Water Damage Michigan – Here are 6 Pro Tips You Absolutely MUST Know About Water Damage
Your home is your castle.
But what do you do when your castle is under siege?
Ancient fortifications may have had moats, but these days, we want water safely inside the pipes in our walls, not rushing all around the house. Nevertheless, around here, and in many other parts of the country, water damage is a very real possibility.
If you’re in the unfortunate position of needing water restoration Michigan, look no further than Doan Restoration. We’re here to advise, help, and safely see you through the entire process.
Water damage can happen any number of ways:
Your roof develops a bad leak. Your clogged gutters sent a rainstorm where you don’t want it. Your toilet overflows. Your water heater bursts. Pipes in your wall burst. The river near your home breaks its banks and you’re flooded.
However it happens, it can really scare you. You’re going to have a lot of questions.
- How do I handle this?
- How much will this cost me?
- Can my home be saved?
- Will my insurance cover the damage?
Water damage restoration experts exist to take the edge off of those stressful questions. As in every other situation, your best ally is knowledge. So here are 6 pro tips that we in the business of water damage Michigan think are absolutely essential.
Read on, and know that no matter what kind of storms and floods life might throw your way, you don’t have to feel like you’re lost at sea.]
1.You must learn to recognize the signs and risk factors associated with water damage.
Water damage isn’t always as obvious as a flood, burst water main, or overflowing toilet tank. There are many other signs that homeowners should learn to recognize:
- Standing water – an obvious one, perhaps, but it often goes ignored. If you see a puddle, even a shallow one, under an appliance, in a basement, or pooled in a corner, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong.
- Leaking faucets are often evidence that your plumbing needs attention. If you see a leaky tap, check other pipes in your home to ensure the leak isn’t more widespread – and have that tap fixed, while you’re at it.
- Soft walls occur when water is gathering behind them. This is a great example of “out of sight, out of mind,” but vigilance is your friend, homeowners. Pay attention!
- Discoloration on walls, ceilings, or floors is a bright red flag, as well.
- Peeling tile means something is too wet behind them.
- Mold is the brightest red flag of all. Mold means call the professionals.
All of these subtle signs might mean that the water damage – which is less acute than in a flooding situation – can go untended for a short time, but we don’t advise that. Small problems can quickly become big problems, after all.
2. Check your insurance policies very carefully – the specific wording is important.
Most homeowners don’t know this, but your insurance policy may not cover all the water damage your home is at risk of sustaining. Flood insurance and water damage insurance is not necessarily the same thing; having one may not cover damages that fall under the other.
If you, like many of us in Michigan, live in an area that is at risk for flooding, you probably have a policy through NFIP (National Flood Insurance Policy), but that won’t protect you in case your plumbing goes haywire.
What does this mean for you?
For one thing, call us BEFORE you call your insurance company. We work for you NOT the insurance company and their goal is to minimize the claim. Our goal, on the other hand, is to make sure your home is safely and thoroughly restored, even better than before the damage occurred.
Plus, we’ve worked with hundreds of insurance carriers and we can guide you through the claims process to ensure all goes as smoothly as possible for you and your family.
When you do sustain Michigan water damage, the type of damage is important. You have to file your claim carefully, under the right category, to ensure that your paperwork is processed quickly and work on water damage restoration can get underway. If it’s flooding damage, it must be filed as flood damage, and if it’s from another source, it must be filed as water damage.
Any mistake in filing your claim can slow the process down, and, as we’ll discuss shortly, that comes with its own very real set of problems.
Also regarding your insurance, it’s important to speak to your agent to ensure that you know the specifics of what will or will not be covered. For example, sudden damage – a burst water heater, a torrential thunderstorm, frozen pipes that burst and flood your home – is typically covered, but things that could be chalked up to poor maintenance are not. This is also true of slow leaks that cause damage over time, such as structural damage sustained due to poorly maintained gutters.
Insurance is there to protect you – but you have to protect yourself as well.
3. Water damage is a time-sensitive issue – don’t waste a moment!
Once your home has sustained some kind of water damage, the clock is ticking. You don’t have time to wait. Inconvenient as it may be, you have to get the Michigan water restoration crew onsite as quickly as possible before things get really bad.
The actions you take in the first few hours after the water damage has been sustained are crucial. For instance:
If your problem is plumbing, it’s important to shut off the main water supply to the home so that whichever burst pipe, overflowing tank, or damaged appliance is responsible stops pouring water into your home immediately.
It’s also important to immediately call us before you call the insurance company. In fact, we should be your first call if your situation allows. This way, we can assist with getting the claim processed immediately before the damage has time to (pardon the pun) soak in and worsen.
Want another reason that you can’t wait? Here’s a doozy:
Mold starts to grow in about 24 hours.
Secondary damage from the mold is serious business. We’re talking about a major health risk for you and your family. Those spores need moisture to grow, and drywall, carpet, and many types of subfloor are just perfect for this purpose.
Once mold growth has started, it moves quickly, and then in addition to water removal, you have to deal with mold remediation. That will add time and expense that you don’t need, and make your home temporarily unlivable.
That means that in 24-48 hours, you absolutely need to have your property dried out. Emergency water removal and the services of expert water mitigation teams will drastically reduce the amount of time needed to restore your home to its pre-flood glory.
4. Water restoration is not a DIY undertaking.
Water damage is classed and categorized. The IICRC (The Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) is the recognized authority on water cleanup. Their standards separate water damage into three categories (based on the type of water) and three classes (based on the degree of destruction) that it’s important you know.
First, the categories of liquid:
- Category 1 involves clean drinking water. This type of water damage is caused by faucets, toilet tanks, drinking fountains, and other sanitary sources. However, it is important to note that Category 1 can quickly devolve into Category 2.
- Category 2 is damage caused by what some call “gray water,” which has contaminants that may be dangerous to ingest. This happens when an appliance like a dishwasher or washing machine is at fault; or when sink drains flush; or from toilet bowls that contain urine but not fecal matter.
- Category 3 is the worst classification. Accidentally ingesting Category 3 liquids can cause serious illness or death. This Category includes sewage backup, river or stream or lake flooding, toilet overflow that includes excrement, and standing water left long enough to stagnate.
Secondly, the classes of destruction:
- Class 1 is the lowest level of water damage. It has a slow evaporation rate, has only affected part of a room, involves little or no wet carpeting, and has largely affected materials that aren’t endangered, such as concrete. Class 1 still calls for professional intervention, but it isn’t a danger so much as a nuisance, assuming it’s properly handled.
- Class 2 involves entire rooms, carpeting, subfloor, and cushioning. Moisture has penetrated or wicked up at least a foot of the walls, and structural materials may have been compromised. Class 2 represents tangible danger and absolutely must be handled quickly, before mold growth or further damage is incurred.
- Class 3 is the worst classification of all, generally speaking. It has the fastest evaporation rate, but ceilings, insulation, drywall, and all flooring has been thoroughly saturated. This kind of water damage, if left untended, quite regularly leads to the building being declared uninhabitable and condemned. When the liquid comes from overhead – or during the rare 100-year storms that can cause high flooding – Class 3 damage is more probable.
- Class 4 destruction is reserved for special situations that call for drying techniques not necessary in Classes 1-3. Typically, water has had enough time to penetrate and saturate materials that are normally not permeable, such as brick or hardwoods. Structural integrity can be quickly compromised in this case.
All categories and classes can lead to mold growth, or encourage the proliferation of bacteria and viruses.
It’s not our intent to frighten you with all of that, but it is our intent to make sure that you understand that our water damage restoration technicians and contractors are highly trained. That training allows us to recognize what class and category of damage we are dealing with. Then, we can come up with a suitable plan to remediate and restore your home. Whether you’re dealing with narrow-focus specialists or general water damage restoration experts, we have the tools required to do what is needed.
It is highly unlikely that the average homeowner has industrial dehumidifiers, infrared probes, air movers, scrubbers, hardwood dryers, and all the other tools of the trade lying around.
And without those tools, there’s just no way to do the job correctly.
5. Water damage may make a home harder to sell.
Particularly when you’re dealing with an area where flooding is a potential issue, homebuyers are going to ask questions. If a home has any evidence of water damage, it’s going to be much harder to sell. If your home has been damaged by water in any way, having a professional properly attend to it is the surest and swiftest way to ensure it maintains its value.
Buyers don’t want to deal with structural issues or health issues, and unfortunately, water damage will cause both of those unless handled by experts on water restoration Michigan.
Destruction can happen all at once or slowly over time. Either way, it can devastate the value of your home.
6. Document everything
I think most of us as teenagers had an adult in our lives sit us down and go over what happens if we’re ever in a car accident. Even if we weren’t told, we all somehow absorbed the basics:
- Don’t panic
- Call us right away
- Call your insurance company
- Take lots of pictures
That list works pretty well for water damage Michigan – especially that last one. Document everything. Take pictures of everything that you safely can. Take notes on everything damaged – clothes, furnishings, anything that needs to be washed, replaced, or discarded. As your claim is being processed, all the evidence you gather will prove to be immensely valuable.
Your home is intended to be a safe place. As we said at the start, it’s your castle. You shouldn’t have to deal with the fear – or the fallout – of your moat causing problems. So before you give in to despair, remember that water damage is bad, but it’s not the end of the world.
Also, remember that you’re not in it alone. We’ve given you knowledge, but it doesn’t stop there. Doan Restoration is here for you from the beginning to the end of your water damage restoration journey. From the first drop to the moment everything is restored to perfection, you can count on us.
Give us a call anytime at 586-842-8142 weekends, evenings, and holidays; our phones are staffed 24/7!