaning your gutters from the build up of leaf’s and other debris will keep them functioning correctly and keep your home’s exterior dry as possible.

INSPECK BRICKS & CHIMINEYS FOR LOOSE OR MISSING MORTAR: A chimney can be a source of water entering the home when the mortar becomes loose or is missing between bricks. Any cracks, or missing mortar should be replaced to keep the integrity of the exterior of your home. It is shocking how much water can intrude into the home when troublesome leaks are allowed to remain without correction. The process of replacing missing mortar is called brick-tucking and is a service a chimney sweep, brick layer or handyman can provide. 

REPLACE SUMP PUMP EVERY 7 YEARS: Many basements and crawl spaces rely on the placement of a sump pump to control the water table around a home, that can rise quickly during rain falls. Many homeowners are unaware that these pumps are recommended to be replaced after 7 years, due to the wear on bearings and electrical components. While these sump pumps are a great defense against basement flooding, when they fail from wear or electrical outages, basements can fill up fast.

WATERPROOF BASEMENT OR CRAWLSPACE: For added peace of mind, consider waterproofing your basement or crawl space. The benefits can outweigh the cost, but definitely get 3 estimates from reputable companies before you move forward. This process can be as simple as adding insulation to exposed water lines and patching cracks and holes. The return on investment can be appealing when one considers the devastation that a basement flood can bring and the dangers mold can place in the home, occupants should stay clear of. 

YEARLY ROOF INSPECTION: Often during the year a home is exposed to high winds and heavy rains that can cause some shingles to blow away. If your roof is exposed to the elements especially rain, such direct exposure to water can cause residential water damage. Yearly inspections of the roof will alert you to potential problems that can be easily repaired, before expensive water damage occurs.

CAULK & SEAL ALL CRACKS: All cracks whether on the outside or inside, are compromises that will guaranteed an entry point for unwelcome water. Directing attention to looking over your homes interior and exterior yearly can be of great benefit. Any new crack or compromise should be sealed with an appropriate caulk. Properly caulking all potential access points will repel water and keep your valued home free from intruding water. The sage advice of Benjamin Franklin in 1736 is of great value when it comes to these recommended tips. His words, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. Clearly preventing residential water damage is better than discovering it in your home.



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