How to be Flood Safe and Savvy
One of the worst times for many when it comes to the possibility of a flooded home is during springtime, when the ground is thawing, snow is melting, and then relentless rain starts pounding down.
Hopefully, your roof is leakproof, your foundation is up to the task, and your sump pump (if you need one) is chugging along faithfully. Water is intrusive and can find the weakest spot in your home and create all types of damage and costly repairs.
There are ways to be flood safe and even flood savvy by paying attention to advice and guidance from the experts.
The first thing to do is logical and you are probably already doing it: Watch the weather. Monitor your favorite news source for weather alerts and updates, especially when you know a storm may be brewing and coming your way. You can set automatic alerts easily. And understand weather event terminology. There’s a big difference between a flood watch and a flood warning. A watch means flooding may occur. A warning means weather conditions are prime to create flooding.
You can prepare your home for possible flooding. While you should always vacate your home and find a safe place if severe and dangerous weather is coming your way, most weather issues won’t dictate evacuation. But all weather-related issues should prompt preparedness, which may include checking all doors, windows, openings to your home, and checking your basement or first floor areas for items that can easily be damaged in a flood. Put them up high — just in case. Going through and picking up soggy items that could have been safely put on a shelf is not a task you have to face if you think ahead.
Be prepared for power outages. Have plenty of fresh food and water on hand in the event you have to wait out the storm.
Remember, floods are the most common natural disaster that affects the most people. They can be caused by a variety of events, including hurricanes, heavy rain, high winds combined with rain, and even thawing snow. Just a small amount of water in your home where it doesn’t belong can cost thousands of dollars in damage. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance policy covers flooding that could possibly occur in your area. Don’t assume you have flood insurance as part of a normal insurance policy.
If the unthinkable does occur and you suffer from a flooded home, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
The Devastation of Ice Dams
As temperatures change, water freezes, then melts, and refreezes against. Often, as water moves down a surface, you see icicles form. While icicles might be beautiful to look at, when they are hanging from your roof or gutters, they can cause devastation inside your home. What you see might be the start of an ice dam, which can be the root cause of a water damage.
How does it happen? After all, don’t most water damages occur from broken pipes or sudden heavy rain? Not always.
How ice dams form
In the winter, where temperatures drop below freezing, snow melts and then the water runs down the roof and then hits the cold roof eaves and gutters and freezes into ice dams. These tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause melting water to work its way under the shingles, and into your home—instead of off the roof like it normally should.
This can damage interior walls, insulation, woodwork, ceilings… it can warp your floors and even lead to mold forming inside your home, where it does not belong. But all of this can be prevented with a little planning.
Preventing ice dams
In the short term, you can put some ice melt products (calcium chloride), much like you would put on the sidewalk, on areas where ice may build up. You can sprinkle these liberally on the eaves and in the gutters. Some recommend putting the ice melt products in socks or pantyhose and laying them up on the roof, so it crosses over the eaves and gutter. No matter what you do, think safety first and be very careful on ladders or when accessing anything high.
In the long term, insulating your attic should be a priority. Have it inspected to ensure you have the right type and amount of insulation materials. If you can keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves, you stop the formation of ice dams. You do this by increasing ventilation in the attic and plugging every possible air leak that might warm the roof, which melts the snow. We all know everything must melt, but premature melting is the issue here.
But when and if water damage happens, you need help before things go from bad to worse. Do the right thing and call your favorite disaster restoration company. After all, it pays to call a pro!
Previous Water Damage Concerns
When your home is the victim of a water damage event, such as from a leaky roof, when a pipe breaks, a basement floods from heavy rains, whatever the cause… you know when it happens, unless you are on vacation and discover it when you return home.
When water damage occurs, you are quick to clean up the mess and call a professional water damage restoration company. That’s smart home ownership.
But what about when something happened in the past and it wasn’t cleaned properly, or you didn’t even know about it? Such as when you purchase a home, and the previous damage wasn’t disclosed? The longer damage remains, even if hidden and unnoticed, the worse it becomes.
What can you do? Of course, when purchasing a home, asking a lot of questions is important, and a home inspection can reveal what a casual observation will miss.
When buying a home
When you are looking at a home to buy, or even rent, be sure to ask about any previous water damage or other structural issues. Ask about the cause of the damage, and how extensive. A fresh-water leak is much different from a sewage backup, and you need to know this. Was the damage cleaned by the homeowner or a professional restoration firm?
Ask a professional if there is the potential of long-term effects from the previous damage. You want an honest opinion. You do not want to purchase someone else’s issues that should be resolved before you purchase the home.
What can you do?
When you own the property or even if you rent, you have options. Having the previous damage inspected by a professional is a way to protect your family and loved ones. After all, we all know that water damage can lead to mold issues and possible exposure to mold spores. Only a pro will know the extent of the damage and have the proper remediation plan.
Remember: Any damage can be repaired. While it is best to dry out and clean up after a storm or water damage issue, even if months or years go by you can have damaged materials replaced. There is no cost too high that should stop you from doing the right thing and protecting your home and family.
And when in doubt about anything related to disaster restoration issues, water damage, mold contamination, whatever it is, do the right thing. Call your favorite restoration company for a consultation. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How Condensation Works
Not many consider condensation a danger to the belongings or the actual structure in their home, apartment, or commercial building. After all, a little moisture on surfaces isn’t a big deal and can easily be wiped off.
Right? Maybe, but that’s not the entire picture. Even water in very small quantity can be an issue.
Water comes in several forms, such as gas, liquid, and solid. Condensation is formed when molecules of water vapor combine to become liquid water. This happens when water vapor meets colder air and surfaces.
The danger is when this collects in areas prone to condensation, such as your basement. But this isn’t limited to basements. Condensation can collect on surfaces that can be damaged by moisture in virtually any part of the home or office. Condensation threatens metal items that can rust, natural furnishings, such as those made from wood or fabric, books and papers, and other personal items.
While most often think of rainwater, broken pipes, and leaky basements as sources of water damage, condensation can be a hazard as well, but with the slow effect of it, you don’t notice the damage until it is too late.
Here are a few easy tips to limit the impact of potential condensation.
Dehumidify: A simple household dehumidifier is a great device to remove moisture from the air and reduce condensation. The disadvantage is they use quite a bit of electricity, so purchase one that is efficient.
Insulate: Pipes, especially cold-water pipes, can build up condensation and then drip down onto areas adversely affected by moisture. By wrapping your pipes with insulation, you may stop this from happening.
Ventilation: Monitor the humidity inside and outside your home. You might open windows if the weather permits it and humidity is lower outside, or you could run the HVAC system and keep the humidity down with mechanical methods.
Keep moisture away: Ensure your downspouts are working properly and ground water is directed away from foundations. Water seepage can be insidious and very damaging over time, so proper maintenance is important. Make sure windows and doors are properly sealed and weather stripping has been installed, especially in humid areas.
But when anything happens that involves water intrusion and resulting damage, do the right thing. Call your favorite disaster restoration company. They know what to look for and the best way to protect you and your family from more damage and even potentially toxic issues such as mold. After all, it pays to call a pro!
How Evaporation Works
When something gets wet or damp from water damage in your home or even at work, the longer it is wet or damp, the worse the damage over time. Evaporation, while a simple principle we all benefit from every day, is an important scientific concept that you can manipulate to work better for you.
First to consider is what evaporation is… it’s an activity that occurs when a liquid substance turns into or becomes a gas. Think about when you boil water, and you hold a glass above the pot. What happens? The glass gets wet. That’s because evaporation is occurring in the pot and the gas is moving up onto the glass you are holding. You also see condensation on windows. That’s because evaporation put water into the air as a gas and now it is coming back to a surface. Many energy sources increase the rate of evaporation, such as when you put a wet item outside on a sunny day.
For evaporation to occur, the surface of the water must be exposed so there can be an escape of moisture. For any water damage situation in your home, exposing wet or damp areas is critical. Running a fan on an object that has moisture inside, and the air can’t get to that area, is worthless. This is why a professional water damage company will work to expose all wet or damp areas affected by a flood or leak and allow that moisture to escape — into the air and then into a dehumidifier.
The more energy you apply to a wet area, the better the evaporation. You must remove the moisture from damaged items, building materials, and other affected areas to avoid a musty smell and mold that can develop in a short amount of time. That energy can come in the form of air movement (running a fan), adding heat (professional restoration companies use this technology) and ventilation (opening windows so air can move, running the air conditioner or furnace system).
Really, although evaporation is a simple process and we rely on it (imagine if you never dried off after a shower!), it is also a science. When anything gets wet in your home that shouldn’t, don’t wait for things to dry on their own. At minimum, contact your favorite disaster restoration company and ask them what they think you should do. After all, it pays to call a pro!