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6 Ways To Prevent Water Damage In Your Home

Ninety percent of household damage is caused due to water leaks and flooding. One of the most common customer questions we receive at Flood Masters is, “How do I prevent water damage on my property?” Water leaks can do serious damage to a home and the items inside. Luckily, taking a few specific precautions can easily prevent these problems. Follow these tips regularly, and especially before going on vacation. Be aware of what is happening in your home before it’s too late. Water damage restoration is not an easy task.

#1 – Keep Your Roof in Good Condition

  • Always make sure the roof over your head is providing the rest of your house proper protection. If a vent, chimney, or air conditioner is not properly installed, it can result in leaks and instability.
  • Have a professional inspect your roof annually to ensure safety in all areas. Make repairs to cracked or missing shingles/granules.
  • Remember, you should heavily repair or fully replace your roof every 15-20 years, depending on its condition.

#2 – Inspect Gutters and Downspouts Regularly

  • Check for pooling water after rain or snowfall.
  • Keep all gutters clean from debris and clutter at all times.

#3 – Check Water Supply Lines in The Kitchen and Bathroom

  • Failed refrigerators, toilets, and dishwashers are some of the main causes of water damage. Frequently check where hoses connect on both the fridge and dishwasher as much as possibly. Any condensation around the pipes, rust, or corrosion is a sign of a brewing problem.
  • Make sure to look around the area surrounding the bathtub or shower. Check for loose or cracked tiles and cracked or crumbling grout lines, as these are all possible signs of a water issues.
  • Inspect the supply line and flushing mechanism inside the toilet at least every 6 months.

#4 – Don’t Forget the Washing Machine

  • Turn water supply lines off when not in use.
  • Check washing machine control valves every 5 years.
  • When needed, consider using reinforced, graded stainless steel hoses to replace broken or deteriorating supply lines.

#5 – Maintain Water Heater

  • Broken water heaters can create frustrating amounts of unexpected water damage in a small amount of time if not taken care of correctly. Have a professional plumber inspect the anode rod on your water heater at least once every two years, and annually once the warranty expires. These rods can corrode and lead the heater to leak.
  • Remove sediment by flushing out the water heater tank every 6 months.

#6 – Know Where the Water Shut Off Valves are Located

  • If a leak presents itself from an unknown location in your home, it’s important to know where the water shut off valves are located. Shutting off water from the source will save your property from further damage while you or a professional assess the situation.
  • Normally, there is a main water shut off valve on the outside of the home and also specific water shut off valves located in each bathroom, garage, and kitchen, where common water-using appliances are located.

Always have a qualified plumber or roofer look at your property for any signs of potential problems or failures. For more tips on how to prevent water damage, download “Quick Tips for Preventing Water Damage Guide,” produced by the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

If a water problem occurs in your home, we’re here to help. Flood Masters is waiting for your call 24/7 to help you with any water damage restoration in your home or business. Just give us a ring at (555) 555 – 5555.

Can I Dry My Hardwood Floor After Water Damage?

This is a very common question we receive at Flood Masters. The amount of homes with hardwood floors is steadily increasing for many reasons, the most prominent being that hardwood floors not only tend to sell homes faster, but they also increase the price. The only downfall is that in the event of a flood or water overflow, hardwood floors cannot be easily taken out and dried like carpet can. This brings us to our question – Can hardwood floors be dried in place, or does everything need to be ripped out and replaced?

First, you need to recognize the many different factors that play into properly drying a hardwood floor. Water damage can increase drastically if not taken care of properly, professionally, and in a timely manner. Here are some of the main considerations you should make when considering calling a water damage restoration company for your hardwood floor.

Response Time

Water damage can be greatly decreased depending on the response time to the problem. According to the EPA, mold can grow in a little as 48 – 72 hours on almost all household material if they have a moisture level of 16% or higher. Time is of the essence when it comes to hardwood floor water damage – the moisture, temperature, and dust layer beneath a wet wood floor can provide an ideal environment for mold and many other problems.

Type Of Wood

Before you can determine how to properly take care of your wet hardwood floor, you need to determine what type of wood flooring you have. The main types of hardwood floors are:

  • Strip Wood Flooring
  • Plank Wood Flooring
  • Engineered Wood Flooring
  • Laminate Wood Flooring: Laminate wood flooring has become very common among California homes. Please note that laminate floors are NOT considered wood or hardwood flooring. This type of flooring is most often replaced in the event of a flood and is hard to salvage because they have a low tolerance for moisture.

Amount Of Moisture

Moisture affects all floor types differently. “Normal” moisture content for wood floor can fluctuate between 6% and 12%. A flooded hardwood floor can have up to 40% moisture content and can retain well above the normal amount of moisture for weeks if left to dry on it’s own. Nails may begin to lift, glue may release causing separation between floor pieces, and tongue and groove floors often cup or buckle when moisture has been absorbed.

Degree Of Water Damage Already Present

After severe water damage, it is likely that wood floors will have to be replaced. Wood is specifically susceptible to mold growth, so it is important that you ensure that the floor and the sub-floor are completely dry. If floors have cupped, popped, or cracked, it may be an indication that the sub-floor has experienced water damage as well. If this has occurred, it will also need to be replaced before installing new hardwood flooring.

If you decide to dry the floor in place, Flood Masters has sophisticated drying equipment that forces airflow beneath the surface of the floor, allowing moisture to be released. Keep in mind that this can be a slow process and take up to seven days. A restoration specialist can thoroughly inspect damage to determine the right plan of action for your home. They will work with you and your insurance company to decide the best option – drying or replacing the floor. The experts at Flood Masters have saved hundred of hardwood floors by using advanced drying equipment and over 20 years experience. We’re here to help, so give as a call.

7 Places You Need To Check For Mold

As you probably already know, mold can grow almost anywhere in or outside your home with the right conditions, especially after any flood damage. San Diego has great weather for not only the beach, but also for harboring mold growth. The best stimulant for mold growth is moisture and heat; let anything wet sit for more than 24 hours and you’re bound to have a mold problem brewing. In fact, mold spores can lay dormant for many months or even years until the right temperature, moisture, and nutrients present themselves. Yikes!

At Flood Masters, we tend to focus on mold remediation from structures with flood damage, but everyone should constantly be monitoring their home for mold growth. Even in the dry weather of San Diego, it is impossible to completely stop mold spores from entering your home, what’s important is to know how to control it. Here are 7 places everyone should watch for mold in their home.

 #1 Bathroom Mold

This is one of the most common places in the home for mold growth specifically because there are always large amounts of moisture produced in this area. Mold can grow almost anywhere in bathroom – under the sink, on or around the toilet, on wet towels or shower curtains, and of course, on the ceilings and walls.

The most dangerous and costly mold damage in every bathroom can come from the shower from none other than neglect. When there are cracks between ceramic tiles, moisture can trickle behind the walls resulting in mold growth. Unfortunately, most people do not even realize this problem until they start getting sick, smell, or discover it from a home inspection. It is extremely important to pay attention to the conditions of your shower and bathroom all together.

 #2 Kitchen Mold

This is also another common place for mold growth in the home. Small leaks under the sink, near the dishwasher, or behind the fridge are hard to notice until you smell the musty odor of mold. We recommend checking each of these places once a month to control any mold growth and catch any leaks before they cause and a real problem.

 #3 Basement Mold

This is more common in homes that are older, but it can also present itself in any home that is poorly sloped, has foundation cracks, missing waterproof membranes, or has had flood damage. San Diego homes do not commonly have large basements that people store things in like other parts of the country, but it is still important to inspect them from time to time. People tend to unsafely store things in cardboard boxes for years on end in their basement. Moisture inevitably develops, causing not only mold to grow but also is ruining keepsakes.

 #4 Window Mold

This is normally found around the edges or metal-framed or wood windows. Condensation tends to accumulate (mostly during winter months) on sills and frames of windows, and grows mold when left unchecked.

 #5 Attic Mold

Mold can grow in attics that have drain tile issues, are not properly ventilated, or have any roof leaks. Warm air also rises to the highest point of the house (the attic), providing mold with the perfect growing temperature. During the wet months of the year, condensation develops in the attic, leading to growth if not noticed. Most people do not enter their attic very often, which can result in significant damage if not caught early.

 #6 Carpet Mold

We deal with carpet mold at Flood Masters very frequently – especially after flood damage. San Diego’s warm weather creates the perfect environment for mold growth. This mold can be found on the underside of carpet after any sort of moisture exposure like floods, leaks in exterior walls or doors, or even from over watering plants. Mold can also be generated in the areas of a home that are on a low point of the property.

 
 
#7 Laundry Room Mold

The laundry room is considered to be a “wet area” of a house because there is water continuously present, much like a bathroom or kitchen. It should always be carefully watched. Check behind and under the washing machine for slow, otherwise unnoticeable leaks. Always look at the floors and floorboard for water stains or old moisture damage.

In every home, keep an eye on paper, cardboard, wood, carpets, leather, and even old food in the fridge. They are all breeding grounds for mold. Mold can grow on anything organic where nutrients are present, so it is important to always be on the lookout. If you discover mold anywhere in your home, make sure to properly clean it as soon as possible.

Because of potential health concerns while dealing with mold, we highly recommend calling a mold remediation expert (like us!). But if you do decide to tackle a problem yourself, download the EPA Guide to Mold and Moisture.

At Flood Masters, we deal with mold and flood damage every day. If you have any questions or need help taking care of mold, give us a call at (619) 234-2500. We’re here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.