Unfortunately for those of us who live on the coast here in Florida, it’s not a question of if water damage will occur, but when. Here in Tampa, we’ve been extremely lucky to have been able to avoid being hit by any major storms in over 100 years. However, that kind of luck doesn’t last forever, and nobody should place their bets on luck alone. Here at Premiere Builders, we understand that all it will take is just one major storm to cause a flood. We want our community to know exactly what to do when this happens so that you can completely minimize the amount of water damage that occurs to your home. It’s also worth mentioning that it doesn’t always take a flood to produce water damage in the home. Leaky pipes, roofs in need of repair, toilet malfunctions, and faulty washing machines are just some of the things that can lead to water damage. In this article, we outline the basic steps that you should take to minimize water damage in the event that a leak is discovered in your home, or in case of major flooding.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Whether your house floods as a result of a major storm, or a broken pipe, the first and foremost thing you need to do is contact your insurance provider. Calling your insurance provider right away is an important first step to take, because once you contact them, they will begin the damage claims process promptly. This will help you out immensely if any essential items that you own are destroyed. You’ll want to have these items replaced as soon as possible, and the sooner the insurance company processes the damage claims, the sooner they can get you the money you need to replace your damaged property.
Another important reason you should contact your insurance provider immediately in the event of flooding is so that they can determine the cause of the flooding and factor that into your insurance policy. As you may already know, not all insurance companies insure your property from storm-related flooding. If your company does protect against storm-related flooding, and this is indeed the cause of the flooding in your home, it’s absolutely essential that your insurance company begins the damage claims process immediately. If the cause of flooding in your home is not storm-related, your insurance company will give you step-by-step instructions on how to prevent further damage from occurring.
Protect You and Your Family’s Health
As a family-owned business, we know there is nothing more important than protecting the health and safety of our family members. Regardless of whether flooding has occurred in your home as the result of a storm or as the result of some kind of leaking from your appliances, water damage can pose a serious health risk. Add water to your drywall and/or carpet, and it becomes an enormous source of nutrition for mold-causing fungi and bacteria. Mold-producing organisms can start feeding on these substances within 24 hours of water damaging occurring, so it’s essential that you act fast. There are some very serious health-related side effects associated with inhabiting the same area as mold. On the milder end of the spectrum are side effects like coughing/wheezing, throat irritation, stuffy nose, and skin irritation. However, for more vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, or those with compromised immune systems, the risks are much more serious. Children can develop respiratory diseases from mold exposure, and serious infections can also result from mold exposure when it comes to these vulnerable populations.
Mold is not the only threat to your family’s health when it comes to water damage. Another thing to be aware of when it comes to flooding and water damage is the pollution level of the water that is causing the damage in your home. There are three categories when it comes to water damage, and each category is organized depending on the pollution level of the water causing the damage. Category 1 is the safest category, and this is usually designated to water damage that is coming from a source of freshwater, such as a broken dishwasher. Category 2 refers to water that may cause illness upon contact, as it likely will have bacteria growing in it. Extremely contaminated water that will cause severe illness or even death upon contact is designated as Category 3 water damage. Storm waters, overflowing sewage, and toilet leakage all fall under Category 3. It’s crucial to keep in mind that just because water damage may start out in Category 1, that doesn’t mean that it will stay in Category 1. The longer the water sits, the more damage it will do, and the more polluted it will become, causing the category designation to change to a more dire level.
It is evident from the potential health risks listed above that you need to act as quickly as possible once you are made aware of water damage occurring in your home. Not only do the health risks increase as time goes on, but the damage to your carpets/drywall, the appliances in your home, and the structural integrity of your home increases with time as well. It is of crucial importance to take action as soon as possible. Here at Premiere Builders, we specialize in home restoration associated with water damage, so if your home is suffering from a flood, get in contact with us ASAP! With the window of time for mold growth being so narrow, it’s important that you get professional help to get your home dried as quickly as possible.
Water extraction needs to be done immediately to initiate the drying process, and any appliances or materials such as carpet or drywall that are damaged beyond repair need to be removed immediately to prevent mold growth. The damage category needs to be assessed immediately for the sake of your family’s health as well, and this designation will determine the extent of repairs that are needed and whether or not the home needs to be evacuated until safety can be restored.
We hope this article has been helpful in getting you to better understand what steps need to be taken in the unfortunate event of water damage occurring to your home. It is a great concern of ours that our community be prepared to act quickly in the event of a catastrophic storm. The more quickly you act in the event of water damage, the greater the chances are that the damage will be minimal, and that your family’s health will remain safe. As a family owned and operated business, we are fully aware how important the safety of family is, as well as how stressful it can be when the home is damaged by flooding. We will continue to thank our lucky stars for our good fortune regarding storms in the past here in Tampa, and we hope that a major storm never makes landfall here again. In the event that it does, know that we are standing by, ready to get to work rebuilding our community and restoring it to the comfort and safety we currently enjoy.