For most areas, a wet season can be unusual but for others, it can be pretty bad. Water entering your building is never a pleasant experience. If water or any accumulated dampness is not fixed quickly, it can cause potential health risks. Here are some precautions and remedies to consider if leakages and intruding water have made their way inside.
The Potential Health Risks from Water Damage
Your Health is Important
Quick and proper clean-up is important for your health. If materials are not cleaned up properly or discarded quickly, poor air quality can result. Microorganisms can contaminate indoor air in the presence of excess moisture and cause respiratory problems and allergies. Floodwaters can contain microorganisms such as bacteria, molds, and viruses and can contain raw sewage too.
Long-Term Damage Caused by Water
You must immediately dry out anything that came in direct contact with the water, such as drywall, and any equipment. If clean up does not begin quickly you may be at risk for long-term damage and ruined equipment as well as damage to the integral structure of your building. The most critical part of the cleanup process is drying out the area completely. Moisture can hide in drywall and sub-flooring and may go undetected. Signs of damage can include odors from mold and mildew on walls, bucked floors, peeling paint/wallpaper, and weakened sub-floors. It may be necessary to remove portions of walls, ceilings, and floors to completely dry everything out. Consider removing and replacing those materials to avoid future indoor air quality problems, especially if the drying process did not begin within 48 hours which is the recommended time.
When To Bring in a Professional
There are many different situations where water damage may occur, and depending on the source, water that causes damage that can be categorized into three basic types: clean water, gray water, and black water. Professional restoration companies will use different techniques to remove the water depending on its classification.
- Clean water comes from a clean source such as an indoor sink. Clean water sources usually do not contain any contaminants.
- Gray water comes from a source that may contain contaminants, such as snow or rainfall, machine or toilet overflows.
- Black water includes sewage, floodwaters from rivers or streams, or groundwater. Black water contains pathogenic, fungal, and viral contamination, pesticides, or heavy metals. This can be the most serious health risk to anyone who comes in contact with it unprotected.
Insurance companies recommend and almost always require immediate clean up quickly to avoid long-term damage. A Water Damage Restoration Company can provide you with an assessment to help you determine if you should be filing a claim with your insurance. In the meantime, there are a few things you should be doing.
- Remove water: Pump, sweep, or drain water from the building, remove any debris, remove all equipment and any items damaged by the water.
- Remove moisture: Use fans (if it is safe to use electricity), open windows to increase air circulation, ventilation, and drying and use dehumidifiers with windows and doors closed
It may also be necessary to remove portions of walls, ceilings, and floors to completely dry out the inside of the building or rooms. Continue the drying process for days or weeks until humidity levels return to normal (35-55%). There should not be a musty odor if the areas are completely dried.
The next thing to do is to determine the source of the water. There are many ways that water can enter your building such as leaky roof, faulty gutter system, or cracks in the foundation or structures. It is important to determine the source and solve the problem after you have mitigated any threats to your health. Call us today if you have any concerns and we can help identify any repairs needed to prevent future problems.