It’s many homeowners’ worst fear to come home to a water disaster in their home. Water damage can cost thousands to repair and will include a lengthy process in order to adhere to safety standards, potentially disrupting your home life for weeks. In this article we’ll give you tips on how to avoid water damage and what to do when you discover it.
Water damage vs. flood damage
Many people are unaware of the difference between water damage and flood damage. Water damage can occur when you have plumbing issues such as a leaking pipe or overflowing bath tub. Flood damage, on the other hand, is defined by FEMA as an “overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters,” or even mudflow. Flood damage tends to be the more costly and the more dangerous of the two, as it puts home inhabitants at serious health risk. Part of the stipulation in differing between the two types of damage is insurance coverage; water damage is often covered by homeowner’s insurance whereas flood damage is not.
Avoiding water damage
To avoid costly and time-consuming repairs, follow these steps to prevent water damage from occurring in your home:
- Keep your gutters clean to avoid backups and drainage issues
- divert rain water away from your house with downspouts
- Disconnect hoses and turn off their water supply when temperatures drop to freezing overnight
- Don’t leave water using appliances running while you are away from home for extended periods of time
- Keep up with maintenance on your dishwasher, washing machine, toilets, and tubs
- Turn off your water main when you go away on vacations
- Check the water pressure to your home. High water pressure can be nice in the shower, but pressures too high can cause your plumbing to fail
- Check regularly for leaks. Some water damage may go unnoticed for weeks or months, which subjects you to another danger: mold
What to do if you have water damage in your home
If it’s too late for prevention and you’ve discovered water damage in your home there are several steps you’ll need to take to ensure the safety of your home.
- Turn off electronics in the affected area. If possible switch off power to whole the whole section of your home at the circuit breaker. This first step is to ensure your own safety. Once you’ve turned off power to all potentially dangerous electronics, you can move on to the next step.
- Remove electronics and other perishable items from the area. If you remove the items soon enough you might be able to salvage them by drying them out.
- Soak up the bulk of the water. You can do this the old fashion way by using towels and buckets. Or you can use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to suck up the water from rugs, carpets, and other surfaces.
- Dry the area completely. To avoid mold, use fans and a dehumidifier to fully dry out the area.
- Disinfect. Spray the area to remove any bacteria that may have accumulated due to moisture.
- Contact the professionals. A contractor will be able to tell you the full extent of the damage and whether any serious repairs will need to me made.