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How to assess the water damage

Tropical storms and hurricanes hit the US hard this year. Preparing for the possibility of water damage is not easy, and there are differences between flooding and long-standing water. Once the storms have stopped, the health dangers increase. Water damage is a major contributor to property loss. Inspecting and clearing gutters before flooding happens is an important first step to take before a heavy rainfall.

Water that’s left behind after heavy rain or flooding may not be obvious at first. For example, stagnant water can be trapped in roofs, basements, and walls. Trapped water can quickly become stagnant and polluted and is the chief contributor to the health of people and pets after a major storm.

Many homeowner insurance policies do not cover the costs associated with water damage from flooding, tsunamis, standing water, or groundwater. Unless a rider is attached to your policy, those events are often excluded from a claim. A policy will usually include coverage against water damage from a sudden mishap inside your home like a pipe that’s burst or a toilet that has overflowed.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks.   An 1/8th crack in a water pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day. In terms of damage and repair costs, broken water pipes are almost comparable to the costs of damage repair from hurricanes.

Water Damage Categories

There are different categories of water damage based on the level of contamination.

  • Category 1 refers to “clean” water supply lines that are broken and don’t pose a substantial threat to humans.
  • Category 2 is “grey” water damage with a significant amount of chemical or biological contamination that can cause sickness whether you are exposed to it, or it’s consumed.
  • Category 3 is “black” water with contaminants that are very unsanitary and will cause severe illness. Water from sewers, seawater, flooding from rivers or streams, storm surge, ground surface water, or standing water.

Immediate water removal is important because water can change categories very quickly. Both category 1 and category 2 can quickly be reclassified as category 3 regardless of color or anything you can see in the water. Since all categories of wastewater can be hazardous and dangerous, it’s important that you address the water damage situation immediately.

It is critical to remove the water as quickly as possible before wastewater becomes contaminated and changes categories. Once a contaminant has been introduced into the environment it takes time and money to make sure everything is safe again.

To avoid further contamination and higher repair costs, it makes good sense to tackle your water damage issue with a proven water removal and restoration company. Be sure to do some research to find the right professional service company that will explain how they can bring your property back to working order or pre-loss condition.

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