Water Damage Health Risks

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Potential Health Risk from Water Damage

Water Damage - Cleanup needs to begin within 24-48 hours to avoid potential health risks and structural damage.

For most areas, it has been an unusual wet season and for some, it has been much worse than others. Water entering your home is never a pleasant experience. If water or dampness is not remediated quickly, it can cause a potential health risk to you and your family. Here is some precautions and remedies to consider when your home or items in it have come in contact with water.

Your health is important

Quick and proper clean-up is important for your health. If materials in your home are not cleaned up
properly or discarded quickly, poor air quality can result. Microorganisms can contaminate indoor air
and cause respiratory problems and allergies. Floodwaters can contain microorganisms such as
bacteria, molds, and viruses. Flood waters can also contain raw sewage, dead animals, and other
debris.

Long-Term Damage

Dry out anything that came in direct contact with the water, such your home structure, wet carpet,
drywall, cabinets, and furniture. If clean up does not begin quickly you may be at risk for long-term
damage. The most critical part of the cleanup process is drying out the area completely. Moisture
can hide in drywall and sub-flooring that may go undetected. 
Signs of damage can include odors; 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 out the house. Consider removing and replacing those materials to
avoid future indoor air quality problems, especially if the drying process did not begin within 48
hours.

When To Hire A Professional

There are many different situations where water damage may occur, and depending on the source,
water that causes damage to your home 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 - Clean water comes from a clean source such as a sink or bathtub overflow etc. Clean
water sources usually do not contain any contaminants.
Gray Water - Gray Water comes from a source that may contain contaminants. such as snow /
rainfall, dishwasher or washing machine overflows, or toilet overflows.
Black Water - Black water includes sewage, flood waters from rivers or streams, or ground water.
Black water contains pathogenic, fungal, and viral contamination, pesticides, or heavy metals. Black
water can be a serious health risk to anyone who comes in contact with it unprotected.

Insurance companies recommend and in most cases, require 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.

What Can You Do?

Remove water:

  • Pump, sweep, or drain water from the building
  • Remove any debris
  • Remove furniture, carpets and other household items that were wet or damaged by water. (Wet and contaminated materials contain microorganisms that contaminate indoor air)

Remove moisture:

  • Use fans (if it is safe to use electricity)
  • Open windows to increase air circulation, ventilation and drying
  • Use dehumidifiers with windows and doors closed 
  • May be necessary to remove portions of walls, ceilings, and floors to completely dry out the house 
  • May be necessary to remove insulation and wall-to- wall carpeting that were soaked to avoid future
    indoor air quality problems
  • 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 house is dried completely and properly

Determine The Source Of Water 

There are many ways that water can enter you home; basement, roof, flood, leaky/broken pipe,
appliance malfunction, etc. It is important to determine the source and solve the problem after you
mitigate the immediate threat. 

 

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