3 Things You Should Do After Flood Damage
Some of our team assess the storm and flood damage after Hurricane Florence devastated the coast of North Carolina.
Nobody wants—or even expects—their home to be the victim of flood damage, but disaster often strikes when we least expect it. That’s why many homeowners are often unsure what to do when their home is damaged by flooding. If you or somebody you know is in that situation, here are 3 things you should do after your home suffers from flood damage.
- Call your local disaster cleanup and restoration company. Naturally, your first priority is to get your home back to its original condition. That’s why your local disaster cleanup and restoration company should be your first call—they’re the ones who will make it “Like it never even happened.” The sooner you call them, the faster they can begin working on your home.
- Contact your insurance. Your insurance is the one who will likely cover most of the costs associated with restoring your home. They are also a great resource for finding contractors and other important people to help you get your home back in its preloss condition.
- Begin removing flood waters from your home. Your local disaster cleanup and restoration company is going to take care of cleaning up and preventing further damage to your home, but the faster that process begins, the less damage you’ll likely have later (particularly when it comes to mold). While you are waiting for them to arrive, begin mopping or using buckets to move water from the home.
Because water damage can create further damage, it’s important to respond to disasters quickly. If you need a disaster cleanup and restoration company in the Hickory, NC area, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West at (828) 322-4400!
Why It's Important to Immediately Mitigate Water Damage
No matter the time, our techs at SERVPRO of Catawba County West are always ready to respond to water damage!
This is a revision/update of this 2015 blog post.
Water damage is a profound problem that can negatively impact your home or business. However, many property owners don’t have the experience or knowledge to know how to properly handle it. But a quick response at the onset of any water damage plays an important role in mitigating the impact.
Why Is it Important to Quickly Respond to Water Damage?
Your home’s water damage might seem minor at first, but it can quickly become a progressive problem. After the initial damage has set in, the issue can become worse as water seeps into your home and begins to wick up your walls, floors, and possessions. In addition, water will eventually become contaminated and become more difficult and time-consuming to clean and dry. If that wasn’t enough, your home will then also become highly susceptible to mold growth, which thrives in moist environments. But if an immediate response is issued, the above problems will be milder or nonexistent altogether.
The Importance of Emergency Water Damage Restoration Services
Water damage can result in a plethora of problems. But because disaster has no sense of time, it can—and likely will—strike when it’s least convenient for you. That’s why even when you call at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, our techs at SERVPRO of Catawba County West will answer your call and issue an immediate response. The longer your water damage is left to sit, the more damage your property will likely have. Emergency restoration services are always available with us because they give you a peace of mind and help protect your home or business.
The Water Damage Restoration Process
SERVPRO of Catawba County West follows a specific protocol for water damage restoration. We first extract any standing water still in your property, then we dry out the affected areas to reduce moisture and minimize the threat of mold growth. Throughout this entire process, we will protect your home and belongings from any additional damage. Once it’s all said and done, it will look “Like it never even happened.”
So if you have water damage in the Hickory, NC area—no matter the day or time—call SERVPRO of Catawba County West at (828) 322-4400!
Water Damage Q & A: How Long Does it Take for Water Damage to Dry?
Even with a lot of equipment, the amount of time a water damage incident will take to dry will vary on different factors!
When disaster hits your home, your priority is to get everything back to its original condition. So when you have water damage, you want to know how long it will take until you have your peace of mind.
How Long Does It Take for Water Damage to Dry?
We’re often asked this question, but the answer is tricky. In fact, it really depends on the situation.
For a typical water loss, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to return your home to normal moisture levels. But there are many factors that can extend—or in some cases, shorten—the overall drying process.
For example, if the area isn’t well-enclosed and is exposed to the outside elements, it can be very difficult to maintain humidity levels. Or in some cases, the homeowner will turn the drying equipment off, which can dramatically hinder the process. And of course, it also depends on how wet the area was to begin with.
Because of these potential factors (and more), it can be difficult to give you an exact completion date. Having said that, our technicians are able to give you an estimated timeline based on their scope and understanding of the job.
What to Do During Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Florence is a major event in North Carolina, but there are steps you can take to minimize your risk!
Hurricane Florence is just around the corner, and it’s already dominating headlines. With powerful winds and some waves seen as high as 83 feet, Florence is already being deemed “a storm of a lifetime” for certain parts of North Carolina. While the impact on western North Carolina is still uncertain, it’s important that you prepare for the worst. That’s why in addition to making preparations, it’s important that you know what to do once the storm arrives.
- Stay Inside. Strong winds and heavy rain are ingredients for a deadly combination. It’s important that you remain indoors and keep away from windows, skylights, and other glass structures until officials have announced it is safe to do so otherwise.
- Regularly check for updates. If you still have cell service, you can use your phone to monitor the storm’s progress. If you do not have cell service, use a battery-powered radio or TV. Local and national stations are great sources of information!
- Keep Your Refrigerator Closed. In the event your power goes out, it’s vital that you keep your fridge closed so the cold air does not escape. Depending on how long the power is out, your food may spoil anyways, but if it’s only a short period of time, keeping the door closed could be the thing that saves your food.
- If your home floods, shut off your electricity. Water and electricity are not a great combination. If your home is threatened by flooding, shut your electricity off by the breaker. It’s important you identify where the breaker is long before Hurricane Florence arrives.
- If it floods, get to higher ground. Flood waters are fast and strong, so don’t try to swim in them. If your home or building begins to flood, immediately head to higher ground. However, do not go into a closed attic because you could become trapped!
- Do not enter flooded roads. If you have to go outside for any reason, do not enter flooded areas. If you’re driving and encounter flooded sections, turn around and find an alternate route. Also, do not attempt to swim or wade through waters; the waters are fast-moving and will likely pull you away.
Hurricane Florence is one of the biggest storms to hit North Carolina in decades, and will likely cause tremendous damage. If you are in an affected area, follow the advice above and adhere to official instructions as they are provided. After the storm subsides, if you’re in Hickory or the Catawba County area, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West if you need assistance recovering from storm damage!
Fire Damage Q & A: Is It Safe to Go in My Own Home
Fires can cause structural damage, even when it isn't as apparent as the photo above. Always get permission to enter from your local fire department!
When your home has a fire, your only goal is to get everything back to normal. There are a lot of questions that the typical homeowner has after a fire, but some of them are more pressing than others.
Is it Safe to Go Back in My Own Home?
While we understand that you want to get back and assess the damage, safety comes first. That’s why it’s imperative that you do not re-enter your home until you’ve been given explicit permission by the local fire department.
In addition to possible structural damage, will examine other possible dangers that need to be addressed before the home is habitable again. Even after having permission to enter, follow any instructions they may have given you.
Once the all-clear is given, our team will also go in to assess the damage and begin any necessary work to make it “Like it never even happened!”
Mold Q & A: Is Black Mold Toxic?
Black mold may seem scary, but that's because of false information and scare tactics! Black mold is not toxic or dangerous!
We’ve all heard it before: black mold is dangerous, black mold will make you sick, etc. But is there any truth to these statements? The problem is that in recent years, black mold has been the target of false information and conspiracies both in the news and in online circles. In fact, even some professional companies seem to be missing the facts when it comes to black mold.
Is Black Mold Toxic and/or Dangerous?
The truth is that black mold is no more dangerous than any other species of mold.
First, according to the CDC and other reputable organizations, no known species of mold is toxic, black or otherwise. That’s why we can confidently tell you that black mold is not toxic (or mold in general).
Second, there are many species of mold, and many of them happen to be black. In fact, some species can be different colors (including black) depending on certain factors at play. So simply saying “black mold” does not indicate a particular species. The species most commonly associated with black mold—stachybotrys chartarum—does create byproducts known as “mycotoxins,” but there are many other such species. Even so, these species are no more dangerous than any other species.
Third, reactions to mold are generally akin to the way people have reactions to pollen and other allergens, particularly in the way that two people can have very different reactions (or none at all) to the same species of mold. So while a person may have an allergic reaction to a species of mold that happens to be black, it is not a reflection of the mold’s actual color.
The point is that there’s a lot about mold that gets left out or is misconstrued. Regardless, mold growth can be a nuisance that is generally best taken care of—black, green, white, or any color.
Water Damage Q&A: Can I Turn Off the Air Movers?
Air movers are an essential part of any water damage mitigation process. Turning one off prematurely can lead to additional and unnecessary damage!
When you have water damage on your property, you’re likely in unchartered territory. Your local restoration and cleanup company will help you recover from the incident, but there are sometimes questions that haven’t been answered. One of the most common questions we’re asked by our customers regards our air movers, which are high-powered fans that speed up the drying process.
Can I shut the air movers off for the night? They are very noisy.
While we acknowledge that air movers can be kind of loud, they play a crucial role in the drying process and should be constantly running until the process is complete. It’s for this reason that we strongly recommend that you allow the air movers to run undisturbed. Should you decide to turn them off anyways, you run the risk of facing a couple of different problems.
First, the longer moisture is present, the more likely you are to have mold growth on your property. Because moisture is an essential part of mold growth, it’s best to address water damage as soon as possible. When you turn off the air movers, you slow the process and allow more time for potential growth to occur.
Second, this disrupts your insurance company’s proposed coverage. Your insurance expects the drying process to be completed within a certain amount of days based on the type and severity of the damage. When you turn off the air movers, you’re extending the total drying process, which equates to more money from your insurance. You may end up on the hook for the costs, plus any mold growth that occurs as a result.
Air movers are an essential part of the water damage mitigation process, so it’s important they are allowed to function the entire time as intended. If you decide to turn them off anyways, please let your water restoration and cleanup company know so they can act accordingly.
Water Damage Q&A: Who Pays for the Electricity?
We had to plug in a lot of equipment for this job! They don't use much power, but you may be able to talk to your insurance for reimbursement!
When you’re in the middle of a water damage, your only real goal is to get everything back to its preloss condition. But we also know that these kinds of incidents can be costly, so when your local cleanup and restoration company plugs in a bunch of equipment for multiple days of use, you’re probably wondering about your electricity bill.
During the water mitigation process, who pays for the electricity used by the drying equipment?
In general, the customer is on the hook for all electricity used for the duration of the water mitigation process. While this may seem unfair, the overall usage is generally minimal, similar to if you had left all your ceiling fans on for the same duration.
Having said that, it’s very possible that your insurance adjuster will cover the cost of the added electricity costs since the equipment is necessary for the drying process. It’s recommended that you speak to them regarding this or any other costs that you think should be covered. After all, water damages and other disasters can be stressful, but you shouldn’t have to worry about hidden costs!
If you have a water damage, contact SERVPRO of Catawba County West and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened!”
3 Online Resources for Storm Events
Storms can happen at any time and can be of any category of strength. This building was heavily flooded by an abrupt storm!
Storms of different types occur throughout the entire year, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant. Fortunately, we’re in the age of information, which means most of the legwork regarding preparation is already taken care of. Whether you’re curious or are trying to prepare for an upcoming storm, below are some great online resources for storm events.
- Ray’s Weather. If you live anywhere near the Unifour area, you probably already know about Ray’s Weather. But in case you don’t, it’s a local weather website that offers current weather-related information. Many locals swear it’s the most accurate source for weather in the area. Use this resource for tracking storm patterns and forecasts!
- Ready.gov. While Ray’s Weather is great for weather updates, Ready.gov is a great tool for planning and preparing for storm events and other potential disasters. This government website details important safety steps for all phases of a storm (before, during, and after).
- FEMA. If your area gets hit particularly hard by a storm, you’ll find important information regarding safety and formal announcements. In the event that you need assistance following a storm event, you can find the appropriate avenue on their website. In addition to a website, FEMA also has a mobile app where you can get real-time updates.
With the amount of information and tools available online, it’s much easier to plan and prepare for a storm than it ever was before. Check out the above websites periodically so you’re ready for potential disaster. If you end up needing our help, know that we’re here to make it “Like it never even happened.”
4 Ways to Protect Your Home from Storm Damage
Most storms that pass through Catawba County are mild, but it only takes one to cause massive damage!
Since storms have started to become a regular occurrence in the Hickory area, it’s a good time to take some preventative steps to mitigate potential disaster. In case you’re not sure where to start, below you’ll find 4 ways you can protect your home from storm damage!
- Remove dead or sick trees and branches from close proximity to your home. Storms can bring heavy winds, some of which can topple trees and branches. In some cases, this debris can knock holes into your roof or walls and expose your home to further damage.
- Clean out your gutters. Water damage can be a sudden and expensive problem, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make sure your gutters are clean and properly working so water can be directed away from your home. Gutters are your first line of defense!
- Address any drainage issues in your yard. Heavy rains can quickly become a problem for homeowners when the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. This water can flood homes or cause other problems, so it’s best to address these issues as soon as possible.
- Make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed. Winds can be very destructive to a home, but properly sealed doors and windows can help prevent winds from damaging your structure. This also helps prevent water from seeping in and creating a suitable environment for mold.
We endure storms without incident every year, but without routine maintenance and inspections, your home is at a greater risk of suffering from disaster. If you follow the above tips (you can find more tips here), you’re less likely to have storm damage to your home. But if you do have damage and you need help with cleanup and restoration, call SERVPRO of Catawba County West today!