Water damage to any area of your house is something that you never hope to experience as a homeowner. It can affect flooring, walls, ceilings, finishes and even your valuable possessions, including special mementos that can’t ever be replaced.
In the unfortunate case that you do have to deal with water damage, taking the appropriate steps is important in putting your home and your life back into order. The following are five things you need to understand when it comes to dealing with water damage.
1. There Are Many Potential Causes of Water Damage
When you think of water damage, your first thought is most likely of flooding due to an unexpected downpour or unrelenting spring storms that normal water systems simply can’t handle. While this is definitely one prevalent and powerful cause of water damage, it is far from the only one to consider.
Broken pipes are another potential source of water damage – and since the faulty pipes may be hidden, they can be hard to find, making the damage from leaking even more pronounced. Other reasons your home may experience water damage could be from a leaking water heater or an overflow from a bath or shower.
2. The First step Is to Move Everything You Can Save
The faster you are able to identify the site of water damage, the more quickly you can limit the amount of damage that is done, particularly to your possessions. Electronics are of particular concern – turn off power leading into the affected area and move all electronic items away.
Naturally, you’ll also want to remove any furniture and other moveable items out of the water damage area. Whether your items are already damaged or not, clearing the water-damaged portion of your home will help you deal with the damage more quickly while limiting your losses.
3. Removing the Water Quickly Is Critical
The longer the source of water damage remains unaddressed, the more damage your home will suffer as a result. This is not the type of problem that can wait for a weekend project, as water-damaged items can result in a much bigger issue – mold.
To prevent mold from becoming a situation that requires professional intervention, you’ll need to ensure that water-damaged areas and items dry as quickly as possible. You may be able to take care of this yourself, depending on circumstances, but significant water damage may require special water extraction equipment for it to dry quickly enough to prevent mold.
4. Flooring That Feels Dry May Hide Water Underneath
Just checking that your flooring looks and feels dry isn’t enough to ensure that it really is and that water damage isn’t still a factor. Hardwood floors, in particular, and even some tile floors, are installed with a moisture barrier of roofing felt between the subfloor and the hardwood flooring that you see.
Although this moisture barrier does prevent water from going through to the subfloor, it can trap water between the layers. The only way to guarantee that your flooring is truly dry is to remove the top level of flooring, though some extraction systems are available.
5. Insurance May or May Not Cover Your Particular Water Damage
Different insurance policies have different rules and restrictions as to what is and is not covered, and water damage is no exception. It’s important to have a clear understanding of your specific insurance policy and what is covered in case of water issues.
Water damage in your home can seem like a huge problem when it first occurs. However, by taking the right steps to address the cause and effect of water issues, you can limit the amount of damage to your house and your possessions – and more quickly return to life as normal.