Common Water Damage to Homes

The Most Common Damage Done To Homes With Water

Your home is your sanctuary, and it’s also a significant investment. Water is a constant threat that has the potential to do profound damage to your home. Below, we discuss the most common ways water damages homes and how to avoid four common plumbing issues that lead to them.

1. Broken Or Clogged Pipes

Plumbing is necessary for us to live healthy and comfortable lives, but when pipes break or become clogged, thousands of gallons of water could leak into your home. According to one report of the most expensive insurance claims made by homeowners, water damage from plumbing and appliances made up 19% of all claims.

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends regularly checking your pipes to make sure they aren’t leaking, dripping, or clogged. Additionally, make sure you know where your shut-off valves are. Labeling them can help you use them quickly to minimize water damage if a leak occurs.

2. Frozen Water Lines

Plumbing issues aren’t limited to leaky pipes and clogged drains. The weather presents its own set of issues, particularly in the winter. Water expands as it freezes, and that means your pipes may burst.

It’s wise to take steps to prevent your pipes from freezing. The American Red Cross recommends adding insulation to unheated spaces, removing and draining outdoor hoses, and draining swimming pool and sprinkler lines before winter.

Once cold weather arrives, leave cabinet doors open to allow warm air to enter spaces around pipes. Leaving the cold water dripping also helps keep pipes from freezing. It’s also a good idea to leave your heat on while you’re away and keep it turned up at night.

If your pipes do freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer or heating pad. Do not attempt to use propane, kerosene, blow torches, or similar devices. These pose fire and carbon monoxide risks to you and your family.

3. Appliance Failures

Many of the appliances in our homes use or produce water, including the refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, air conditioner, and hot water heater. If these appliances fail, water can leak into your home.

The Insurance Information Institute suggests checking the hoses leading to your appliances on an annual basis. Replace any that are cracked, and get new hoses every five to seven years.

4. Sump Pump Failure

Homes with basements often have a sump pump. Sump pumps are designed to move water out of your basement and away from your foundation. However, if your sump pump fails, your basement can become flooded.

Since sump pumps run on electricity, a power outage is a common reason for failure. Having a generator can help get you through a power outage.

Sump pumps may also fail if they are the wrong size. Have a professional inspect your sump pump to make sure it can adequately address your home’s needs.

Dirt and debris can also clog your pump. Your sump pump should be serviced every six months to ensure it is working properly.

Getting Help With Water Damage

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. We always recommend taking steps to prevent water damage. However, emergencies happen, and if you experience a leak, we are here to help.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can clean up and repair the damage yourself. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to colonize, putting you and your family at risk. Additionally, if sewage is a problem, bacteria and other pathogens become an immediate concern.

ECOS is here to help. We are on call 24-hours a day and seven days a week. If you are experiencing a leak or suspect water damage, give us a call. We’ll work quickly to minimize the damage done to your home and restore it to a healthy and safe environment.

Flood Clean Up

Cleaning Up After Flooding 5 Steps You Need To Take

The floodwaters begin to recede. Understandably, you want to get back into your home or business to clean up and rebuild. However, rebuilding too quickly can mean you skip over significant damage and endanger those in the building.

Otherwise, persistent and hazardous issues such as infestations, mold growth and structural deterioration will present safety and health problems that can cost you more money in the long run. Don’t trust that flood water or materials damaged by flooding are safe. Here are the five steps you need to take after flooding to clean up.

1.Contact Professionals to Report and Assess

After flood water recedes, contact the professionals to report and assess the conditions following the flood. Do contact your insurance company as soon as possible, but also don’t neglect to contact disaster restoration professionals to assist with the documentation and restoration process.

ECOS Environmental is experienced with working with insurance companies and their standards. We will stay with you from start to finish. We know how to safely and effectively clean up all kinds of disasters and will restore your home or business with care.

People say that fire is both destructive and creative, but water seeps. It seeps through everything, including your ceiling, drywall, floors and walls.

2. Protect Yourself When Entering

There are some aspects of cleanup that you can safely DIY but never charge into a structure without it being cleared as safe by the experts and authorities.

Cracked foundations and broken floors obviously present hazards. Always turn the electricity off before going into a room with standing water. Also, don’t turn on electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpeting. Never disturb mold, which can form within 48 hours of flooding.

Wear protective gear when you enter the building. Wear masks, waterproof boots and long sleeve clothing.

3. Start Cleaning ASAP

Begin the cleanup process once the building is cleared for you to enter safely. The degree to which you can contribute personally to the cleanup process depends on the degree of damage and concerns for potential health hazards. You don’t and shouldn’t do all the cleanup on your own.

Contact with floodwater and damaged materials endangers your life. It takes a long time, and you can’t work to support yourself and loved ones while cleaning up. If you DIY the cleanup, always wear protective gear. Only what is reasonable and safe for you and your health, such as wiping down surfaces and opening windows.

One of the first and easiest steps that you can DIY is to dry out the contents of the property completely. Focus on items that won’t retain harmful bacteria and mold. You will throw those items away. Many non-porous materials can be salvaged, so take the items outside to dry in the sunlight. Dehumidifiers and fans will help air out the property to prepare for restoration efforts.

4. Exercise Caution with Mold Damage

Where there is moisture, you will most likely find mold. After flooding, mold can quickly develop as soon as 24 hours after water comes in contact with a surface. Please wear a mask when you re-enter a building.

Soap and bleach can help address some mold issues, on the surface, but the problem area can “grow” deeper. Experts can offer you a free estimate and plan for addressing the damage.

5. Address Necessary Repairs Before Restoration

Part of the cleanup process means addressing the necessary repairs before you leap into the restoration process. The early stages of your cleanup efforts must focus on getting everything clean and dry while working with your insurance company and flood cleanup and restoration experts.

Following that, you should address the necessary repairs before restoration. Seal up all leaks and prevent further issues with moisture, especially for future prevention. If you are in a high-risk flood zone, you can investigate the possibility of elevating your home or installing a flood barrier after you take care of those must-do repairs.

Contact ECOS Environmental to guide you through the flood cleanup and restoration process from start to finish.

Is There Sewage In Your Flood Water?

“It’s just water,” you think. What could go wrong if you just decided to dip a toe into the flood water and work your way to the other side? The water doesn’t look too deep or radioactive from afar.

That standing water looks passive enough, but flood waters pose various risks and may threaten you with injury, chemical hazards and infectious diseases. Don’t try to downplay the risks. Even if the current won’t carry you away, you still need to worry about the possibility of sewage in your flood water.

Sewage Can Leak Into Water During a Flood

According to the Scientific American, sewage floods are more likely to happen in the coming years as heavy rains increase. Between 1895 and 2011, rainfall has increased by two inches each year, and it’s only going to continue rising. In 2016, Baton Rouge, Louisiana faced a deluge of 20 inches of rain within 72 hours, necessitating 30,000 rescues.

Many families end up waiting until the flood hits their front door to evacuate, and then they have to do it by boat. What do they end up seeing and treading through? Raw sewage.

That’s what happened to folks in Baton Rouge. The city’s piping, booster systems and life stations were built around a century ago, and the system couldn’t handle the torrential downpour leading to what is known as a “sanitary sewer overflow” — or unsanitary, rather. Do you know how old the pipes are in your neighborhood? It’s worth looking into.

Cities are responsible for adhering to the Clean Water Act. Older systems are designed with fixed degrees of water and rainfall in mind, but more flexible systems need developing.

Outfall points release the sewage into larger bodies of water, but sometimes, shallow slopes don’t allow for proper flushing. In New York City alone, three billion gallons are released into just one stream — the Newton Creek. Find out about how your city treats and tests its water by visiting your government website and asking direct questions.

How Can You Get Ill From Sewage in Flood Water?

Fortunately, most modern people are good about washing their hands after using the restroom and cautious of spreading possibly infectious viruses and diseases. However, sewage in the flood water can spread fecal-oral diseases from the organisms that are released into the water.

These diseases spread from touching dirty hands to your mouth. Spreading can occur by direct contact with the flood water, sewage or someone who becomes sick with disease. You can also become sick by indirect contact with the flood water when you touch damaged furniture, toys or other items or consume food exposed to sewage-contaminated water.

If infected, you may experience nausea, cramps, fever, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. You should contact your doctor if you experience these symptoms for more than 48 hours.

That’s why it’s important to avoid contact with flood water as a rule of thumb in general. Find a sanitary facility to shower or bathe if you do come into indirect or direct contact with flood water. The incubation period for many fecal-oral diseases consists of one to three days.

Safety Practices Regarding Sewer Contaminated Flood Water

Reduce your risk of contamination and illness by avoiding flood water altogether. If you come in contact with a flooded area, wash yourself with clean soap and water as soon as possible.

Always wash your hands after you use the toilet or eat. Keep your hands under the clean water for at least twenty seconds as you scrub.

For decontamination of objects, in many cases, you can use about eight tablespoons of laundry bleach per gallon of water to preserve some toys and other household objects. Always discard cloth objects, such as clothes, plush toys or pillows.

Use gloves, masks and proper clothing to avoid contact with the water as you clean and throw away the trash. Open up the windows for ventilation.

These tips will help you get through light flooding, but even when the water doesn’t look too deep, you never know what sewage might linger in your flood water — chances are, it’s there.

Don’t risk your health. Contact ECOS Environmental to help clean up, sanitize and restore the area, documenting every step of the process for insurance purposes for you.

When Can Flood Cleanup Begin After A Major Flood

Flood Cleanup

Severe flooding causes structural damage and creates health and fire hazards. Heavy rain, tornadoes and hurricanes can cause major flooding that leads to contamination through sewage or mold.

Mold exposure poses series health risks, so it’s important to begin flood cleanup as soon as its safe to return to your home or business.

Severe Weather Must Calm Down

Wait for severe weather to pass before returning to the structure and arranging for cleanup. It still may not be safe, even if a storm has passed. 77 percent of deaths in a hurricane are caused by drowning. Officials need to also check for downed power lines that may risk electrocution.

When officials declare the area safe, you can initiate the cleanup process by contacting FEMA, insurance claims adjusters and a professional crew to provide disaster relief cleanup. ECOS Environmental can help you file your claim, document the damage for the insurance adjuster’s visit and clean up after the flood.

Start Cleanup Before Mold Strikes

Mold poses a serious health risk and can form within 24 hours of flooding. It can cause concerns in the healthiest of individuals, irritating your eyes, nose, throat, lungs and skin. Mold also leads to more severe reactions and long-term effects in those with allergies, mold infection, compromised immune system or a chronic lung illness.

If you have existing allergies, mold exposure can make you feel like you have the flu. You may experience fever, difficulty breathing, coughing exhaustion and brain fog.

Besides toxic black mold, green-black mold is also harmful. After a flood, you can find it on dust, lint, paper. fiberboard and other low-nitrogen content materials. If you’ve been away for days due to evacuation, contact flood damage cleanup professionals immediately when you suspect mold.

Take the Proper Precautions

Take safety precautions and wear gloves, masks and rubber boots when removing flood-damaged valuables. Never wade in water since contaminants, nails, downed wires and other hazards may linger.

Make sure you’ve had your tetanus shot since you risk serious infection without one, especially if contaminated water touches an open wound or rusty nails gouge you. Floodwater can contain the following contaminants: E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella, Hepatitis A Virus, and agents of typhoid, paratyphoid and tetanus.

Consider public water sources unsafe until officials deem otherwise. Wash fabrics in hot water at the laundromat and dry-clean them. You can clean some surfaces with soap and water, but put safety first. Use duct tape to secure refrigerator and freezer doors after food disposal.

Always consult with local authorities before removing debris. It’s better to let the cleanup crew handle this process due to potential hazards. Floods can bury and move chemical containers and hazardous waste far from their original locations. Let officials handle chemical and electrical hazards.

Apply for Relief Urgently

Always contact your insurance company, FEMA and local government relief agencies for assistance. However, response time may take hours or days, depending on need and demand.

Many national restoration companies promise a four-hour response time frame, and smaller businesses can provide faster service with the same aptitude and expertise. Don’t hesitate to contact a licensed flood damage expert. ECOS Environmental is equipped to respond and address these hazards in record time. Our experts arrive at your location no later than two hours from dispatch and typically within an hour for most locations.

The longer water sits in your home or business, the more hazards you risk. Insurance companies and government officials stress that cleanup should begin as soon as possible after a major flood. Mold, downed lines and other hazards threaten your safety without a fast response.

Contact ECOS Environmental to help you save on out-of-pocket expenses in record time, restore your home and business and document the whole process for the insurance company. Always put safety first.

Water Damage

How Quickly Water Damage Escalates

Water Damage

When water damage occurs in your home or business, the problem does not go away with time. Secondary destruction takes place as more time passes, causing greater damage.

Overwhelmed gutters, leaking pipes, backed-up toilets and natural disasters are a few common causes of water damage. Water pools into corners, damaging every material it absorbs into as the clock ticks by. Here’s how quickly water damage escalates.

How Water Damages the Home Within Minutes

Did you know that water can damage your home within minutes? Here’s what to look for:

• Furniture finishes, sensitive to moisture, start to turn white.

• Carpets quickly absorb water, and furniture left standing on these saturated surfaces stain the carpeting.

• Water contamination increasingly spreads, accelerating claim costs.

How Water Damages the Home Within Hours

Minutes turn into hours, and as those hours tick by, water damage becomes more apparent.

• Furniture in contact with the spreading water swells and delaminates.

• Increased humidity amplifies everyday smells. The risk for mold development grows. Leaking toilets and food left out increases health risks, as these hazards interact.

• Non-colorfast fabrics dyes bleed.

How Water Damages the Home Within Days

Where moisture lingers, mold and fungi begin to appear, as wood warps and structures break down.

• Mold spores appear within 24 hours, and fungi grow — signaled by their distinct musty odors.

• Severe wood cupping and warping becomes apparent. After days, water damage to wood floors may mean replacing flooring in entire rooms.

• Wallpaper peels away as the adhesives release. Painted walls form blisters.

• Wood structures swell, split and warp.

At this point, if you act quickly to contact water damage restoration professionals, your home or business may be restored closer to its original condition before the loss occurred.

How Water Damages the Home Within Weeks

As the weeks pass, greater risks due to water damage threaten to your home and health.

• Mold roots itself into organic materials, destroying their integrity.

• Increasing health hazards force occupants to evacuate.

• Exposure to mold can result in allergic sensitivity and chronic respiratory issues.

• Weeks worth of water damage may require the residence or business being completely gutted to its bare bones. Occupants become displaced for long periods and claims shoot up astronomically.

Minimizing Water Damage

Basements are the primary culprits for water damage and mold growth, due to humidity, dampness and poor air circulation. The humidity and water in a bathroom can also generate moist, stagnant air, and this air makes for a perfect breeding ground for mold. Attics, laundry rooms and wall cavities are also prone to water damage.

Where there is moisture or condensation, water damage and mold growth can occur. Getting ventilation into the structure and removing furniture away from saturated surfaces helps reduce water damage. But you can only do so much within minutes and hours on your own. Your life and health are the higher priorities.

Do not take any chances. Be safe and get help cleaning up water damage before it accelerates. Water damage can lead to expensive and extensive repairs, but most of these challenges may be made as successful claims through one’s insurance company.

Microbial and mold growth can occur within 24 hours, compromising health for all inhabitants, even pets. Prevent additional damage to your home to save meaningful and important items as well as the structure itself.

ECOS professionals are certified water damage repair experts. With more than 10 years of experience in the industry, a quick response time reduces the risk of extensive damage and repair costs. ECOS professionals are with you every step of the way, as a reputable restoration company should be, documenting the damage before restoration and walking the claims adjuster through the property before and after services are rendered. Serving Colorado, call ECOS 24/7 at (888) 506-3165 to discuss your water damage concerns.