Flooded House

The views in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the opinions of Quicken Loans and its team members.

Once your home floods, your headaches are just beginning. Promptly assessing the flood damage and rapidly enacting a cleanup plan require immediate attention.

Moisture can seep into areas some homeowners might otherwise overlook, such as inside of the walls, under baseboards, windowsill plates or subfloors. To avoid extensive damage, it is highly recommended that certified restoration experts inspect and begin water mitigation.

This process can reduce post-flood water damage swiftly – ideally within 48 hours of the incident. Water mitigation can reduce the severity of damage that often follows a flood.

Preventing a Flood

The best way to avoid water damage is to plan ahead and be prepared.

While as much as 90 percent of damage related to all natural disasters is caused by water damage due to flooding, plumbing fixtures and certain appliances or systems within a home can also increase the risk of flooding. Top non-weather-related sources of flooding and water damage to a home include indoor plumbing, air conditioning units and washing machines. Homeowners can significantly reduce the risk of a preventable home flood by following the advice from professional technicians.

Indoor Plumbing

A running toilet, dripping sink or a malfunctioning dishwasher hose can cost you more money annually than you might think.

“Homeowners should also be aware of dripping taps, leaking pipes under sinks and other possible equipment failure,” says Jeff Bell of Mr. Rooter Plumbing in southern Massachussetts. “If you put off repairing them or use a ‘temporary fix,’ you run the risk of unexpected flooding.”

Air Conditioning

Depending on the time of year, mold, mildew and even ice, in extreme temperatures, can build up inside of your condensation drain line ­– a major concern – according to Tina Bramble, franchise owner of Aire Serv, a Virginia-based heating/air conditioning company. Clogs can form, causing water to back up into lines, your air conditioning unit and eventually your home. Installing a drain line will remove the overflowing water and direct it outside or to a household sewer. Drain lines should be properly angled downward and kept clear of mud, grass and debris for water to flow properly.

Washing Machine

According to Dylan Conner, a Central Valley (CA) franchise owner of Mr. Appliance, an appliance repair and service company, leaks around the water hose are warning signs. Sometimes, when it comes home water damage, inoperative washing machine pipes can be the most common complaints insurance companies receive when dealing with flood claims. Frequent hose inspections, relative to cracking, dryness or rust is recommended. Leave space – 1 or 2 feet – between the machine and the wall for movement as the wash cycle is running.

After the Flood

Before any cleanup can begin, contact an insurance agency. Flood insurance is not often covered by general homeowners insurance, so it’s important to make sure flood protection is added to any existing plans now before a disaster strikes.

In the event of flood damage, if items within the home need to be removed right away, photograph their condition. The insurance company will contact and coordinate an on-site visit with a water remediation/restoration company.

“It is imperative that you call a professional restoration company immediately. It could mean the difference between restoring your home quickly to pre-loss condition or needing extensive and expensive reconstruction,” says Reed Mattingly of restoration and cleaning company Rainbow International Restoration in South Carolina. “Box fans and shop vacuums only remove so much water. If moisture wicks up the walls and penetrates the subfloor, you could be left with hidden mold growth and permanent structural damage to your home.”

Water Damage Restoration 101

Specific steps can be taken to reduce property destruction, prevent additional water damage and restore your property.

Your selection of water restoration technicians should be certified and trained in current procedures in order to dry the entire structure as quickly as possible by utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and technology. In addition, moisture meters are needed to locate moisture invisible to the eyes, such as behind walls or cabinets, where dangerous mold can grow.

When water damage of any kind strikes, time is of the essence. By acting within the first 24 – 48 hours of the damage, homeowners can prevent permanent destruction and reduce repair costs.

And check out this blog post to learn more about flood and other hazard insurance.

Share your flood damage advice or solutions in our comments below.

Mark Welstead is the president of Rainbow International Restoration, a restoration and cleaning company.

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