Water damage is an occurrence caused by many different factors which include one we've been hearing about a lot in the news; hurricanes. Other natural disasters that cause major water damage are heavy rainfall, tsunamis, and storm surges. You would have to be really unlucky to experience all of them, or even one, but there are more common causes of water damage that typically happen more frequently inside of homes including leaks, plumbing issues, HVAC systems, household appliances, and issues caused by clogged gutters.
Water damage in Florida is typically an ongoing issue especially during the hurricane and heavy rain seasons. There are several parts in Florida that have a greater chance of experiencing floods and water damage with the main reason being living near large bodies of water. The main areas in Florida that are likely to flood are:
Flooding in and of itself is difficult to deal with, but when you consider everything else that comes along with water damage (mold growth) the stress of it all begins to rise. Because of mold growth, water damage over time can affect your health and can become very dangerous. Black mold infestation is one of the consequences of not taking the proper actions when water damage occurs that can increase health risks to many individuals. People suffering from asthma and allergies are typically affected the most as well as infants, children and the elderly. They can experience respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and many other long-term affects down the line. Black mold is especially dangerous within your home because flood waters are contaminated from sewage and can bring on more severe problems.
Luckily, there is one major sign of water damage you can look out for: brown stains on your ceilings and walls. This a key sign of roof leaks caused by rainfall. If there are streaky stains on your walls in the bathroom, this could be a sign of a burst pipe. Streaky stains on the walls of your home can also be caused by overflowing gutters or appliances. Floorboards can show signs of water damage too. If your floorboards have discoloration or changes in texture, this is a clear indication of water coming from somewhere. Some signs to look for in your floorboards include:
Believe it or not, you can use your ears to detect water damage. If you can hear dripping or rushing water, you may have a problem. If you hear a noise similar water dripping, look for things in your home that have changed appearance. Another sense you can use is your sense of smell, for instance by smelling musky/rotten mold.
As always we want to reiterate how important it is that you look over your insurance coverage to see if flood damage is covered. When your property is damaged, please don't wait to take action! It's also a great idea to have a plan-of-action in place in case you do experience water damage. Do your research now on water damage companies in your area and let them know they're part of your emergency plan. Lastly, do not worry because, in the end, everything will get better and be okay.
Many times, a leak can be an easy fix with just a small replacement or adjustment as needed. Other times, a small leak can stem from a large problem where major damage control is required. If and when you detect a leak in your home or place of business, the issue should be addressed as promptly as possible. Ignoring signs of a leak can cause issues within your home that you can potentially avoid when you respond immediately.
There are many places leaks can occur:
o Water Heater
Leaks can cause minor problems such as and an irritating runny faucet, waste of water, and high water bills. One household can waste up to 10,000 gallons of water per year just from water leaks. That waste not only has a negative impact on the environment, but also your wallet. Common household leaks cause your water bill to rise, which is money out of your pocket that you could have spent otherwise.
Although minor problems can be very troublesome, there are bigger issues that can severely damage your home.
Mold development is one of the most common and most consequential causes of leak damage. Mold can form anywhere moisture is present within 24-48 hours. This is the #1 reason why you need to act quickly when you find a leak because the quicker you get rid of a leak, the less chance mold has to form. To reduce the development of mold, you must control moisture. If mold penetrates an area surrounding a leak, the entire area must be removed to eliminate mold. For example, if you smell a musty odor coming from below your sink, you most likely have a mold problem. Fixing the leak will not get rid of mold, it will still continue to spread because of the existing moisture. Removing the surrounding cupboard and base may be necessary to get rid of mold entirely. This is a must especially because mold is overall very harmful and can cause serious health issues
Structure deterioration is a cause of damage from roof leaks. Chronic roof leaks can cause the wood in your home’s structure and ceilings to deteriorate. Although this can be a slow process, watch for signs of roof leaks such as dark spots in your ceiling. When you see water come through the ceiling and leak onto the floor, this means that the surrounding area within the ceiling is absorbing most of that water. Keep a close watch on even the smallest roof leaks because even one can cause wood to weaken and eventually cause a ceiling collapse.
Electrical issues can also be a factor in assessing damage from water leaks. As your household leaks pass through and comes in contact with many interiors, it will most likely reach the electrical components of your home. Uncovered wires and outlet framework can easily cause shock and even fires when coming in contact with water. It only takes one small spark to cause an entire building to burn down. Flooding can also be a factor in carrying electrical currents and causing a fire. Act quickly if you ever find yourself in a flood and turn off your electricity in the flooded areas. This can prevent your entire home from burning down and even prevent death.
To avoid major issues and costly repairs take care of leaks in your home or business facility immediately! Ignoring what might look like a small issue can uncover extreme structural damage and can even cause harm to those around it. Call your local leak detection service company at the first sign of a leak.
AQA Website - Leak Detection Services
Environmental Protection Agency
Alliance for Water Efficiency
Has your home recently been affected by a major weather event such as a hurricane or tornado? Perhaps you're anticipating a big storm and want to be sure you're protecting your household as much as possible. It can be a scary thing to experience an intense weather episode no matter how many times you've been through it before. Each storm is different and has the potential to damage your home.
Your house is one of your biggest financial assets, and it's also a sanctuary for all who inhabit it, so it's natural to want to make sure it is in the best condition possible. For those living in a climate that has unpredictable storms or a predictable storm season, there's a lot to think about when it comes to securing your home against damage during a weather episode. Intense storms can seriously take their toll on the structural integrity of a home if proper steps aren't taken after damage occurs. It's easy to get overwhelmed with damage to your home after a storm, after all, it can get pretty costly. However, when all is said and done, the most important thing is that your home is still a healthy environment to live in after a storm.
So, what type of damage can happen to a home after a storm? Of course, the more intense a storm is, the more potential it has to cause damage to structures in the area. The most common damage you will find to a home will be due to water from precipitation getting into the house along with damage from high winds that often accompany a storm.
High winds most commonly cause damage to the roof including the shingles and gutters, siding, windows, garages/sheds. Powerful wind can uproot trees, bring down power lines, and even turn a seemingly lightweight object into an airborne danger. When the high-velocity wind picks up an item in the middle a storm, there's no predicting what route it will take or what damage it will cause! Water damage can quickly turn into a mold remediation issue if you do not take steps to get rid of the water in the home as soon as possible. Mold resulting from water damage can seriously affect the health of those who live in the household!
Here are some quick steps you can take to protect your home after a major storm like a hurricane:
Water damage and mold are words that no homeowner wants to hear. Luckily, there are types of insurances that can cover such losses. Recently in the news, there has been speculation that insurance claims have spiked and for no good reason at all. The real question is, who decides what a good reason for an insurance claim? We take a look at each piece to this puzzle and analyze whether or not this speculation is one sided, or all facts are being considered.
First, let's examine what constitutes as a good reason to make an insurance claim. Should homeowners only be able to make a claim in the event of a large natural disaster such as a hurricane, or, should they have the freedom to make a claim if they have a plumbing leak that could potentially cause more damage that previously mentioned hurricane? What if the plumbing leak flooded their entire first floor and the hurricane only caused a minor roof leak? These are the factors that should be considered when all parties including the homeowner, insurance company, and contractor, assess damage and decide if a claim should or should not be made.
In the featured video below, News 9 reports on a sudden rise in insurance claims featuring Citizens Property Insurance and highlights a bad experience of one set of homeowners.
The purpose of the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) is to give the homeowner the complete right to choose what contractors work on their home and to ensure repairs and damage control will begin in a timely manner. You would hope it is easy to trust contractors that are presenting homeowners with an AOB, but unless you already have a trusting relationship with them, you really can’t be 100% sure, right? There may be companies that abuse the power of an AOB, but you must not let those companies hinder the reputation of all companies that use an AOB because it is used to benefit the homeowner when they are faced with damage and a claim needs to be made. In any given industry you would assume that there are those who have bad experiences and those who have GREAT experiences. Luckily, there is something homeowners can do to safeguard themselves so they don’t repeat the similar outcome as we saw in the video and that is EDUCATION.
One way to ensure you are not being deceived by your insurance company or contractors when you have water or mold damage to your home, is to understand all factors that are involved when making a claim. These 5 factors are:
· Know your insurance policy
· Know your rights
· Research your contractors
· Get familiar with your state’s insurance claim laws
All homeowners should have a complete print out of their insurance policy in an easily accessible, safe place. Homeowners should also make sure they know their coverages in detail, especially in the case of an emergency. Your rights as a homeowner are very important to also be aware of. This way, you are less likely to be taken advantage of. Before a catastrophe such as water damage, or mold, have a ready-to-dial contractor you already built trust with. Have them input your information into their system so that if and when there is a hurricane or major plumbing leak, you are already in the system and you don’t have to waste time going through that sometimes lengthy process. Also, check your contractors licensing and online reviews. This will give you real life experiences of the company you're choosing to work with and provide you with a sense of security when you know they are properly licensed and insured. Knowing your state’s insurance claim laws can be very helpful not only when you need to make a claim due to damage, but also when you are shopping for your insurance policy. This way, you will know certain limits and regulations related to insurance claims. Document any and all claim related damage of your home. When your home is in tip-top shape, take the before photos. Take photos of ceilings, inside of cabinets, floors, and anywhere you have plumbing. If you find you have mold or water damage, take multiple photos of the damage and date the photos. By following these 5 pieces of advice, you will be more knowledgeable and prepared in the event of water damage and mold related claims.
Remember, knowledge is power and not all contractors are the same. The AOB can be very beneficial to homeowners especially in an emergency situation. For more information, view our blog page and website.
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Recovering from the damages of a natural disaster like Hurricane Irma has been devastating! Homeowners in Florida and the surrounding areas are no stranger to these issues. Mold has the potential to leave lasting effects on your possessions and well being. This is true even months after a storm passes. You can see why it's important to think about mold damage in your home.
Researchers estimate that Irma has brought property damage around $42 to $65 billion dollars. Residential flood damage is at $25 to $28 billion dollars alone. Irma was only one of the strong storms that brought in flooding and strong wings in this season. No matter the level of damage your home, it's wise to be extra cautious about the signs of mold in your home.
The residual moisture, humidity, and loss of power after a storm offer the perfect conditions for mold to grow. Even the smallest amount of mold exposure can bring symptoms of respiratory issues and skin irritation. For those who have a mold allergy or chronic lung issues, it can bring severe reactions. This is especially true for the elderly. The longer the mold goes unnoticed, the stronger the physical reaction can be. Even healthy people can develop asthma from exposure to these damp environments. Here are some signs you can look out for when it comes to mold exposure in your home and what you can do about it.
One of the easiest ways to detect mold in your home is by the smell. If you're noticing a musty, dirty smell in your home, it's a good sign that you have mold somewhere, even if it isn't visible. Are you noticing general respiratory irritation at home but not when you're out of the house? Moisture problems can manifest as water stains on walls and floors, peeling and bubbling of surfaces, or even bowing of walls. You might even notice things like extra condensation on walls, windows, and pipes. These are all sure-fire signs of moisture damage and high humidity, which allows mold to flourish. Mold will grow faster in places where flood water remained stagnant, such as in your basement. Floods are notorious for creating mold in unseen spaces like underneath floorboards and behind walls.
The first thing you should do if you notice signs of mold damage in your home is to get in touch with a trusted professional. Crews in Florida are experiencing huge demand in the months after Irma, so the sooner you're able to call, the better. You can control the conditions where mold flourishes. Ensure humidity levels aren't higher than 50% with a dehumidifier. It's a wise idea to fix any structural damage that could further allow water into the home, such as roof leaks. Another way to combat mold is to ventilate areas that are suspect. The faster you act, the better for your home and health.
Living in a climate like Florida where severe weather is common creates challenges for homeowners. It's important to know how to prepare your home for the 2018 hurricane season! Any effort that you put into storm-proofing your house will help when it comes to the safety of your family and structural integrity of the home.
There are plenty of issues that can occur with the damage storms bring. Even the best drainage systems and foundations can get overwhelmed with the amount of water brought in with a hurricane. Water getting into the home can weaken drywall, soak insulation and carpet. This creates the perfect conditions for mold to grow. The longer you have standing water in a home, the more potential there is for long-term damage. Furniture, electrical systems, and appliances can get ruined with any amount of water exposure. If you don't have one already, consider buying a generator for when the electricity gets knocked out. Make sure you know how to use beforehand too!
Preparing a home for hurricane season should be a top priority for homeowners in Florida. First, be sure to review any insurance policies that are in place so you're not left in the dark. Does your policy cover damage from a flood that follows a big storm? Storm guard your home by cleaning gutters and placing storm shutters on windows. Re-caulking windows and doors add another layer of protection against water damage. You can also install bolts on entry doors to protect against high wind. Since your roof is the biggest opening within the home, you want to make sure it's secure as possible. It's worth it to spend the extra money to seal your roof deck and fasten hurricane clips to the roof and walls. Remember, any lawn decorations or patio furniture can become airborne during a storm, so place them in a secure spot before the winds pick up.
The Atlantic hurricane season begins with the first of June and lasts until November 30. Several forecasts are predicting that there will be anywhere from 13 to 18 tropical storms coming through this year. They're reporting ten of those have the potential to become hurricanes. The average number is around eight named storms per-year, so we are already looking at a potentially busier than average Florida hurricane season in 2018. Some areas are still recovering from the 2017 season, so you can see the importance of preparing your home.
The most important thing to do when you're dealing with damage from a hurricane is to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible. There are some simple measures you can take to alleviating a problem such as removing excess water and airing out the area. But, nothing replaces the skill and expertise of professionals. You can learn more about how to detect damage and steps to take by reviewing some information we've written on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
Your home is a major investment, and as a homeowner, you naturally want to protect it from damage. This is why it can be very upsetting to deal with a flood in your home. Your house isn't just an investment, it's a major part of your daily life. Flooding can happen anywhere, it isn't only a regional issue. The potential for damage to your possessions and health is enough to become informed on how to deal with this issue if it arises. Flooding can damage your sentimental belongings and even create health issues for your family in the future if not taken care of in an efficient manner.
There are initial steps you can take if you notice signs of water intrusion in your home. Essentially, you'll want to dry the area as soon as possible. But before you do that, take pictures to fully document the issue for your insurance purposes, and turn off the electrical source to the room. Be sure to check over your insurance policy to ensure you're aware of the coverage that you have. Depending on your policy, certain items like the essential systems in the home and appliances could be the only things covered. Each policy is different, don't be surprised about what is and isn't covered when it is too late.
Documentation is important before and after a flood! Always keep copies of your policies on hand along with contact information for the insurance company to review when needed. If you experience flooding, contact them as soon as possible. The longer the water stands, there is greater potential for property damage and mold growth, especially within the first 48 hours. This is why it is important to remove the water and ventilate the area to dry!
Besides the top mistake of waiting too long to remove water after a flood, there are other common mistakes to avoid. Many people decide to wade into the waters without thinking about what might be lurking underfoot. Depending on the severity and location of the flood, you could unknowingly walk into an electrical hazard, contaminated sewer water, unstable foundations, or sharp metal and glass objects. It is best to let a professional with the tools and experience to begin remediation. You might think your shop vac and household fans can resolve the issue, but this could actually make things worse. The peace of mind of knowing that mold isn't lurking and growing in unseen areas of a house is reason enough to call in the professionals.
Begin your search for professional remediation immediately after experiencing flooding in your home. Ideally, look for a company that is licensed and insured for your protection. The issue is time sensitive, so they should have a flexible schedule to accommodate those with emergencies. If they aren't available within the next 24-48 hours to assess and begin remediation of the issues, it's wise to look for another company.