Archived Water Damage Blog Posts
The Basics of Secondary Damage
Mold needs a water source to grow, whether it be a leak under the sink or a high humidity level in the air
Having water damage in your home in Seatac,WA, is bad enough. Finding out you have a black mold issue is worse. Preventing such problems requires timely professional water remediation. If you fail to do so, your cleanup process only gets more complicated.
What Is Mold?
The presence of mold in your home is inevitable. Mold spores enter your home by hitching a ride on several surfaces:
Mold spores in the air are usually nothing to worry about. They only become problematic when the right conditions exist for them to land on surfaces and grow.
What Does Mold Need To Grow?
Like most organisms, fungus needs food and water to thrive. Mold can feast on any organic matter. This includes drywall, carpet fibers, wood and fabric. It also needs a water source, whether it be a leak under the sink or a high humidity level in the air. If those two factors are present, it only takes 24-48 hours for mold to start to grow.
How Do You Detect Mold?
Black mold has a distinct odor. It's telltale musty scent is hard to ignore. Even if you don't see the slimy black or green mold growing on a surface, the smell alone can tell you that you have a problem. To identify its exact location, however, you need to have your home tested by a professional environmental hygienist.
How Do You Get Rid of Mold?
Secondary damage such as mold requires professional mitigation. Experts can get rid of fungus that is trapped under the surface or advise you on which materials are too damaged to be salvaged. They can then tear out and dispose of ruined materials and items properly. Then they test to make sure the issue is resolved.
While prevention of black mold growth is ideal, there are still things you can do if you discover a mold problem in your home. Contact the professionals and trust their expertise.
How Flooding Can Continue to Cause Damage Over Time
Flooding in a Seatac, WA home
How Flooding Can Continue to Cause Damage Over Time
If you’ve ever come home to flooding in your home in Seatac,WA, you are likely aware of how it can wreak havoc almost instantly. Soaked carpets, foul odors or uncomfortably high humidity inside the home are just some things that you can encounter right away. However, if not properly remedied, there are a slew of other issues, such as Black mold, that you may also need to deal with.
Without professional remediation you may experience the following after a flood even after your initial cleanup:
- Higher level of humidity indoors that leads to condensation
- Warping of furniture and walls
- An ideal breeding ground for microbes including Black mold
Why Invest in Professional Services
It can be tempting to clean up a flood yourself, but depending on the extent of the damage, and the likelihood of secondary damage to occur, hiring a professional can help ensure that the cleanup is done thoroughly the first time. When you hire specialists who are experienced with flood remediation, they typically bring with them commercial grade supplies and machines that can get the job done more efficiently than with the resources available to an average homeowner. High-power and high-capacity water vacuums, dehumidifiers not to mention prevention for future occurrences are just some valuable tools that will be at your disposal with a professional. Aside from the physical tools that come with these experts is the vast experience and knowledge to help you pinpoint what may have caused the flood in the first place, as well as the ability to fix or replace faulty equipment or piping as needed.
Proper Care and Maintenance
Once a professional has helped you to recover from any flooding in Seatac,WA, and given you recommendations to prevent a reoccurrence, it can be wise to take their advice and act sooner rather than later. Since water damage can bring your life to a standstill and cause more costly repairs resulting from both initial and secondary damage, such as Black mold, in the future, addressing the problem early on can ultimately save you time, money and stress.
4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Secondary Water Damage
Employ an air purifier
4 Ways To Minimize the Risk of Secondary Water Damage
A significant water leak or burst pipe can occur inside any home in Seahurst, WA, potentially causing substantial damage. If not properly addressed, water infiltration can also result in extensive black mold growth. Fortunately, there are several steps every homeowner can take to minimize the risk of secondary damage mandating mold remediation.
1. Routinely Seal Grout
Tile is a popular flooring option. Because the grout that holds tile in place tends to be porous, tiled floors in your home may be susceptible to water seepage. To prevent damage and mold growth under the structure, it's important to routinely apply grout sealant. Completing this proactive maintenance procedure can help you avoid costly repairs in the event of a flood.
2. Remove Saturated Building Materials
Carpets, drywall and insulation are examples of other porous building materials that black mold can infiltrate and contaminate. Because of this, it’s imperative that you remove saturated carpeting and walls during the water damage cleanup and restoration process. To be efficient and thorough, you should complete a flood cut at least 12 inches above the highest water level.
3. Dry Affected Area
Because moisture is a key ingredient in mold growth, promptly drying the affected area is crucial. To expedite the process, utilize fans and a dehumidifier to reduce high humidity levels. You should also wait to replace drywall and flooring until the space is completely dry.
4. Employ an Air Purifier
Mold is present throughout the environment, which may complicate containment efforts. To address this dilemma, you can employ an air purifier that utilizes a HEPA filter. This filter is an efficient choice because it purifies the air and traps mold spores, further reducing opportunities for proliferation.
Recovering from water damage can be a daunting experience. Enduring substantial black mold growth can cause additional destruction, further compromising the integrity of your home. Diligent cleanup efforts can, however, spare you from costly secondary damage.
How Do Experts Handle Commercial Water Damage?
If a broken pipe results in water damage it must be fixed by a plumber before damage can be mitigated.
Damage mitigation and restoration professionals have extensive experience with most types of water damage. Whether a broken pipe, leaky roof, sewer backup or flood causes damage at a building in Mercer Island,WA, experts can recommend the best water repair methods. Here are effective mitigation and restoration techniques for the most common causes of commercial water damage.
A property owner must take several steps to fix a pipe break. More than one expert may be necessary to address the problem. The experts can include:
• Mitigation specialists
• Restoration professionals
A broken pipe can introduce a lot of water into a structure in a short amount of time. A plumber must fix the pipe before damage can be mitigated. Mitigation experts can then extract clean water from a supply line break and dry the affected area.
Fire Sprinkler Issues
A fire sprinkler system can cause water damage due to accidental activation or in response to fire. Water from a malfunction can be removed, and the area can be dried. If water mixes with soot, the affected area should be cleaned.
Water from a roof leak can damage a variety of building materials. Mitigation and restoration professionals can check the condition of the following components:
It may be necessary to tear out and replace porous materials saturated with contaminated water. The area must be completely dry before restoration.
A sewer backup or flooded toilet can release highly contaminated water. A plumber can clear the clog and cleanup professionals should immediately mitigate damage. This type of flooding can be extracted, and damaged materials should be torn out prior to disinfection.
If a broken pipe or any other incident results in water damage at a building in Mercer Island,WA, the owner or manager should arrange for water repair. Mitigation and restoration professionals can arrive on site within hours to assess the damage.
Harold and Jenny decided to go on vacation for a couple weeks. They did everything they thought they were supposed to: lock the doors, have someone watch their cats and water their plants, and make sure their heat was set to low so they weren’t charged for using it while they weren’t in town. However, one day the boy who was watching their cats and watering their plants noticed a small puddle of water in the basement. Of course, he thought nothing of it. He contacted Harold and Jenny, told them about the water, and went on his way. Fast forward to five days later the couple returned. Harold went to the basement to check out the “small” puddle of water. Turns out a pipe had cracked while they were on vacation, and now they were dealing with a flooded basement. That small puddle of water Jimmy had mentioned had turned into a small lake in the basement.
Some may say this situation is exaggerated, but this happens more often than people think. As the weather gets colder and many start taking vacations in warmer climates, the plumbing is often the first aspect of a house to suffer. When pipes aren’t run regularly, the small amounts of water left over in the pipes will collect in areas of the lines. If the temperature gets low enough, that water can freeze, which will cause the pipes to shrink and crack.
What to do if my Basement Floods
Now, some may think: “Well, what am I supposed to do when that happens?”
There are a few answers:
- Turn off the water
- This will stop the immediate problem of leaking water.
- Call a plumber
- Get that leak fixed so it doesn’t become a future problem
- Call SERVPRO of South/ West Seattle
This is probably the last thing someone wants to think about right after coming back from a relaxing vacation, so there are also a few steps to take prior to leaving that can save a call to a plumber:
- Keep the heat above 55 degrees in the house
- This is something a lot of apartment complexes recommend for people who leave during winter breaks (usually college students), but this also applies to homeowners. This will reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing.
- Let the kitchen sink drip
- If it’s an older home or older plumbing this will keep water from standing in one place
- Make sure that parts of the home that may not be as well insulated (garage, basement, attic, etc) are well-heated.
- Space heaters are a simple way to heat large rooms.
- Note: This will probably increase your heating bill, but that is drop in the bucket compared to the price of a plumber and mitigation team. Not only will you be paying for the repairs, mitigation, and dry-out, but your family may also be displaced for a while, depending on the amount of damage.
- Especially with colder nights coming, pipes in the garage, basement, or attic are sometimes the first to freeze up.
Remember that mold spores can start growing into colonies about 72 hours: waiting to call if there is water damage can only make the problem worse!
If you do have water damage in your home, please call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle for a cost-free estimate at (206) 932-9033 today! We can have a team out to your home to assess and mitigate the problem immediately.
How To Handle Water-Damaged Building Materials
Swelling subfloor after water damage in an Harbor Island, WA home
Three Key Tips for Handling Swelling Wood After Water Damage
One of the most difficult wet materials to handle is wood. Because of its porosity, wood tends to absorb a lot of water and become distorted. Read on for three key tips for handling swelling wood after extensive water damage.
1) Know the Different Types of Wood Damage
At first glance, it may seem like the damage to your home’s wooden materials is irreversible, but depending on their location, they may be salvageable. The way you would handle damaged wood in your cabinets or your subfloor, for example, differs from the way you would handle drywall and real wood. Your cabinets and subfloor would most likely need to be replaced, but fortunately, drywall and real wood can be dried and saved.
2) Stop It at the Source
A common cause of flooding in homes is water pipe damage. Your pipes, also known as your home’s supply line, carry water or gas from behind your walls to your fixtures and appliances.
Damage to these crucial pipes can come about from clogging, corrosion, or freezing, as just a few examples. Unfortunately, pipe failure often leads to substantial flooding and building material damage. If you encounter swelling wood or similar damage, it’s important to fix the structural issue rather than treating the symptoms of it. This will save you money and time in the long run.
3) Get Help!
With the proper equipment, water damage repair specialists in Harbor Island,WA, can accurately assess the extent of the damage to your home. From there, they can decide on the appropriate next steps to take, such as water extraction, dehumidification, and water pipe repair. Water damage is tricky for non-professionals to deal with, so it’s safer and more cost-effective in the long-term to enlist professionals with the right tools and experience.
Wet building materials are an all-too-common occurrence that can arise from a number of situations. An especially difficult part of dealing with water damage in your home is figuring out how to repair swelling wood. With some patience and help, though, you’ll get your home back to its dry, normal state before you know it.
How to Make a Water Damage Claim
Call your insurance representative in Mercer Island,WA and discuss the incident in detail
Do you ever pay your monthly insurance premium and cringe at the amount of money you spend? You’re not the only Mercer Island,WA, homeowner to stress out about these costs. On the other hand, with proper coverage, you can spare yourself grief and much more financial stress in the event of bursting pipes or other issues that leads to flooding at home. If water has damaged something in your house, you must understand the claims process so you can get the help you need.
Key Points to Know
You don’t want to have to make a claim for water damage, but you’re thankful you have that protection if something does go wrong. To alleviate your stress during this already anxious time, considering the following:
- Know the extent of your coverage. What does your policy cover?
- Document the type and extent of the damage.
- Contact the insurance company as soon as possible.
Get Familiar With Your Policy
You have homeowner’s insurance for a situation just like this, so put it to good use. However, policies can differ, so it’s crucial you know what yours will cover and not cover. Find out whether your policy will cover the cost to fix a broken pipe and other problems that have occurred due to deterioration over time. These are often your own responsibility. However, more disastrous situations such as sewer backups or storm-related problems are usually covered.
Whether bursting pipes cause flooding in your home or whether the problems come from Mother Nature, you should take photos of all the affected areas and what caused the water damage. Also, describe in writing how the flooding occurred and what it damaged.
Get in Touch With the Insurance
Call your insurance representative and discuss the incident in detail. At this point, you can formally file a claim and ask any questions. This is also the ideal time to contact a disaster cleanup company.
Not sure whether your insurance will bursting pipes in your house? Follow these steps to make sure you properly file a claim.
3 Tips To Prevent Mold After Water Damage
Control moisture and humidity in your Harbor Island,WA home
3 Tips To Prevent Mold
Dealing with water damage in your home in Harbor Island,WA, sometimes makes it seem like a mold problem is inevitable. It may be easier to prevent mold than you think, though. You don’t have to resign yourself to recurring patches of fungus on your walls, carpet and ceiling. Follow these tips to keep these issues at bay.
1. Maintain Optimal Air Flow
Stagnant air can contribute to mold growth. If you do not have sufficient air flow in your home, mold spores are more likely to settle on surfaces. You are also more likely to have moisture problems, which exacerbate mold issues by giving it sustenance. Make sure that the areas of your home that are prone to excess moisture, such as the laundry room, kitchen and bathroom, are properly ventilated.
2. Pursue Quick Remediation
If your pipes spring a leak, a fast response is the best way to prevent secondary damage such as mold. Call mold remediation experts immediately whenever your home has water damage. It only takes a couple of days for spores to settle and multiply on surfaces in your home. The quicker you can make the environment less hospitable for fungus growth, the more likely you are to prevent the problem.
3. Keep Moisture Levels Down
Mold loves moisture, so it logically follows that minimizing moisture in your home can help with mold prevention. There are two main ways to do this. First, make sure you keep the humidity level at 45% or below. You can purchase a humidity meter at most hardware stores. Second, dry all affected items thoroughly any time you have a spill or leak. Allowing moisture to remain on surfaces in your home is an invitation to mold.
You may not be able to prevent water damage, but you don’t have to resign yourself to further issues such as mold infestation. Hire specialists who are faster to any size disaster to keep your home free from secondary damage.
Insurance Claims and Rate Hikes: Should You File?
Drying a flooded home in Seattle, Wa
When something happens on your property, you likely wonder whether or not it is worth filing an insurance claim. The general understanding is that filing creates a rate hike, and sometimes that hike may price you out of your policy. However, is every claim created equal, and are there ever times that you shouldn’t file?
While a rate hike is likely part of any claims process, a lot of weight is put on the idea of responsibility. For example, if something happens that is entirely out of your control, then the hikes associated with the claim may be minimal. On the other hand, if it is proven that you were negligent, then rate increases will likely be severe because they are associated with the risk you present to your insurer.
Type of Claim
Beyond responsibility, the effect on rates is dependent on the type of insurance claim. For example, there are varying degrees of water damage. A home flood caused by sustained pipe damage is going to cause a higher increase than a sudden burst pipe.
The Cost of Filing
It is important that you consider the cost of filing a claim. Most claims can result in a 20 to 40 percent increase and, depending on your insurer, may stay in effect for two to four years. Also, if the claim is considered high risk, your insurer may drop your coverage, requiring you to acquire high-risk policies.
Should You File
Whether or not you file is entirely up to you. If the damage is your responsibility, meaning you are at fault, then filing could result in the loss of coverage. Therefore, it may be better to resolve the issue on your own by hiring an emergency restoration company in the Seattle,WA, area. However, if the incident is an unforeseen event, then a claim is possibly your best option.
The insurance claim process often causes anxiety because homeowners are concerned with the effect it will have on their policy. However, the crucial thing to understand is that your insurance is there to protect you from unforeseen expenses and disasters, so use it when you need it.
Ruined to Rescued: Three Steps To Save a Wet Carpet
Wet carpet can be saved. Learn how!
If you’ve ever had a pipe break in your home, you know that the aftermath can be as costly as it is messy. Before you get out your credit cards, you should know in most cases it’s possible to rescue a waterlogged carpet!
As long as the source of your flood is clean, following a few simple steps can save you a lot of money.
Stem the Flow
The first step to rescuing your rugs after a pipe break is to make sure the water has stopped flowing as soon as possible. The less water that comes in contact with your floor, the easier your floor will be to save. Locate the source of the leak and turn off the water as soon as you can.
Once you’ve stopped the flow of the water, it’s time to start drying your floors. Gather as many towels as you can find and start blotting! Lay the dry towels over the wet area and apply pressure to soak up as much water as you can. Once the towel is saturated, replace it with a dry one and keep going. If your carpet is white or light in color, just be careful not to use brightly colored towels that may bleed dye and cause staining.
Crank the Air
While you are blotting, get dry air flowing through the room. If it’s not humid outside, open doors and windows to create a cross breeze through the room. You can also crank up your air conditioner or turn on your central heating system. If you have a dehumidifier in your home, using it will also help.
Taking these three easy steps can put you and your rugs well on the way to restoration. In the event of a serious flood, you may want to contact an expert remediation specialist in Seattle, Washington who can help prevent odors or mold. When you have a pipe break, the key is to move quickly to avoid lasting damage to your carpets and floors.
The 4 Don’ts of Water Damage
Water damage is caused by broken pipes
List of Don’ts of Water Damage
A broken pipe creates many concerns for homeowners, and while it is instinctual to protect your belongings, that instinct can lead to injury or further damage. The list of don’ts below may help you minimize health risks while mitigating concerns over your belongings.
1. Do Not Use Electronics
While most people are preoccupied with the immediate risks to property, they may ignore the dangers of submerged outlets and water-soaked wiring. Plugging in or trying to use electrical appliances and tools may come with the threat of shock and electrocution. If you are uncertain of the safety of your home, you can seek help from a disaster specialist in the Seattle,WA, area who can assess your property for any potential hazards.
2. Do Not Ignore Damp Fabrics
While a broken pipe can be overwhelming, you shouldn’t let it distract you from other threats to your property. Ignoring damp fabrics, for instance, can lead to mold growth, and it may also cause irreversible damage to hardwood floors and other surfaces. It is essential to remove wet materials and hang them somewhere to dry.
3. Do Not Leave Wet Dyed Items on Floors
Items like books and magazines may also stain and distress floors, countertops and furniture. Their colorful bindings and pictures can bleed deep into porous surfaces if left to soak and dry on their own. Also, as paper is a porous substance, it can be a source of mold and mildew growth.
4. Do Not Handle Items without Protection
The buildup of water in home can also lead to contamination, depending on the origin of the pipes. For instance, flooding from sewer lines can fill a house with black water, which is water conducive to bacteria growth. Unless you know the water classification, assume that water is contaminated and that you must wear protective clothing to handle any affected items.
A broken pipe presents many potential hazards for homeowners, and while it is easy to know what you should do, like removing excess water, it is less obvious what you should avoid. The above list of don’ts may help you avoid risks while mitigating your home repair.