What You Should Know When You Experience Water Damage

When you have undergone a water reduction event or “water damage”, there are a couple of things you know or should know. First, you must stop the flow of water, if at all possible. If the leak is from a water heater or a broken pipe shut off the water to your residence. If you have a gas water heater, make sure you turn it off in the breaker box to avoid any damage. 

DO NOT TOUCH THE BREAKER BOX IF THERE’S A CHANCE IT MAY BE WET!

There are several procedures for drying your home or business; every one of them has been proven to work. Various scenarios can also call for different techniques. A restoration business will decide the best approach to accomplish getting your structure back to the “dry state”. The “dry state” of your home/ business is generally determined by having an unaffected region and carrying a moisture reading; this helps to determine the moisture content before the water reduction. This number is important because the restoration contractor should get the affected area to this number or below.

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Next, you have to contact your plumber or roofer (based on the origin of the leak), explain what’s happened, and schedule a time for them to come out – the sooner the better. Then you have to get in touch with a water restoration company, making sure that they’re insured, certified, and local. It is hard to chase a contractor 3 countries away if there aren’t any problems. Many people request a quote, the only issue with getting a quote is that the longer the water stays the farther it spreads, rising costs, and the likelihood of mold growth. Most water restoration companies use a national pricing guide like Bluebook or even Xactimate; therefore the question should be “How quickly can you get here?” not “How much?” This is also the time to call your insurance broker. I’d call my agent before any “800” numbers. If it’s a small claim, you might choose to look after yourself, to avoid a claim from the own insurer. Insurance agents usually have a list of water restoration firms they work with, but the choice is yours. It is your right to select who functions in your house, and if you are not comfortable with somebody, you can eliminate them from the job.

When the water damage restoration firm arrives they ought to have some forms for you to fill out. Commonly called a “work authorization form”, every state varies on the specific details, but essentially, it’s an agreement between you and the builder he will dry the arrangement and you or your insurance carrier will cover them. They will usually ask for a deposit or the insurance deductible to begin. They should also ask some questions such as”Where did the water come from?” “Is it repaired?” “Does anyone have any respiratory problems (i.e. asthma or emphysema)?” This is important since antimicrobials can irritate a breathing condition. Sometimes, water damage may warrant a brief hotel stay, which most times is covered under your homeowners’ insurance.

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The water damage restoration contractor should now start extracting the water. There are many machines on the market to accomplish this. Water restorers used to pull on the water off the surface, roll the carpet, tear out the pad and eliminate it, lay the carpet back down, then blow air under it “float the carpet.” They’d also remove affected molding, drywall, and pretty much anything wet. Then, they would put up air movers and dehumidifiers anyplace for 3-5 days. Technology has come a long way in restorative drying; while dehumidifiers and air movers continue to be used, there are many different techniques. Thermal energy systems like this, Dragon Air, or Dri-Heat are machines that use guided hot air to dry a structure similar to your clothes dryer. The advantage of Thermal energy systems is that everything could be dried “in place”. The molding, drywall, carpeting, and pad can all be dried in place, which gets you back to normal in the shortest period possible. Above all, this will save you money on reconstruction costs because nothing was removed! Another bonus of the Thermal energy systems is the fact that it uses directed hot air, therefore it reduces the chance for mold to grow.

When it is dry, the procedure is not over. If they haven’t offered, you should request to see the final moisture readings and confirm them by walking with the technician and his moisture meter, testing a few spots, just to be sure. This is important because you may come face to face with a mold problem if excess moisture is not present. They should now have you ever sign a job completion form to prove that they have completed the task, and it is to your satisfaction. A lot of businesses will wait a reasonable quantity of time to receive the balance due from the insurance provider. Sometimes the insurance provider pays you directly and you also pay the contractors. If an insurance provider is slow to pay or denies the claim, you are ultimately responsible for the balance due. It is important to keep receipts and business cards from all involved for future references.

For more on the science of how this works check out The Evaporation Calculation by Jeremy Reets; he’s the inventor of this test renewable energy system. Sometimes we still need to rely on dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers take in the ambient air and remove the moisture by a refrigerant or a desiccant then warmed the dry air back into the room. This method still requires air fans and movers and antimicrobials. Normally, carpet, mat, and gutters will be eliminated depending on the severity. You’ll have to find a contractor, as many restoration businesses have a building division, but you should always get three quotes and go with whom you are comfortable. Irrespective of how your water damage restoration company dries your house, make sure it is dry.

Depending on the methods employed for drying or the harshness of the reduction some reconstruction may be done. It’s always recommended to get at least three estimates from reputable contractors/handymen. Following the handyman or contractor has left your house you still have one more trip from the carpet cleaner to perform the “closing clean”. They will clean and usually spray down with an antimicrobial.