Water damage repair prevention and recovery

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The need for water damage repair can strike at any time and for many reasons. Consider returning home...

The need for water damage repair can strike at any time and for many reasons. Consider returning home from vacation only to find that the first floor of your home has become a kiddie pool thanks to a supply line break in an upstairs bathroom. The need isn't always so obvious, however, such as when the source of the damage is a slow leak hidden behind a wall or between floors. Either way, dealing with water damage is as welcomed as a horde of angry fire ants. But water damage doesn't have to make your life a living nightmare. With preventative steps, you can lessen the chances of water damage occurring, and if it does, an informed response can help mitigate the damage and possibly turn the setback into a score.

Prevention

Maintain the waterways. Water damage can occur anywhere there's a water source being piped in or out. Check supply hoses, water lines (don't forget the one for the ice maker hidden behind the refrigerator), and around faucets for leaks, worn tubing or rust. Water damage is oftentimes preventable, such as damage caused by slow leaks over time. Check the water heater for leaks and rust as well. Replace any components that are showing wear and tear. Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanities are clear and open to prevent water damage to floors and ceilings. If you live in an older home, re-piping is a comprehensive preventative option professional plumbers offer that could add value to your home. Re-piping removes and replaces all outdated and faulty plumbing throughout a household.

Be prepared. How many times do you have to hear these two unassuming words to take heed? Check your insurance policyboth home and autoto see where you stand if your house or car sustains water damage. Some insurance carriers require more coverage for sewer and drain repairs such as those caused by a sump pump malfunction. Water damage caused by flooding, a possibilty any time the Atlanta area experiences a downpour, is generally covered under a separate flood policy.

Take the time to complete an inventory of your home's contents and what they are worth so you'll have the documentation you need if replacement is necessary. Taking pictures to document the location of important possessions and their condition is a must for pricey household items, heirlooms and personal treasures. Store all of this information in a waterproof and fireproof container. Consider increasing your insurance coverage if you own an older home with the original plumbing.

Know where and how to turn off the main water valve for your home. When you can't find where the water is coming from, shutting off the main line is the only way to stop it. Older homes sometimes have below-ground valves that need a wrench or pliers to turnit's best to know what to expect before an emergency. Most plumbers recommend turning the main water supply on and off at least once a year to make sure the valve is working properly.

Recovery

What do you do when water damage occurs? If water damage is severe, such as the case of the supply line break, call your insurance agent, and then call a certified professional water damage restoration specialist. The water damage repair specialist can speed up the restoration process and has experience and expertise in determining what is salvageable. The specialist will remove the water and can set up heaters and fans to dry out walls and floorsan important response in preventing mold. With major water damage, minimizing restoration depends entirely on moving quickly and efficiently after damage has occurredwithin 48 hours if not sooner.

When water damage is isolated, such as when a leaky pipe causes damage behind a wall, you may not need your insurance or help with the cleanup, but be sure to hire a professional plumber who can fix the leak, possibly find other problems and determine the full extent of any unseen water damage such as rotted wood or mushy drywall. Many plumbers can do small repairs such as patching drywall.

Restoring after water damage. Water damage that is extensive may need professional restoration. A water restoration specialist can handle your job through completion, but if not, find a good general contractor who can meet your needs and your budget. The supply line break mentioned above required massive restoration: new downstairs flooring, drywall repair and kitchen cabinet replacement. After a couple of estimates from a water restoration specialist and general remodelers/contractors, the homeowner realized that the water damage provided the perfect opportunity to do some remodeling and upgrading since insurance would cover some of the cost. The results were a new kitchen, upgraded flooring throughout the downstairs and removal of a wall that separated the kitchen from the dining area.

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