Water damage can be one of the most devastating problems a homeowner can face. From expensive repairs to dramatically diminished quality of life, water damage can give you headaches that last years. In order to properly deal with water damage, you need to know what kind of water damage your home suffered, how a pro can help treat it, and what you can do to mitigate the damage in the meantime. When it comes to water damage restoration, you don’t want to cut any corners or push forward without the right knowledge. To help you get started, here’s a rundown of water damage, how to deal with it, and how to prevent it.
The Basics of Water Damage
Put simply, water damage can come in a wide variety of forms, but the basic principles remain unchanged. Too much water in your house for too long can cause serious damage to the infrastructure, your belongings, and even foster the growth of mold. Whether it’s a high volume of water for a short period of time or a tiny amount of water over a long period of time, water can do a serious number on your home. Simply drying up the water may seem like a reasonable solution, but the damage is often already done by that point. Getting rid of the water is only the first step in repairing water damage.
How to Deal With Water Damage
If the water damage is serious or if you suspect that there might be mold involved, then you should get in contact with a water damage restoration professional. If the moisture is still there and you’re unable to get close enough to clean it out (such as water damage in a cramped attic or in the walls), then you should get a consultation as soon as possible so you can limit further damage. Standing water can dramatically weaken your home and damage wooden supports, paint, insulation, and endanger both plumbing and wiring. It’s not just a matter of how much repairs will cost, but how much of a threat it will pose to you and your family in the meantime.
What a Concerned Homeowner Can Do About Water Damage
Before you get a chance to call a water damage restoration professional out, you may want to take some quick precautionary measures to limit any further damage and get a better idea of just what kind of water damage you’re dealing with. For example, you may notice a sagging bubble in your ceiling, indicating a buildup of water up there, but that’s not necessarily the whole story. If the water’s been up there a long time and has only just become visible (such as in the case of a slowly leaking pipe), then there may be some serious mold damage to contend with as well. Using a mask to cover your face and prevent any mold from getting in your lungs, take a look and see if you need to call a mold remediation expert as well.
The Danger of Mold Damage
Mold can cause a wide variety of problems and most of them don’t come from touching it at all. In fact, touching mold can lead to health concerns, but as long as you quickly and thoroughly clean your skin, you can avoid most complications. However, if you happen to breathe in mold, then you can be left with serious respiratory issues, ranging from minor nasal stuffiness to throat irritation and even serious infections in your lungs. Whether you are allergic will play a big role in just how severe your reaction is, but few people know that they are allergic to mold before they are actually exposed to it.
The true danger of mold is that you don’t even have to be immediately next to it in order to suffer. Thanks to its airborne danger, mold can spread throughout your house via the ventilation and cause chronic problems for everyone living under your roof. These issues can go undiagnosed for years, too minor to send you straight to the emergency room, but extremely frustrating and detrimental to your health regardless
How to Treat Mold
If you do identify a mold problem in your home, then it might be best to call in a professional as soon as possible. Mold remediation is no easy task and the last thing you want is to approach the problem unprepared and end up overlooking an important step.
When calling in an expert, try to get a good idea of the extent of the mold damage beforehand. Black mold is generally more dangerous than other types of mold, so if you think you see black mold, make sure to make a note of that. However, a lot of mold can look black in poor lighting, so try to use good lighting when you take a look. A simple flashlight might not be enough to give you a clear picture of the mold’s color, so consider using a lantern-style lighting source.
Tips for Treating Mold Damage Yourself
If you do decide to handle the mold remediation yourself, then there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure that you’re properly protecting both your skin and your respiratory system from mold damage. A disposable mask should be enough for your face, but make sure you wear clothes to cover every inch of your skin as well. Once you’re done, make sure you thoroughly clean them to prevent any residual mold from irritating your skin.
As for the mold remediation itself, you can generally handle it with a mixture of bleach and water. One cup of bleach to one gallon of water is strong enough to do the trick. Apply to the affected area and do everything you can to aerate the mold, especially opening a nearby window and using a fan to blow the mold spores outside. Though that may sound counterintuitive and dangerous, the mold will lose the potency of its concentration and become harmless very quickly.
The Risk of Freezing Pipes
One of the most explosive and dangerous ways to get water damage is a frozen pipe. If you live anywhere where it gets reasonably cold, then a frozen pipe is a very real possibility. In short, if water sits in a pipe and freezes, then it will expand. If a pipe full of water expands, then there’s no room for that expansion, leading to the pipe itself breaking under the pressure. At that point, you’re not necessarily in any immediate damage because the water is still frozen and thus solid, but if the temperature rises even a little bit, then the water can turn to liquid and pour out of the burst pipe, ruining everything in the nearby vicinity. Depending on the velocity of the water and the size of the pipe, you could be looking at hundreds of gallons of water pumping out into your home before you even realize what’s happening.
How to Handle Freezing Pipes
If you find freezing pipes in your house before they burst, then there is still an opportunity to stave off disaster. If the pipes are exposed or easily accessible, then the solution is pretty straightforward. If you can heat the freezing pipes and turn the ice back to water, thereby reducing the volume and strain on the pipe, you can avert the entire problem. However, this can pose problems if the pipe isn’t easily accessible or if the affected length of pipe is particularly long. If the freezing pipes are particularly difficult to access and you can’t do so without tearing into your walls, then it’s highly advisable to consult a professional first.
What to Do If a Frozen Pipe Bursts
If you’re too late to heat the problem away, then you will need to take action quickly. Shut off the water and prevent the problem from getting any worse, then immediately get in contact with a plumber. Depending on the size of the break and the volume of water flowing through the pipe, even an hour or two of waiting could result in dozens of gallons of water pouring into your home.
While waiting for the plumber to arrive, try to dry up as much of the water as possible. The shorter the water is there, the less damage it will be able to cause. If you have a wet/dry vacuum, then that can be an excellent tool for getting water out of the wall if the burst pipe is not exposed. Make sure you also get in contact with your insurance company to report the issue as soon as possible. You want to have all your ducks in a row when you file your claim and the first step to doing that is to make sure you document the accident as soon as it happens.
The Threat of Bad Weather
If your home is struck by a particularly bad storm and some water gets inside, then that could cause a serious problem in the future, especially if the water enters in an area that you don’t normally check. A little water penetrating the roof and getting into the attic can stagnate, both providing a fertile base for mold and wearing down the wood of your ceiling. Make sure you check the dark corners of your home, as well as the exterior, whenever there is a particularly serious storm in your area.
Of course, there is also more obvious water damage caused by a storm breaking a window and raining into a room. In those cases, you want to be careful about immediately rushing to barricade the window, both because there will be a lot of broken glass on the ground and because tree branches or other debris could be flung in and hit you.
How to Fix Damage Caused by Storms
In the aftermath of a storm, you want to clean up any damage quickly. Soak up all the water, use fans to maximize circulation, and get all the moisture out as quickly as possible. You’ll also want to take a careful look at exactly what caused the water to get inside. If it was a branch from a tree breaking a window, then it might be time to cut down or prune the trees nearest your home. If it came from a leak somewhere on the roof, then you should take a look yourself if you have the necessary experience in working on roofs. If not, consult a specialist.
What to Do in an Emergency
If you’ve got water damage and need to deal with it right now, then there are two paths available to you.
First, you could deal with it yourself. If you’re familiar with mold remediation, opening up and closing the walls of your home, and working with dangerous airborne substances, then you may be able to handle the matter on yourself. If the problem is coming from a pipe in the walls, then you will also need the additional tools and experience needed for working on pipes.
If you don’t feel confident doing that yourself, then a water damage restoration professional would be your best bet. The faster you reach out, the better, because every minute that you wait to deal with that water damage is another minute that it could be seeping into your floor, damaging your carpet, and spreading to endanger everything nearby. In many cases, you can’t even see the extent of the water damage before you start to tear up the floor. Only by contacting a pro in water damage restoration can you rest assured that your problem will be dealt with quickly, efficiently, and thoroughly.
When the inevitable happens, and your home or building requires water damage restoration, call Reset Restoration immediately. We provide 24/7/365 emergency response. If you have joined our free PREP program, immediate priority response is included, along with many other special no-charge services.
If your friends, family and neighbors have had significant mold damage to homes or businesses you can contact Reset Restoration in Tulsa 24/7 to inquire about Tulsa water damage restoration services. Call Reset Restoration today at (918) 582-7373.
If your Tulsa home or business has suffered significant water damage, please contact Reset Restoration today and request a free quote on mold remediation and restoration services. Follow Reset Restoration on Facebook!