Signs of Mold - How to Know if You Have Mold
Mold is a common issue that can affect homes, leading to various health problems and structural damage if left unaddressed. Identifying the signs of mold early on is crucial for effective mold remediation and ensuring a healthy living environment.
In this article, we will explore the different signs of mold in homes and discuss why prompt action is necessary. Let’s dive in!
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in moist and humid environments. It reproduces by releasing spores into the air, which can then settle and grow in various areas of a home.
Identifying the signs of mold early is essential to prevent its spread and potential health hazards.
Signs of Mold in Homes
Visible Mold Growth
One of the first signs of mold in a home is a persistent musty odor. If you notice a damp, earthy smell that lingers for a while, it may indicate the presence of mold.
The odor is often more noticeable in enclosed spaces such as basements, attics, or areas with poor ventilation.
Not only that but mold can also affect clothing, fabrics, and other porous materials. You would sense a persistent musty smell on your clothes, towels, or upholstery, even after washing.
And lastly, sometimes there may not be a musty, rotten smell, but just a bad indoor air quality in general, with a stuffy or stale atmosphere. This is also a sign something is wrong.
Individuals sensitive to mold may experience allergic reactions when exposed to mold spores. Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, nasal congestion, or skin rashes.
If you or your family members experience these symptoms consistently at home but not elsewhere, it could be a sign of mold presence.
Prolonged exposure to mold can lead to respiratory problems. Wheezing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, or persistent coughing may indicate the inhalation of mold spores and the need for mold remediation.
Besides allergic reactions and respiratory issues, mold exposure has been associated with more severe health conditions, including chronic sinus infections, asthma exacerbation, and even fungal infections in individuals with weakened immune systems.
Mold growth often results in stains and discoloration on walls, ceilings, or other surfaces.
These stains may appear green, black, brown, or yellow, depending on the type of mold. Pay attention to any unusual discoloration, particularly in areas with poor ventilation or frequent moisture exposure.
Mold growth can cause paint or wallpaper to peel or bubble. Bubbling or cracking on painted surfaces or wallpaper that is peeling off indicate mold growth underneath.
As mold grows and spreads, it can cause structural damage to your home. It can weaken walls, ceilings, and floors, leading to structural integrity issues.
Sagging, bulging, or crumbling surfaces call for further investigation.
All of the above signs may not be caused by mold. Instead, they may indicate a hidden water leak.
However, that leak will eventually lead to mold development because of what we said earlier – mold thrives in damp environments.
Areas with water damage, such as busted pipe leaks, are highly susceptible to mold growth. If your home has experienced water-related issues in the past, closely inspect these areas.
High humidity levels promote mold growth in homes. Use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in different areas of your home. Ideally, indoor humidity should be kept below 50% to discourage mold growth. Consider using dehumidifiers or improving ventilation in humid areas.
One of the signs of high humidity levels is excessive condensation on windows, pipes, or other surfaces.
Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces. Monitor areas prone to condensation and take steps to reduce humidity levels.
1. Can I remove mold by cleaning it with bleach?
While bleach can temporarily remove mold stains, it does not kill mold spores effectively. The root cause of the problem is usually not located on the surface.
Instead, the cause may be a leak behind walls. If you do not repair that leak for good, all of that cleaning with bleach would just be a waste of time since mold would simply grow again within a few days.
2. How long does it take to remediate mold in a home?
The time to remediate mold in a home depends on the extent of the infestation and the underlying cause. It can range from a few days to several weeks.
3. Is mold always visible?
No, mold can grow behind walls, under carpets, or in hidden areas where it may not be immediately visible.
4. Can I test for mold myself?
While DIY mold testing kits are available, it’s best to consult professionals for accurate mold testing and assessment. They have the expertise to identify the type of mold and recommend appropriate mold remediation methods.
5. How can I prevent mold growth in my home?
To prevent mold growth, control humidity levels, fix water leaks promptly, ensure proper ventilation, and maintain a clean and dry environment. Regular inspections and addressing moisture issues are key to mold prevention.
From musty odors and visible mold growth to allergic reactions and respiratory issues, being vigilant about these mold signs can help you address mold-related problems promptly. Remember, mold remediation should be carried out by professionals to ensure thorough and effective removal of all risks.
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What to Do After a Flood - Safety Measures
Flooding can be a devastating event that leaves homeowners and communities grappling with the aftermath. If you’ve experienced a flood, it’s crucial to know what steps to take afterward to ensure your safety and mitigate further damage.
In this article, we will guide you through the essential actions to take after a flood, from assessing safety to seeking professional help and addressing the emotional impact to your family members. Let’s get started!
What Causes Floods?
Floods can result from various causes, such as heavy rain, river overflow, or storms and hurricanes. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to approach the situation with caution and follow the necessary steps to recover effectively.
After a flood, your first priority should be safety. Ensure that the floodwaters have receded and it’s safe to enter your property. Be mindful of potential hazards like electrical or structural damage.
Floodwaters can contain A LOT of hazards – sewage with urine and feces, trash, dirt, mud, chemicals, commercial and industrial waste, biohazards, a plethora of different bacteria and microbes, and so much more.
Not only that, but when water comes into contact with your electrical system, there is a risk of short circuits, electrocutions, and even fires.
Be very careful when entering a flooded property as the structural integrity of your walls and ceilings could be compromised, and NEVER enter the floodwater itself. It’s just not worth the risk.
If you’re unsure about the safety of the building, consult with professionals before entering.
File a Flood Insurance Claim
Reach out to NFIP as soon as possible to report the flood damage. They will guide you through the claims process and provide information on coverage and reimbursement.
Document all communication with your insurance company, including claim numbers and representatives’ names.
Before cleaning or making any repairs, document the extent of the damage. Take photographs or videos of affected areas, furniture, and belongings.
This evidence will be crucial during the insurance claim process. Make a detailed inventory of damaged items, noting their approximate value and age.
Secure Your Property and Initiate the Recovery Process
To prevent further damage and ensure safety for everyone, take steps to secure your property. Board up broken windows, lock doors, and consider temporary fencing if necessary.
The next step is to remove water and dry out the affected area. Use pumps, wet-dry vacuums, or professional water removal services to extract standing water.
Open windows and doors, if safe, to increase ventilation. Utilize fans, dehumidifiers, and heaters to expedite the drying process.
After removing the water and drying out the area, thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces. Use a bleach solution or other appropriate disinfectants to kill any bacteria, viruses, or mold that may have been introduced by the floodwater.
Wear protective gear such as coveralls, gloves, masks, and goggles during the cleaning process.
Once the area is dry and clean, assess the structural damage and determine what needs repair or replacement.
Seek professional help if necessary, especially for electrical, plumbing, or structural issues. Make sure that your professionals follow local building codes and regulations during the restoration process.
You may want to call in a restoration company from the get go. Depending on the amount of water that has flooded your property, you may not be able to carry out water removal and drying on your own.
Take Care of Your Loved Ones
Experiencing a flood can be emotionally distressing for anyone. It’s important to address the emotional impact and support your family members as well as yourself.
Make sure that you and your loved ones get support from people close to you or professionals who can provide guidance and understanding during this challenging time.
Remember to prioritize self-care and take breaks when necessary.
Flood-Proof Your Property Against Future Incidents
To minimize the risk of future flood damage, consider taking preventative measures:
Flood Recovery FAQs
1. How long does it take for a flooded house to dry out?
The drying time for a flooded house depends on various factors such as the extent of the damage, the amount of water, and the drying methods used. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
2. Will my insurance cover flood damage?
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies usually do not cover flood damage. You need separate flood insurance to be adequately protected. Contact your insurance company to discuss your coverage options.
3. Can I clean up the flood damage myself?
For minor floods, you can clean up the damage yourself if you have the necessary equipment and knowledge. However, for extensive or severe damage, it’s recommended to hire professional water damage restoration services.
4. How can I prevent mold growth after a flood?
To prevent mold growth, it’s important to remove excess moisture and dry the affected area promptly. Use dehumidifiers, fans, and proper ventilation to reduce humidity levels. Thoroughly clean and disinfect all surfaces to eliminate any existing mold spores.
5. Should I buy a dehumidifier after a flood?
Using a dehumidifier after a flood can be beneficial in removing excess moisture from the air and preventing mold growth. Consider buying or renting a dehumidifier to aid in the drying process.
Recovering from a flood requires a systematic approach and thorough attention to detail. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure your safety, document the damage, clean and restore your property, and take preventive measures for the future.
Remember to seek professional help when needed and prioritize your emotional well-being throughout the process.
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How to Pick a Dehumidifier - Complete Guide
Dealing with excessive moisture in your home? Struggling with water damage?
A dehumidifier could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Excess humidity can lead to mold growth, musty odors, and even health issues.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of picking the right dehumidifier for your needs, ensuring a comfortable and healthy living environment.
Before we dive into the factors to consider when choosing a dehumidifier, it’s important to understand how they work. Dehumidifiers are appliances that remove excess moisture from the air, reducing humidity levels. They achieve this by condensing the moisture on cooling coils or absorbing it with a desiccant material.
Using a dehumidifier offers several benefits. Firstly, it helps prevent mold and mildew growth, protecting your home and belongings. Secondly, it reduces musty odors, creating a fresher and more pleasant living environment.
Additionally, dehumidifiers can alleviate respiratory issues caused by high humidity levels. They also aid in drying damp laundry faster and can even help preserve the lifespan of certain items like books and electronics.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dehumidifier
The size and capacity of a dehumidifier are crucial factors to consider. You need to determine the square footage of the area you want to dehumidify and choose a dehumidifier with the appropriate capacity to effectively remove excess moisture in such area.
Look for a dehumidifier that offers precise humidity control and adjustable settings. This allows you to set and maintain your desired humidity level, ensuring optimal comfort and efficiency. Speaking of…
Energy efficiency is an important consideration, as it impacts both the environment and your electricity bills. Look for dehumidifiers with an Energy Star rating, as they are designed to consume less energy while providing the same level of performance.
Consider the noise level of the dehumidifier, especially if you plan to use it in living spaces or bedrooms. Look for models that operate quietly, allowing you to enjoy a peaceful environment.
Check the maintenance requirements of the dehumidifier. Look for models with easy-to-access filters that can be cleaned or replaced without much hassle. Regular maintenance ensures optimal performance and longevity.
Some dehumidifiers come with additional features like built-in timers, auto-defrost functions, or digital displays. Assess these extra features and determine if they align with your needs and preferences.
Different Types of Dehumidifiers
There are various types of dehumidifiers available in the market. Understanding their differences can help you make an informed decision:
Refrigerative dehumidifiers use a cooling coil to condense moisture from the air. They are ideal for most residential settings and offer effective humidity control.
Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant material to absorb moisture from the air. They are often more energy-efficient and operate at lower temperatures, making them suitable for colder environments.
As the name suggests, whole-house dehumidifiers are designed to dehumidify an entire home. They are typically installed as part of the HVAC system.
Portable dehumidifiers are versatile and can be easily moved from room to room. They are suitable for smaller spaces or areas that require temporary dehumidification, like water-damaged rooms.
How to Determine the Right Size for Your Space
Determining the right size of dehumidifier for your space is essential for optimal performance.
Follow these steps to calculate the appropriate capacity:
Step 1: Measure the length and width of the room in feet.
Step 2: Multiply the length and width measurements to get the square footage.
Step 3: Consider the moisture level in your area:
Step 4: The resulting number is the capacity you should look for in a dehumidifier (in pints).
Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Dehumidifier
Now that you have a clear understanding of the factors and types of dehumidifiers, follow this step-by-step guide to choose the right dehumidifier:
Evaluate why you need a dehumidifier. Is it for a specific room or the entire house? Do you have any specific requirements or concerns?
Perhaps you have water damage. Do you really need to purchase a dehumidifier? Or can you just hire a water damage restoration company to handle the problem for you?
Weigh in your options.
Measure the dimensions of the room and calculate the square footage to determine the capacity required, as outlined above.
Decide on the desired humidity level to maintain in your space. This will help you choose a dehumidifier with appropriate control settings.
Conduct thorough research on different dehumidifier models. Consider their features, performance, and customer reviews. Compare their specifications to find the best fit for your needs.
Some of the popular models include Haier 20-Pint Dehumidifier, BLACK+DECKER 30-Pint Dehumidifier, and Honeywell 70-Pint Dehumidifier.
Read reviews from customers who have purchased and used the dehumidifiers you are considering. Pay attention to their experiences, pros, and cons to gain valuable insights.
Opt for an energy-efficient dehumidifier to reduce your environmental footprint and save on energy costs in the long run.
If noise is a concern, choose a dehumidifier that operates quietly, especially for bedrooms or living areas.
Ensure the dehumidifier you choose has easily accessible filters and consider the maintenance requirements. This will help you keep the unit running smoothly.
Picking the right dehumidifier is crucial for maintaining a comfortable and healthy living environment. Consider factors such as size, capacity, humidity control, energy efficiency, noise level, and maintenance requirements when making your decision.
By following our step-by-step guide and understanding the different types of dehumidifiers available, you can confidently choose a dehumidifier that meets your specific needs.
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Black Mold Symptoms - Dangers of Black Mold
Black mold, scientifically known as “Stachybotrys chartarum,” is a prevalent and perilous form of mold commonly found in residential properties.
It manifests as black or dark green spots on walls, often accompanied by visible damage. These signs serve as indicators of mold presence within homes.
What Does Black Mold Smell Like
The scent of black mold is typically described as a potent musty odor. People also report experiencing cold-like symptoms when in close proximity to areas with a moldy smell.
This distinctive scent tends to be more pungent compared to other unpleasant odors, such as garbage or foul-smelling clothes.
Black Mold vs Regular Mold
Differentiating between black mold and other mold types involves more than just observing color; one’s personal well-being also plays a crucial role.
Health professionals strongly advise individuals to avoid contact with black mold due to its potential to cause severe health issues.
If you have identified mold in your home and notice a decline in your health, such as persistent coughing, sneezing, dizziness, nausea, sore throat, chronic fatigue, or heightened allergic reactions and worsened asthma, there is a high likelihood that you are dealing with the black mold.
Breathing in a lot of black mold spores can cause a variety of lung health problems, besides Asthma, such as hay fever, sleep apnea, severe coughing, and various pulmonary infections.
Is it Safe to Live in a House with Black Mold
While it is highly recommended to address black mold promptly upon detection or the presence of signs, short-term exposure is unlikely to harm individuals in good health.
However, prolonged exposure to black mold can be detrimental, particularly for those with respiratory problems and children.
To safeguard yourself and your family from any potential risks, it is crucial to take immediate action as soon as you observe signs of black mold.
Where Does Black Mold Grow
Black mold usually grows on cellulose-rich materials such as fiberboard, gypsum board, and paper.
When there is moisture from water damage, leaks, condensation, infiltration, or flooding, black mold starts to develop. Its growth requires constant presence of moisture.
Other Common Mold Types in Homes
Danger level: High
Common growth areas: Stored food, houseplants, air conditioning/ventilation systems
Color: Varies; can be any color
Less severe – Headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea
More severe – Lung bleeding, brain abscess
Danger level: High
Common growth areas: Water-damaged sections of properties, mainly basements and attics
Color: Predominantly brown
Less severe – General allergy symptoms
More severe – Neurological damage, seizures, asthma
Note: Chaetomium often coexists with black mold.
Removing the source of moisture is crucial to prevent its reoccurrence in your property.
Aspergillus, Stachybotrys, and Chaetomium are considered the three most hazardous mold types. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to find them in residential properties.
If you suspect the presence of any of these molds in your home, it is advisable to seek professional assistance immediately.
Danger level: Medium
Common growth areas: Furniture, wood
Less severe – Coughing, sneezing, itchy skin, headaches
More severe – Asthma, respiratory problems
Danger level: Medium/low
Common growth areas: Damp surfaces
Color: Dark brown/grey
Less severe – Mild allergic reactions
More severe – Asthma
To sum it up, black mold can be an unsettling problem for many homeowners. If you suspect the presence of black mold in your home, it is crucial to conduct proper mold testing and mold remediation without delay.
Also, if you’ve got water damage (you likely do, since that’s one of the most common causes of black mold growth), you need to carry out prompt water damage restoration.
We can help you with that, just give us a call!
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Can You Clean Mold Yourself
Can You Clean Mold Yourself
The decision of whether or not to tackle mold removal on your own depends greatly on your specific circumstances. Firstly, let’s consider your well-being.
It’s important to be aware that mold can pose health risks, particularly if you’re dealing with a hazardous type such as Aspergillus or Stachybotrys (commonly known as “black mold“). These varieties of mold can be harmful to individuals with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions.
If you, as an average individual without any training or extensive knowledge about mold, attempt to address the issue without proper equipment, it could lead to problems.
Now, let’s explore whether you can actually eliminate the mold yourself, without professional equipment.
In many cases, you can. If the affected area is small, you should be able to clean the mold without encountering significant difficulties.
However, if the mold infestation covers a larger area, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional.
Continue reading to learn more.
Do You Need a Professional to Remove Mold
The severity of the mold problem directly correlates to the likelihood of needing professional mold removal services.
Not only is it unsafe to attempt mold removal on your own when the problem is overwhelming, but you are also likely to be unsuccessful since the root cause of major mold issues is typically deep within the walls, e.g. a busted pipe.
Mold is usually caused by water damage and therefore if you don’t successfully mitigate water damage and its cause, any mold cleanup you do won’t address the problem successfully.
Simply wiping or brushing the affected surface won’t do anything.
How Do Companies Remove Mold
Professionals commence the mold removal process by containing the affected area, preventing further contamination in unaffected regions.
Once this is accomplished, they proceed to remove the mold, often requiring the removal of the affected surface, which unfortunately may not be salvageable in most cases.
After successfully eliminating the mold, mold removal technicians undertake a thorough cleaning to ensure no remnants are left behind.
Additionally, they may enhance the treated surface’s resistance to future mold problems by utilizing a sealer or similar products.
How Much Does Professional Mold Removal Cost
In California, mold remediation usually costs $1,500-3,500. With the more severe cases, the cost can go into five figures.
Mold removal companies quote each client individually. It’s impossible to have a one-size-fits-all price tag because each client has a different kind of mold problem.
If you need any help with mold removal, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Vetted Los Angeles Restorations offers 24/7 emergency service to all of Los Angeles County.
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The Impact of Water Damage on Property Value
Water damage can have a significant impact on the value of a property. Whether it’s caused by a burst pipe, a leaking roof, or even a natural disaster like a flood, water damage can lead to various issues that affect the structural integrity and overall condition of a building.
Today, we will explore the different aspects of water damage and its implications for property value, backed up by studies from credible institutions. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it!
Understanding Water Damage
Before delving into the impact on property value, it’s crucial to understand what water damage entails. Water damage refers to the destruction, deterioration, or impairment of a property caused by water intrusion via a leak, overflow, or spill.
Various things can cause it, including plumbing failures, faulty appliances, or simply inadequate maintenance of smaller leaks that eventually turn into a bigger issue.
Assessing the Impact of Water Damage on Property Value
When evaluating the impact of water damage on the value of your property, several key factors come into play. Understanding these factors is crucial for property owners, potential buyers, and insurers alike.
Extent of Water Damage
One of the primary concerns with water damage is its impact on a property’s structural integrity. Prolonged exposure to water can damage load-bearing walls, drywall, and insulation, weaken foundations, and compromise the overall stability of the entire home or commercial building.
The more damage the property has sustained and the longer the damage has been prevalent, the more extensive and costly repairs may be necessary to restore the property to its normal condition.
Hence, those water damage restoration costs, which typically range from $1,500 to $5,000, will likely be subtracted from the initial value of the property, leading to a lower asking price.
Mold and Mildew
Water damage almost always leads to the growth of mold and mildew. Mold can spread rapidly, causing not only structural damage but also potential health problems for occupants.
The presence of mold and mildew can significantly diminish property value, as prospective buyers may be deterred by the associated health risks and the need for extensive (and expensive) mold remediation.
Here’s some hard data. Mold can devalue your property by 20 to 37%, according to the Appraisal Journal. Also, the same article says that around 50% of potential buyers walk away from the deal when they learn of a mold problem in a house.
Water damage insurance coverage can vary a lot, depending on the policy and the cause of the damage. Most policies cover only accidental and sudden damage that happens indoors. Keywords are “accidental” and “indoors”. Both conditions have to be met.
For example, if there is a leak that wasn’t sudden and instead caused damage over an extensive period of time by going unnoticed and untreated, insurance companies will view that as preventable damage and not as “an accidental and sudden event that was out of your control”.
But let’s also take flooding. Completely accidental and out of your control, but still not originating from indoors. The same goes for sewage backups caused by external forces like severe weather, flooding, or tree roots penetrating through sewer line pipes.
These events often necessitate separate policies for protection.
Whether or not an insurance company will cover the costs of repairs will play a role in the valuation of your house or place of business.
Also, one more thing to keep in mind is that the insurance company will likely just pay for the repairs of the damage itself and not for the repairs of what caused the damage (e.g., a leaking pipe or dishwasher).
Having a damaged dishwasher or a faulty water supply line won’t help sell your house for more, that’s for sure.
Water Damage Category
Water damage can manifest in multiple different forms, each with varying degrees of contamination:
More contaminated types of water damage are harder to clean up, leading to more expensive restoration costs, which, again, lead to lower valuations.
Cause of Water Damage
Water damage can be triggered by various events. Common culprits include:
Different water damage causes can lead to different amounts of losses and destruction. Floods are among the worst, with flooded properties capable of losing up to 60% of their value in extreme scenarios, according to Ebbwater.
Location - Is Your Property in a Floodplain?
The location of a property also plays a big role in determining its value. In areas prone to flooding or natural disasters, AKA floodplains, properties can be devalued by around 7% due to a higher perceived risk.
Conversely, properties in low-risk areas with effective flood prevention measures may be less affected by these concerns, effectively leading to higher valuations.
Property values are also influenced by market conditions and buyer preferences. In a competitive market, buyers may be less inclined to purchase a property with a history of flooding, as it might require additional investments and repairs. In a buyer’s market, the impact may be less severe, but it can still influence negotiations and offers.
Mitigating Water Damage
Prevention and timely intervention are key to mitigating the impact of water damage on property values.
Taking proactive measures to prevent water damage is crucial. This includes routine maintenance, inspections, and addressing potential issues promptly. Installing proper drainage systems, maintaining roof integrity, and ensuring plumbing fixtures are in good condition can help reduce the risks.
Not only that, but these installations and regular repairs could also help boost the value of a house.
If water damage does occur, swift action is necessary to minimize its impact. Hire a water damage restoration company so that they can handle the issue in time before it gets any worse.
Having a professional restore the damage for you is worth it because they’ll do all of the work right from the start, while you may easily make mistakes when DIY-ing due to a lack of experience, mistakes that can just waste your time and allow for water to further spread and cause more harm.
Professionals will also take on all of the health risks associated with water damage instead of you, which is another huge benefit.
Make sure that they help you take some water and flood-proofing measures for the future, either by doing it themselves or telling you exactly what you need to do.
The same study by Ebbwater that we have mentioned earlier also says that some buyers are willing to spend more on a property that has been properly rebuilt and flood-proofed, so take that into consideration.
And there you have it!
So, how much will your property’s value be impacted?
Hard to say without knowing which factors we’ve outlined are in play for you and which are not.
Use this post as assistance in further calculations. We’ve linked to some studies, but in the end each situation is unique and requires its own in-depth analysis.
We hope this article was helpful to you. If you wish to learn more, just check out some of the other posts we have on our blog. If you need help with water damage, call us for a quote now!
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Water Damage Restoration: Step-by-Step Guide
Standing knee-deep in a water-damaged home can feel like your worst nightmare, and rightfully so.
However, most water damage can be reversed in a process known as water damage restoration. Water damage restoration is a series of processes that seek to return a property to its original state before the water intrusion.
While water damage restoration can be a DIY job, severe water damage should be done by specialists. But what exactly does it entail? Here is your complete water damage restoration guide.
1. Mind Your Safety
Water damage can be devastating, so your safety and that of your loved ones always come first.
If you have severe water damage from a sewage backup or flooding, move everyone, including pets, to a different location, be it a hotel or a friend’s home. If you have an overflowing toilet with gunk contained in one room, lock the door if possible to keep everyone out of that toilet.
If it’s safe to do so, shut off your electric and gas services; if you have an active water leak, shut off your water supply from the main valve. It’s advisable to remain outside your property until specialists determine it’s safe to return inside.
2. Water Damage Inspection
The first step to any water damage restoration project is figuring out precisely what you are dealing with. This is done by conducting a thorough assessment to determine the following;
Identifying the contamination category allows the specialist to begin planning for decontamination later. On the other hand, determining the class of damage will inform the extent of drying and dehumidification required, the equipment to be used, and ultimately the restoration cost.
Flood insurance is common and even a necessity in certain areas. If you have this insurance coverage, you must contact your adjustor once everyone has been moved to safety.
If you don’t have flooding damage but rather a burst pipe, contact your homeowner’s insurance agency to see if they can cover it. Once you notify your insurer, you can take photos and videos of your property and damaged items.
Doing this with a water damage restoration professional on site is advantageous because they can help you file your claim, document the event, and even come up with cost estimates to accompany the claim. If possible, retain some of your damaged, high-value items as proof of loss.
4. Water Removal
Water removal is the first part of managing the actual damage and attempting to restore a property.
Water removal is a crucial part of the whole process. Removing the standing water is done through extraction.
If you opt to DIY, pails and towels can also get the job done, although these are insufficient for severe flooding.
Specialists will remove standing water using extractors. These include submersible pumps and industrial vacuums. After extracting standing water, surface water can be addressed using portable wet/dry vacuums.
As this goes on, or after it’s done, the specialist will use moisture meters and thermal infrared cameras to find hidden pockets of moisture underneath floorboards, behind walls, and other hard-to-reach areas.
This is an extremely important step, as traces of moisture, if unattended to, encourage mold and mildew growth, further damaging property and altering the home’s air quality.
5. Dry and Dehumidify Affected Areas
After stagnant water has been dealt with, drying and dehumidifying are more targeted processes for dealing with any remnant dampness.
Just as in water extraction, specialists will use heavy-duty equipment, including air movers and industrial-grade dehumidifiers, to dry and dehumidify wet areas.
Aside from the tools, specialists can also open windows and doors to increase the airflow. This is also something you can do when cleaning up water damage yourself.
This process takes much more time and attention than water removal because the latter only involves sucking out water. Drying and dehumidifying water damage of classes 3 or 4 will almost always take longer than water removal. Both instances involve water damage that goes beyond 40%, which warrants the removal of floors and walls.
Because mold is always a concern after water damage, the next step includes cleaning and sanitizing to prevent mold growth. If not prevented, mold can grow in as little as 24 hours, usually coming with hefty mold remediation costs.
Before the cleanup is done, specialists often wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These include gloves, rubber boots, protective coveralls, and N-95 masks. This prevents exposure to mold and mildew spores, which are associated with a myriad of health risks.
Again, there is specialized equipment used in the cleaning and sanitization processes. These include air scrubbers, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums, and other negative air machines.
If you have category three water damage, which means hazardous waste (sewage and flash flooding), all surfaces must be cleaned with an antimicrobial solution.
7. Repairs and Restoration
Once you have gone through all the above processes, you will have a much clearer view of the state of your home and property.
At this stage, everything is clean, sanitized, and dry, so you can take note of any damage that requires repairs, replacements, or restoration. Some of these will be to the structures of your home, and some will be to your belongings.
The repairs required will depend on the extent of the water damage, so this can be anything from minor fixes to repainting or replacing drywall or hardwood floors.
Don’t Take Any Chances - Call a Water Damage Specialist!
DIY water damage is often tempting because it helps you save some cash. However, without the correct equipment, it’s impossible to know the extent of the damage. Additionally, you can’t be absolutely sure that you have adequately managed the damage and won’t have moisture issues in the future.
Don’t take your chances with water damage: Call us at Vetted Los Angeles Restorations and take the guesswork out of it.
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Top 10 Common Causes of Water Damage in Homes
Mention ‘water damage’ in a room with homeowners, and you can almost feel the dread that follows. Understandably so. The thought of a flooded home or your precious items drenched in water, and the expensive repairs and replacements that follow, is what nightmares are made of.
As scary as the thought is, don’t bury your head in the sand. Instead, learn about the top 10 causes of water damage in homes.
With these in mind, you will know what to look out for and what to do to safeguard your home.
1. Washing Machines
Numerous residential water damage incidents stem from burst water supply lines in washing machines. Normal wear and tear can cause kinks and cuts in your hoses. If your machine has PVC or rubber supply lines, these can also wear or rupture and flood your entire laundry room.
Washing machines can also leak from using the wrong detergents, those not prescribed by the manufacturer, or from being placed on an uneven surface.
You will likely see pools of water in your laundry area, or if you have a significant washing machine leak, flooding in the entire laundry room.
Inspect your washing machine parts, especially the hoses, and always ascertain that the appliance is on a level surface.
It’s never a good idea to ignore a problematic toilet, even when it doesn’t seem to hurt anything. From overflows to running toilets, toilet leaks can get costly if allowed to fester.
A running toilet keeps dispensing water even when not in use. A more severe problem is a blocked drain that prevents water from flowing through. Instead, water comes back up the toilet bowl, and it can overflow and begin to flood the floor. Aside from the mess from the water damage, this water carries harmful bacteria and is a health hazard.
3. Water Heaters
Water heaters are the hard workers relegated to out-of-the-way areas of our homes. Unfortunately, they can leak for a long time before you know something is wrong. This makes it all the more important to inspect your water heater units occasionally. Also, flash water heater tanks every six months to remove sediment from hard water.
The most obvious sign of a water heater leak is flooding in its cabinet and around where it’s installed. Other signs are rust, mold, and malfunctioning controls.
4. Faulty Plumbing
Thanks to the system’s aging, older homes are more susceptible to plumbing system issues than newer ones. However, newer homes can also have faulty plumbing due to damage and poor installation. The first sign of a faulty plumbing system is a sudden surge in your water bills with no changes in usage. If this happens, you might have a plumbing issue you need to find quickly!
Because of the intricacies of plumbing systems, you should get a professional plumber to come and find the source of the leak. They are equipped with specialist equipment, including snake cameras, to go down your pipes and highlight the source of the problem.
5. Malfunctioning Sprinkler Systems
Sprinkler systems ensure you don’t have to worry about fires in your home. However, older models can sometimes set themselves off without a fire. This can result in considerable damage, considering sprinklers send gusts of water onto your property and floors.
Consider changing the sprinkler systems if you move into an old house, or at least have them inspected. Similarly, ensure proper service and maintenance and replace parts per manufacturer instructions.
6. HVAC System
Air conditioning units produce condensation as they run. This condensate drips from the unit into a drain pan before being directed to the outside of your home through a drain pipe.
If the condensation line is clogged or the drain pipe is damaged, water leaks into your home, damaging your insulation, floors, and walls. Some tell-tale signs of a leaking HVAC system are water on the floor and ice on the evaporator coils.
7. Roof Leaks
A leaking roof can be caused by normal wear and tear over time, poor installation, or improper installation of roof features like skylights and clogged gutters.
Whatever the cause, a damaged roof is disastrous because it can no longer perform the expected functions, one of which is keeping the elements, including water, out.
You can detect a leak from a stained ceiling, a damp smell in your attic, mold and mildew, and even pools of water.
Pay special attention to sagging or drooping ceilings, because those might collapse if enough water builds up above them.
8. Natural Disasters
Snowstorms, hurricanes, and breaking dams can all send excessive amounts of water into your home, causing water damage.
If you live in an area with a high risk of these calamities, a flood alarm and warning system can help you better protect your home. Another thing you can do for prevention is to have your home on stilts if you live in flood-prone areas. Some homeowners also install foundation vents or sump pumps.
Additional flood insurance also comes in handy for residents of flood-prone areas. This doesn’t prevent water damage, which would be the best outcome, but it will help cover some of the restoration costs so you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Recent storms and flooding events throughout the state of California, including Los Angeles, have shown us that even though we live in a place with the best weather in the country, there’s still a flooding risk.
9. Crawl Space Leaks
A crawl space is the narrow space you see between the ground and the first floor of your home. It’s usually unfinished, dark, and narrow. Needless to say, this is the most unused space in your home.
Unfortunately, when a crawl space leak happens, it can take a while before you become aware.
Water damage in the crawl space can be from damaged gutters, poor grading, overflow from watering lawns, and leaks from damaged pipes and plumbing fixtures.
Flooded crawl space can damage the foundation and encourage mold and mildew growth. Because of its location, the best way to stay on top of things is by regularly inspecting your crawl space, at least twice a year.
10. Burst Pipes
Temperature changes cause pipes to expand and contract. These changes, along with aging and clogs, make pipes more susceptible to cracks and, even worse, bursts.
Reduced water pressure and flow can be good indicators of a cracked pipe. A serious leak will also have pools of water if it’s in an open, visible spot.
So what happens if your best efforts to keep water out of your house fail? Well, that’s where we come in.
Vetted Los Angeles Restorations comprises a team of water damage response teams that will arrive at your doorstep within an hour of contacting us. That’s what you need when faced with water damage: timely, certified professionals with years of experience in taming water damage.
Anytime you find yourself with water damage, call us first!
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Navigating Water Damage Insurance Claims: A Complete Guide
Water damage is so common that most standard home insurance policies cover it. The rider is that the water damage must be internal, sudden, and accidental.
Water damage from flooding and natural disasters is typically not covered, so you will need to take out flood insurance.
Anyway, when water damage happens, filing a water damage claim with your insurer is imperative. And when you do, you want your claim to be honored and get the highest payout to ensure all the damage is adequately covered.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to file a successful claim.
1. Minimize Damage
The first thing your insurer expects you to do is prevent further damage. Some of the things you can do include the following:
2. Determine If Your Water Damage Is Covered By Insurance
Not all water damage is covered by your insurance policy. Generally, water damage is only covered by your home insurance policy if it’s sudden or accidental.
Any water damage you get due to neglect or poor maintenance is not covered. For example, water damage from a roof you haven’t repaired in 30 years or an improperly installed skylight will not be compensated.
Also, note that most companies will cover the damage but not the appliance that caused it.
For example, if your HVAC system causes a leak that damages your walls and seats, the insurer will cover the walls and your couches. However, it will not cover a new HVAC system.
3. Record Evidence
Gathering evidence is a crucial component of making a claim, and the more evidence you have, the better your chances of success.
So take as many photos and videos of the damage in your home as possible, including individual damaged items. Take photos that show the extent of the damage.
If some of the damage is worsening gradually, be sure to take several photos and videos of different levels of damage.
Also, make an inventory of all the damage and, if possible, include cash values. If you use a professional water damage restoration company, include their fees in your losses. If your claim is successful, the insurer will pay these fees to you or directly to the company.
4. Contact Your Insurer
As with motor insurance, you must notify your insurer of the incident as soon as possible. Many providers will have a 24/7 hotline you can reach them on during emergencies.
When you call them, have your insurance policy number and inventory list on hand, just in case. Your adjustor will likely send you a link or an email where you can forward all the documented evidence. Some insurers will immediately dispatch an adjustor to your house.
Similarly, ask your insurance agent about their restoration process – for example, if you can hire a water restoration company of your choice, or if they have providers on their panel. If they suggest the latter, the company will directly bill your insurer for all water damage restoration costs.
5. Meet with the Adjustor
If an adjustor is sent, they will come to your property to assess the damage. They can look at it through the photos and videos you have taken.
Their job is to determine the cause of the water damage, if your policy covers it, and calculate the restoration cost, including repairs and replacements. The adjurer will then write a report of their findings, which will be used in making decisions regarding your claim.
Suffered Water Damage? Call Us!
Water damage to your home can be stressful, so you need a knowledgeable ally to help with the recovery.
At Vetted Los Angeles Restorations, we provide expert water damage technicians within an hour of your call. This ensures that work on your home begins immediately and that you get some guidance with your insurance claim. If you have water damage, call us immediately and let us work our magic for you.
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Health Risks Associated with Water Damage: What to Know
Water damage needs to be taken care of immediately after it happens, whether you have a pipe leak or a flooded basement.
If left untreated, you will have aesthetic and structural damage, a lower property value, and expensive restoration to take care of.
But something else that’s less thought about are the health risks linked to water damage.
Not today! Let us walk you through just how bad of an environment can water damage form. You don’t want to miss this.
1. Mold and Mildew
You will inevitably have mold and mildew after untreated or inadequately treated water damage. Mold can start growing in as little as 1-2 days following water damage, and it’s something you should worry about.
Mold spores can attack any surface in your home, regardless of what it’s made of.
Unfortunately, some mold spores contain neurotoxins. Neurotoxins are linked to severe respiratory health problems. Short-term exposure can cause allergies, headaches, migraines, and congestion.
This makes it imperative not only to clear up the water damage but also to ensure that there is no trapped moisture on your belongings, behind walls, carpeting, and so on.
Calling the Vetted Los Angeles Restorations professionals ensures your house is thoroughly inspected and treated to remove mold and mildew development risks following water damage.
2. Vermin and Pest Infestation
Water damage can create a moist environment that makes your home attractive to vermin and pests such as silverfish, roaches, beetles, drain flies, and caterpillar ants.
Rodents can also invade your home looking for water. It’s also common to see moths and earwigs after water damage.
One of the warning signs of an infestation is a strange, unpleasant smell, droppings, or scratching from the inside of your walls.
All these vermin and pests carry disease-causing pathogens. Their droppings can also cause various ailments when they come into contact with food and drink. Most of these pests also negatively impact your home’s air quality.
3. Health Risks from Dirty Water
Leaking pipes can allow contaminants into your drinking water.
Dirty drinking water leaves you vulnerable to multiple health risks. These include typhoid, dysentery, and even diseases of the brain, kidneys, and lungs.
Contaminated water also hurts your immune system, opening you up to a myriad of health conditions and ailments. You can also suffer from cholera, vomiting, diarrhea, and scarlet fever if your drinking water gets contaminated. The latter leaves you with mouth sores and a body rash.
Lastly, contaminated water can cause leptospirosis. This nasty bacteria causes severe inflammation, fever, and jaundice.
4. Electrical Shock
Water and electricity don’t mix well. This makes electrical shock a common danger of water damage.
When water comes into contact with electrical wiring, it can create a dangerous current. Water damage can also create fires by causing electrical appliances to short out.
Small leaks aren’t safe, either. A small leak that goes undetected can corrode exposed wires. This can cause loose or faulty connections, which are also hazardous.
The risk of water damage reaching your electrical system is an electric shock. Electrocution can leave you severely injured or, worse, dead.
5. Waterborne Bacterial Pathogens
Once you flush your toilet, the hope is that whatever you flush down goes away for good. Often, this is precisely what happens until there is a mishap.
A problem with your plumbing can cause your toilet to overflow, causing whatever you have flushed down to come back up the toilet bowl and onto your toilet floor. As you can imagine, this sludge carries dangerous waterborne pathogens.
These pathogens include strains of Salmonella, E. coli, Vibrio, Shigella, and Campylobacter.
All of these scientific terms tell us one thing: to call water damage experts who are trained to handle situations like this.
Water Damage Expert Is Just a Phone call Away!
Water damage doesn’t just cause property damage; it can rob you and your loved ones of your health as you know it. This emphasizes the need to have any water damage taken care of professionally immediately after it happens.
We have highly skilled, motivated, quick response teams to ensure water damage is contained in the proper manner and in the shortest timelines possible. Call us immediately if you have water damage, and let us do what we do best.
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If you’ve experienced fire and/or water damage, chances are that our team has already dealt with the exact same situation and restored the property for a client in the past. We can tackle all damages, whether minor or major.