As a resident of Miami or South Florida, chances are that you’re quite used to the water, whether it’s due to plenty of summer rain or simply enjoying the ocean. However, this proximity to the water and the balmy Florida conditions come with a greater risk of water damage compared to other parts of the country.
Water damage can have a variety of potentially dangerous side effects, whether it comes violently through a flood or subtly through a roof leak. The silver lining here is that there are a lot of tools and options at your disposal, as well as water damage restoration professionals to help in the areas you can’t work on yourself.
Water Damage and Why You Need to Act Quickly
One thing that we should talk about when it comes to water damage is the fact that not all types of water damage are alike. For example, there are different classes of water that can come into your home, each requiring different approaches:
- Category 1 – water generally comes from broken or leaking appliances and is generally safe for human contact. While you may still need professional restoration help, you can clear out standing water before the professionals arrive.
- Category 2 water can come from areas like broken water or sump pumps and should not come into contact with the skin without protective gear due to microorganisms.
- Category 3 water, also known as black water, is extremely dangerous due to the presence of bacteria. Floodwater and sewage water are common class 3 examples.
If a home is affected with category 2 or category 3 water, it’s no longer a safe place to live due to the presence of contaminants in the air, as well as on whatever the water has come into contact with. In these situations, you need to invest in water damage restoration to be able to enter the property and use it again.
But what about category 1 water when the water isn’t a source of danger?
While it may not be a health issue in and of itself, even these lesser instances of water damage can cause problems. For example, it only takes a few days for mold to grow in moist areas. Mold in the air can potentially cause health issues over time, especially for people with sensitive respiratory systems. There’s also the risk of things like furniture or carpet needing to be replaced after prolonged contact with water, even relatively safe water.
For home and property owners caught in this situation, it may be tempting to try and save money when this happens by doing the job yourself, but the truth is that this mentality causes more issues than it solves (What To Do Before A Water Damage Professional Visits). This is why it’s important to determine the methods you can do ahead of time to reduce the impact of water damage versus what happens when the damage occurs and you need professional help.
Methods to Mitigate Water Damage
If it’s not safe for people to work around water-damaged areas on their own, what options do they have to protect their home? There are a few ways: in some cases, lowering the risk of common water damage issues, and others, lowering the risk of the impact that water damage can have when it does happen.
If you are a home or property owner, your best bet is ensuring you are regularly inspecting your home. Most of the time, water damage can be avoided. For example, if a gutter is clogged due to plant matter, this can cause leaks in the foundation or roof, which, in turn, can cause water damage. However, simply taking the time to inspect the gutters and make changes every now and then can be enough to keep this from happening. Similar attentiveness can lower the risk of other issues like burst pipes or roof damage after a storm.
Depending on your home, you may even be able to creatively landscape your home in order to minimize the risk of smaller-scale flood damage. Setting your yard to slope down and away from your home will keep excess water from pooling against your foundation during heavy rains. Granted, this may not be possible for every homeowner to do, but for people who plan on settling in South Florida for a long time, it may be worth looking into.
Besides lowering water damage risk, you can also work reduce its impact. Examples of this include taking the time to protect your valuables by bringing them to elevated levels of the home or putting them in a waterproof container. If you have a basement and the necessary funds, it’s not a bad idea to invest in a sump pump. These won’t completely remove water damage in the area, but they can cut down on the amount of standing water and the potential health hazards it causes.
Finally, for South Florida residents, there is a greater risk of heavy water flooding compared to other parts of the country. What many home and property owners may not understand is that your average homeowners’ insurance policy does not cover flood damage in many cases. Note that some insurance policies can cover water damage such as a burst pipe, or other sudden issues that don’t stem from neglect or lack of maintenance. So, for example, a long-time leak caused by a clogged gutter would not be covered by many insurance policies.
This is why it’s important to make sure that you invest in a proper flood insurance policy. Flood restoration professionals will work with your carrier in order to get insurance to cover their services, but only if you have a proper policy. It may be a good idea to talk to your insurance carrier to figure out what type of water damage you are qualified to have covered.
Preparing to mitigate water damage does not mean neutralizing it. In some cases, you are going to need water damage professionals regardless, so you want to make sure you and your home are ready for their help if needed(5 Quick Tips You Need To Know In Staging Your Home for Water Damage Restoration).
Choosing Your Water Damage Restoration Professionals
The water damage restoration process involves a lot of important components, and you want to make sure you have professionals that can take care of all of them. (The ABC’s of The Water Damage Restoration Process). The number one reason for this is there isn’t a lot of regulation in the water damage restoration industry, and in areas where flooding is common, there is a risk of water damage restoration scams. These providers generally offer a lower price to people in need, do a subpar job, and then disappear before there’s any chance of reprisal. How do you avoid that happening to you?
One of the best places to start is to look for accredited professionals and only work with them. For example, at Total Care Restoration, we are certified by the IICRC, one of the most prominent and respected organizations for restoration professionals. If you’re looking for a baseline for professionals, an IICRC accreditation is a good start.
In addition, depending on the scope of your water damage, you may want to work with a company that has a variety of different related services rather than just one specialty. For example, after a heavy flood that resulted in you needing to leave a property for a while, you not only will likely have dangerous standing water but also heavy mold. Many restoration companies can dry out the home as well as provide mold remediation, but you want to check first.
Other things that you want to ask about when looking through water restoration professionals are things like their liability insurance or past clients they can refer you to. These are all about making sure you choose a professional who is transparent and will protect your property.
Finally, when it comes to pricing, you need to understand that there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. After all, water in your drywall requires a lot more effort to get to and fix compared to a waterlogged carpet. When you work with a professional, it’s important to make sure that they only give you a price after a proper inspection.
Working Through Water Damage Restoration
Part of the reason why we go through all these steps in order to help find the right water damage restoration professionals is to make sure the job gets done correctly. When you are talking to different companies and deciding what you want, it’s important to understand all the major steps of water damage restoration, and make sure that restoration professionals are doing their due diligence here.
This all starts with the initial inspection, where water damage professionals assess the condition of your home to determine the extent of the water damage as well as come up with an estimate for the restoration. At Total Care Restoration, we offer free inspections in order to help our clients at this stage in the process.
After the inspection, the next step is to remove any standing water. This is particularly important in the case of flooding, where there may be a lot of category 3 water remaining. Not only does this remove the excess source of moisture, but ensures the home is safe for people to work in.
At this point, we get into the nuts and bolts of the restoration. Depending on the scope of the restoration, the affected room or rooms will be sectioned off, then treated with dehumidifiers and large fans in order to dry out the excess moisture in the room. As this goes on, professionals will also be looking at damaged items like furniture, and either work to dry them off or dispose of them if they are beyond saving. When the drying process is over, there is generally a final cleaning that includes sanitizing and odor treatments to get rid of the last remnants of the water.
As a final step, many water damage restoration professionals will offer a consultation after their work is over. The purpose of this consultation is to go over exactly what led to the water damage if it’s something more subtle like a leak or foundational issues. In addition, your water damage restoration professional will go over things you can do to minimize the risk of water damage and its impact returning (How To Keep Water Damage From Returning In Your Home).
Using TCR for Water Restoration Services
When the time comes for you to work with water restoration services, it’s essential to make sure that you are working with the best. Not only do you want to make sure that your home is completely covered, but you also want the insight and expertise to ensure that this won’t become a recurring issue for the property. This is especially important for many people in South Florida and coastal areas. Dealing with flooding is becoming a more frequent occurrence, and this is compounded by the many other potential sources of water damage, like leaks or burst pipes.
To fix existing issues and lower future risk, contact professionals like Total Care Restoration. Not only do we believe in doing the most for our customers in the Miami area, but we’re also:
- 5-star rated on Yelp
- IICRC certified
- BBB A+ rated
This means we have the skills and expertise to provide water damage restoration services for property owners, as well as help them prepare for some of the causes of water damage for future instances. Our customers also trust us to diagnose different issues and repair foundation, leaks, mold infestations, and other side effects of flooding and severe water damage. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.