When water damages residential and commercial properties in our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Cherry Hill, New Jersey area, property owners have lots of questions.
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about water damage restoration.
1. What happens and what are the effects when water floods my home or business?
- First, when water contacts drywall, it sags and disintegrates. Then you’ll see paint bubbles and peeling as the water wicks up the drywall. After that, water saturates the insulation behind the drywall.
- Next, if water dwells in your property for any length of time, wood structures begins to swell. The glue holding your particle board kitchen and bathroom cabinets dissolves, causing them to crumble. The longer the water dwells in your property, the more likely it is that the hardwood floors will buckle and warp. Wood exposed to long-term water damage rots.
- Third, water-soaked carpets “delaminate.” Delamination is the term for carpet that pulls away from its backing. Once this happens, the carpet is permanently ruined.
- Fourth, water damage can short-out electrical systems. This can cause fire and shock hazards and damage to electronic equipment.
2. Why can’t I clean up and dry out the damage myself?
Quickly wiping or mopping up a small spill in the middle of the floor is okay.
But, the problem is, if water flooded a large portion of your home or office, it’s the water you can’t see, the water that wicks up behind the wall or under the floors, that causes problems.
These dark cavities are the perfect place for mold and mildew to grow. And, without meters to measure the moisture, you won’t be able to find and remove the water you can’t see hiding in the structure.
All that excess water promotes mold and mildew growth, and compromises the structural integrity of the materials. And mold exposure presents a serious health threat to everyone in the home or business.
In addition, if the water damage comes from a contaminated source like a sewage backup, it presents an imminent health threat. In this case, you especially want to AVOID ANY CONTACT and call us immediately.
So, no matter what caused the water damage, to prevent future health or structural problems, water damage restoration should always be handled by a licensed, insured, IICRC certified professional water damage restoration contractor like PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services.
3. What does a professional water damage restoration contractor do differently than I would do to dry water damage?
- First, after we extract the water, we contain the affected area.
- Second, we remove any non-salvageable damaged materials.
- Third, we photo catalog every part of the damage and all damaged items.
- After that, we spray anti-microbial solution on the affected area.
- Shop vacs and common household fans just aren’t designed to remove enough moisture or generate enough air movement to dry your home or office completely after a flood. So, we use specialized, high-speed, industrial air movers and dehumidifiers. We set up the equipment in a specific pattern, creating the most efficient drying system for your property.
- While the equipment removes and controls the humidity and moisture levels in the air, we monitor the progress on a daily basis with specialized meters to measure the moisture.
- Finally, we communicate with your insurance company using the latest technology to facilitate efficient processing of your insurance claim. We’re experts at this, and we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners in the Greater Philadelphia and Cherry Hill area recover quickly from water damage loss.
4. How long does it take to dry my home or business?
The only answer to this question is It depends.
It all depends on the size and scope of the loss.
Completely drying a structure depends on the type of water damage, how bad it was, how long the water dwelled, and the type of building materials involved. For example, concrete takes much longer to dry than wood.
Many times, water damage to your home or business takes 2 to 3 days to dry. However, properties exposed to water damage for a long time will take longer to dry!
5. Do I have to leave my home or close my business during the restoration?
If the property damage doesn’t require a lot of reconstruction, you can stay in your home or office. However, the equipment we use during the drying process can be noisy. And it creates a lot of air movement which may be considered as unlivable or unworkable conditions. If the bathrooms in your office, or the kitchen in your home are a part of the damaged area, check with your insurance company for reimbursement of alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses until the restoration job is complete.
6. Why does PuroClean Emergency Recovery Services need access to my house or business?
Once the water is extracted and we begin the drying process, we need to monitor and control the moisture and humidity levels in the home. By doing this, we can prevent the growth of toxic mold. In addition, insurance companies require daily monitoring reports to justify your claim for damages.
7. Why is my property monitored so often?
We place our industrial sized equipment so it will operate as efficiently as possible according to the moisture mapping. We monitor and check the progress of every job regularly so we can make any adjustments as needed. Remember our job is to get you clean, dry and sanitized as quickly as we can. So monitoring helps us do that.
8. Why does the air in my home or office feel so dry?
We set up the equipment we use during the drying process so it will remove as much moisture from the affected space as possible. Our equipment creates an atmosphere that’s as dry as possible. This is just temporary. Once the drying process is complete, and we remove the equipment, the air condition will return to normal.
9. Is it okay to leave the equipment running all the time?
Absolutely! Our specialized equipment is made to run continuously without overheating or causing safety problems. Remember, we position the equipment in a particular way to promote the drying process. So please don’t move it.
10. Can I turn the equipment off at night to save money or to reduce noise?
The drying process requires running the equipment 24 hours a day for several days.
Our equipment is designed for efficiency. That means, depending on the size of the loss, on average, the estimated cost to run this equipment can be as little as $1 to $2 per day.
And because we know the noise might be problematic, for sleeping purposes or the quiet enjoyment of your home or office, we often suggest you call your insurance agent to see if your policy covers alternate living expenses or business continuity expenses.
11. Is it okay for me to open the doors and windows?
Because our technicians have set up the best conditions on your property for drying it efficiently, if you open windows during the drying process it causes problems. Depending on weather conditions, opening windows slows down the drying progress. So, the best rule of thumb is to keep doors and windows closed, and don’t turn off air conditioning or heat without talking to us first.
12. If I filed a claim, do I have to wait for an adjuster to come out before I call you?
The answer to this question is usually no.
- Most homeowner and business policies require you to do whatever you can to prevent further damage.
- So the first step is to stop the source of water.
- Next, call your insurance company. Ask them if you have coverage. They will probably issue you a claim number at this time. And, they will probably give you 2 or 3 names of restoration companies to call.
- After you call us, take pictures of the damage. Even though we will take pictures when we arrive, we tell our customers they can’t take enough pictures!
- After that, if you can, remove or separate any personal items and furniture from the damaged area and do what you can to remove the standing water. Just don’t throw anything away.
13. Do I have to use the restoration company the insurance company recommends?
Nope. You don’t have to use the company the insurance company recommends. You are free to hire whoever you want.
However, you will want to take steps to properly vet the contractor you choose. As with every profession, there are good water damage restoration professionals and not so good ones.
Remember: Most reputable water damage companies have worked with the major insurance companies and are experts at dealing with adjusters and claims.
The benefit to you of hiring us: Once we have the information about your claim, we’ll communicate directly with your insurance adjuster to make the process smooth and easy for you.
14. If materials need replacement, can I replace them with something different?
Our job in water damage restoration is to return your property to you in its pre-damaged condition. Your insurance company will pay to replace “like-with-like.” However, after large water damage to your property, when many items have been removed, it makes the perfect time to renovate and update. But if you want to upgrade, you’ll need to pay the difference out of pocket from what your insurance company allocated.
15. Will the carpet need to be replaced?
It all depends on the situation. In some situations where carpet has been wet for an extended period, water damage will cause what is called delamination (the backing separates from the fibers) and will usually require replacement. Or if the water was from a non-clean source like sewage, the carpet will most likely need to be replaced. But in most cases, if carpets were saturated by clean water, and if we get to them right away, they can be dried, sanitized and cleaned without damage.
16. Do I need to find a reconstruction contractor to do the repairs after the water restoration is done?
If you hired us to handle your loss from start to finish, you don’t need to worry about finding a general contractor. We have a team of qualified, experienced professionals to do the reconstruction needed, or we use sub-contractors as a part of the restoration package.
17. Are there any chemicals used that could be harmful to me or my pets?
We use several different anti-microbials or biocides during every water damage mitigation job. These prevent mold, mildew, and bacterial growth. And most of them are rated safe for children and pets. But, if you have concerns about toxicity or chemical exposure, ask the technician on call which anti-microbial solution he will be using. You can also ask him to provide you with the Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS sheets) for that product. But to be safe, it’s wise to keep yourself, children, and pets away during the drying process.
And, our most favorite of the frequently asked questions about water damage restoration:
18. Can water damage be prevented?
There’s not a lot you can do to prevent water damage from an act of nature. Water damage from severe storms that cause over-the-ground flooding happen. But not as often as you might think.
Although all 50 states have experienced flooding, most water damage to properties is caused when indoor plumbing fails. And, while there are some types of indoor plumbing fails that can’t be prevented, many can.
The key to prevention is regular maintenance. Frequent inspections of your home or business property can help you prevent most water damage.
So check back with us often. In our blog, we post information homeowners and business owners to use to prevent all different kinds of property damage.
But in a nutshell, here are the 5 basic steps to prevent water damage you can take each month:
- First, make sure all your appliances (e.g., dishwasher, clothes washer, and water heater) are in good working order. Check all water connections and hoses. Remember to do this even if you have the metal braided supply hoses.
- Second, check under your kitchen and bathroom sink for signs of corrosion and make sure connections are tight.
- Third, check the toilets in each bathroom for any signs of leaking.
- Fourth, monitor your water bills. A sudden, unexplained increase in water use can be caused by a leak.
- And last, make sure everyone knows how and where to shut off the water to the home.