Water damage is one of the leading causes of loss of property in the United States. It is vital that homeowners be able to identify possible water damage and more importantly find experienced and certified professionals to assess the damage and restore their home. There are several causes of water damage, each of which carry a different severity and set of risks. Malfunctioning appliances have been known to cause damage and range in severity based on the particulars such as the nature of the appliance and its location. Dishwashers and washing machines can leak or overflow leading to damages. Broken pipes or cracks in the foundation of a home can cause water to accumulate in unseen locations and often go unnoticed until water spots appear on walls or on the ceiling. Broken sump pumps and overflowing toilets are a common cause of water damage and can be among the most hazardous. Natural disasters and bad weather are some of the most destructive causes of water damage and are largely not preventably routine maintenance.
No matter what the cause is, untreated water damage can result in massive expenses and headaches for homeowners and that is why it is important to understand the risks of damage associated with these occurrences. Many homeowners are not aware just how damaging household disasters involving water can be. Often times simply fixing a leak or the source of the water is not enough to resolve many unforeseen issues. When wood is exposed to water for significant amounts of time it can begin to rot, damaging the structural integrity of a home. Many times large sections of affected wood must actually be replaced to prevent future collapses which can occur months or even years after the initial contact. Water can also cause delamination of household building materials which can also compromise structural integrity which often results in a higher price tag down the road
The severity of water damage is often underestimated simply because water can seep down in to unseen locations and cause damage in areas that only an expert would know to check. Many home owners will not call in the experts soon enough because they don;t want to pay for restoration which ends up costing much more than the initial repairs.
There are numerous health risks associated with water damage that many people may not be aware of. One common risk associated with water damage, especially in unseen locations is the growth of toxic mold. There are countless strains of mold which can grow in affected areas which pose serious health risks to humans. Many short term effects are quite unpleasant such as fatigue,coughing and rashes. The long term effects of mold can be far more frightening than in the short term as long term mold exposure has been linked to several different cancers and severe, possibly life threatening infections. Aside from mold, water damage can bring humans into contact with a variety of extremely harmful micro organisms that can cause severe illness and even death. Water leaks within a home are rated in three categories.
Consists of water from water supply lines. This can be either a broken or leaking supply line or the malfunction of an appliance which is fed from one of these lines. Category 1 water is considered relatively clean and posses little health risk.
This water is often termed "grey water." It backs up due to a sump pump failure or compromised appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines. Grey water can carry micro organisms.
Presents a serious health risks to humans and carries a range of life threatening fungi, bacteria, viruses and other microbes. This water contains sewage backed up from septic tanks or toilets or could originate from groundwater, nearby bodies of running water or stagnant surface water.
Due to the possible health risks associated with the latter categories it is important that a professional is brought in to assess the severity of the situation.
For many people a home is the largest investment they will make. It is important that home owners protect their investment and call in an expert at the first sign of water damage. Homes can often be replaced but families cannot. It is also vital that homeowners not put the health of their families at risk by trying to categorize and assess the dangers of household disasters themselves. Calling a certified water damage restoration expert is the safest way to go about restoring ones home after a disaster has occurred. Don't take chances with your home or your health, call in an expert,it might just be the most important call you ever make.