Water Damage Tips –
What to Do When Your Home is Damaged by Water

Your home is more likely to be damaged by water than anything else. Water is the most common cause of damage to homes – and subsequent homeowners insurance claims – in America. Water damage can come from a number of sources:

  • Catastrophic damage due to burst or frozen pipes
  • Pipes with slow leaks and drips inside walls which are not immediately evident
  • Overflow from dishwashers, clothes washers, tubs or showers
  • Flooding which enters the home from outside
  • Damaged, old, or failed water heaters
  • Rain – through leaky roofing, broken windows/seals, or storm damage
  • Sewage drains or toilets backing up

Initially, your first step is to scope out the situation to determine how extensive the water damage is. Water always seeks equilibrium with its environment and wet always goes to dry, if it can. Just finding the extent of the water damage on the floor isn't enough. Water damage needs to be mapped to determine how far up the walls it has wicked, and how far down into the substrate the water damage has gone, including possibly entering the crawlspace in a conventional foundation. This can't be done by touch. Very specialized water damage inspection tools and meters will be required, and every water damage professional has them.

Psychrometry - The Science of Drying

A thorough understanding of water damage demands every water damage contractor be familiar with the "science of drying", also called "psychrometry". Ask your water damage contractor what the "dry standard" is for each structural component suffering potential water damage. With proper water-damage-inspection tools and water-damage experience, they should be able to tell you on a scale of 100 points the moisture content of water-damaged and non-water-damaged materials.

A professional water damage restoration contractor should be able to explain the risks of what are called "secondary damages" resulting from a water-damaged structure. These secondary damage risks are primarily caused by increased vapor pressure (a result of poorly-controlled ambient temperature and humidity), and mold/bacterial contamination. A water damage contractor should offer 24/7 service since water damage is a progressive condition that gets worse the longer it takes water damage mitigation to begin.

A professional water damage restoration contractor should select the structural drying equipment in a scientific method based on materials, size of the water-damaged area, and the class and category of the water damage. At the very least, they should have a working knowledge of the relationship between water damage and mold damage.

Contamination from Sewage Requires More Remediation than Simply Drying

For sewage-related water damage, or water damage resulting from water entering the structure from outside surface or groundwater sources, all materials contaminated should be cut out and thrown away in a manner consistent with industry-accepted guidelines for water damage restoration.

Especially when damage results from "gray water" or "black water" (see our article on types of water damage, it is never advisable for you to attempt your own repairs. Your family's health and safety is at stake. Your best bet is to contact an experienced remediation contractor, and let them handle your water damage restoration project with specialized tools, equipment, and procedures.

Seek an Advocate, Not Just a Contractor

Your remediation and restoration contractor should do more than just repair and reconstruct the damaged areas of your home. They should also act as a skilled and ethical advocate for you with your insurance company. True professionals will guarantee to make all repairs necessary, not just to do the minimum to save the insurance company money.

In short, look for an experienced water remediation contractor with a sterling reputation, one who will work with you and explain the situation at every step, and one who provides the quality of the service you expect.

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