Black Water Contamination and Risks
Heavy rains can lead to mold growth and other long-term problems
Black Water Contamination and Risks
Water damage accounts for the second most common type of property insurance claims. Just about every property owner has dealt with water damages in one form or another and because of this, many property owners feel qualified to deal with the cleanup on their own. However, the amount of dirt and contamination in the water could be trouble.
- Category 1: Clean water usually comes straight from clean pipes and plumbing fixtures. Any contaminants in this water were picked up after flood water left the pipes.
- Category 2: Gray water may contain urine, soapy water, and other dirt. It may come from sump pumps or the toilet.
- Category 3: Black water causes the most dangerous types of damage because it may carry sewage, human waste, bacteria, and chemicals. It may come from sewage backups or flooding caused by heavy storms.
While category 1 water damage is often handled by property owners, anything else should be turned over to water damage cleanup and remediation professionals.
Why can't you handle black water damage on your own? One of the most important reasons is the lack of preparation and training. Most property owners don't have access to the appropriate equipment and cleaning supplies to prevent contaminants from spreading. Black water can't just be dumped back into the municipal water supply. Technicians are prepared to deal with the contaminated fluids appropriately.
Health and Safety
Another reason you shouldn't handle Category 3 flood water is the potential for health risks. Physical contact with the substances in the water could cause sickness and other problems. You and the occupants in the building should stay as far away as possible.
Black water damage, whether from a toilet overflow or heavy rains, can lead to mold growth and other long-term problems. Professionals know how to pinpoint high-risk areas in your building and will treat the property to prevent this type of trouble.
It's vital that contaminated flood water is dealt with appropriately. This usually means turning the cleanup efforts over to professionals. Don't take risks with the well-being of your Coconut Creek, FL, property.
Tips and Tricks To Identify the 3 Primary Leaks for Showers and Baths
Recognizing that you have a shower or bathtub leak is easy, but understanding the exact source and how to repair it may be a challenge. Here is a cheat sheet to help you with some tips and tricks to pinpoint your leak in Pompano Beach, FL.
3 Kinds of Shower Leaks
You may have noticed your bathtub leak by seeing wet floorboards or a stained ceiling directly under the bathroom. A combination of simple tests and inspection can help determine what kind of leak you have.
1. Tiles. Clues that your tiles are leaking include noticeable grout problems, like crumbling, broken pieces and mold growth.
2. Splash. Your shower door may need some maintenance. Look for clues like water on the floor, or soaked walls and baseboards just outside the shower area. Test for this by splashing the shower door with some water and watch to see if it flows outside the door.
3. Drain. A shower pan leak or bathtub drain leak will probably cause a lot more damage than a splash leak. You may notice a wet ceiling in the room or crawlspace below. You can test for a drain pan leak by getting a reliable test plug from the hardware store. Plug the drain and fill the basin with water. Note the water level and check it after an hour to see if there has been any water loss. If there has, then you probably have a crack in the seal around your drain or in the drain pan.
Now you know how to identify the source of a shower or bathtub leak. Hopefully, it’s simple to resolve, like replacing a shower door or fresh caulk. If the leak has existed for a while and you have a water damaged ceiling, floor or baseboards, then contact a water damage specialist to make sure the repairs are done properly and mold is cleaned correctly.
How To Know When Mold Growth Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance
It can be tricky to determine whether the mold is covered by your homeowner's insurance policy. If you have discovered fungus growth in your home, it is unlikely to be covered by your insurance, unless it was caused by something that your policy already covers.
When Is Mold Covered by Insurance?
Many insurance companies do not offer mold coverage in their homeowner's policies. However, there are certain cases in which your policy may include mold-related repairs. Essentially, if mold forms as the result of sudden or accidental water damage, it is likely to be included in your policy. Specifically, you may qualify if it is determined that mold was caused by one of the following incidents:
• Frozen or burst pipes
• Broken appliances
• Backed-up water from snow or ice
When Is Mold Not Covered by Insurance?
In most cases, fungus growth will not be included in your insurance policy. If mold forms as a result of negligence or your failure to properly take care of your home, it will not be covered. You should be sure to monitor any areas that are in frequent contact with water in order to prevent mold growth. Mold caused by a flood will likely not be included in your policy, so you will need separate flood insurance to cover the damage.
What Are the Exceptions?
Like with most things, there are exceptions to the rule. You may be able to include mold insurance in your policy for an additional price. Some insurance policies might include limited coverage for mold growth. You likely won’t receive the full amount needed to repair the damage, but even a little money can help.
If you discover mold or fungus growth in your home in Pompano Beach, FL, determining the cause can help you figure out whether it will be covered by your insurance. Hiring a mold remediation specialist or insurance adjuster can be useful, as well.
3 Ways To Limit Bathroom Leak Damage
Bathroom ventilation can maintain low moisture levels
Three Ways to Limit Bath and Shower Components
A full bathroom contains several fixtures that depend on water in order to function. This room is a prime location for water damage involving clean Category One water or contaminated Category Two or Category Three water. Here are three ways to limit damage caused by improper sealing, faulty bath and shower components or a leaking toilet.
1. Determine the Source
The first indication of a leak may involve a spray from a supply line or water seeping out from around the base of a toilet. If a shower pan or drain is leaking, signs of damage may become evident on the ceiling below a bath that is situated on the second floor or higher, or in a basement or crawlspace under a first-floor bathroom.
2. Eliminate Contamination
A broken supply line can saturate building materials and contents with clean, treated water. Quick drying is usually sufficient for this type of damage. Any materials exposed to Category Two gray water, which may contain chemicals or microbes, should be cleaned and disinfected.
This is also the case for Category Three black water, which is highly contaminated and may contain solid waste. Porous materials may need to be torn out and disposed of. Try to stop the spread of contaminated water from a leaking toilet.
3. Ventilate and Dry
Bathroom ventilation can maintain low moisture levels and prevent the growth of mildew or mold. You should also thoroughly dry a bathroom that has sustained water damage. Mitigation experts may recommend the use of air movers, fans or dehumidifiers.
These measures can minimize the severity of damage caused by a leaking toilet or almost any type of bathroom leak. After water damage occurs in the bathroom or any other part of your home in Wellington, FL, you should take immediate action to either promote drying or clean, disinfect and then dry the affected area.
3 Places To Look For Mold
Knowing where to look for mold growth may help you find it so that you can take care of the problem quickly.
If you're worried about mold growth in your Pompano Beach, FL home, then there are a few places you may want to check. While mold is preventable, it does enjoy areas of warmth and humidity. This means that if you suspect there may be growth in your home, knowing where the most likely habitat is may help you find and eradicate the problem quickly.
The basement can be a prime mold habitat, as it’s one place that can easily accumulate water. Water can leak in through cracks or window wells and puddle on the floor or soak into organic material. You may find mold on wood framing, floorboards, furniture, or carpeting in this area. Many experts recommend having a sump pump in a basement if you believe water accumulation may be a problem.
The bathroom is another place where you may find mold growth. The nature of baths and showers make this room humid a large proportion of the time. There are also many crannies where spores can potentially settle. It's a good idea to run your fan any time you're also running hot water, as this can help reduce the level of humidity in the room.
The attic is another place where you may find spores. If a storm has damaged the roof, there may be places where water can seep in. You might see signs such as moldy drywall, peeling paint, damp insulation, or discoloration in the wood. If you believe you have storm damage or mold, it's best to contact a damage and remediation professional as soon as possible. A professional can also perform any necessary tests to confirm if mold does or does not exist in your home.
Knowing where to look for mold growth may help you find it so that you can take care of the problem quickly. Try looking in warm places with high humidity, such as a basement, a bathroom, or an attic. If you believe you may have mold in your home but can't see it, a remediation professional has several tests they can perform.
Will an Emergency Board Up Prevent Further Damage?
Board up after fire damage in a residence in Wellington, FL
A mitigation service may recommend a board up after fire damages a residence in Wellington, FL. Boarding up can be helpful if it will take time before the structure can be cleaned and rebuilt. An emergency board up involves affixing plywood to cover breaches in a structure. Broken windows or damaged walls are of primary concern, and wood may be used alongside tarps to protect a damaged roof. Here are several ways that boarding up can limit damage.
Keep Out Moisture and Debris
Boards can keep out external contaminants that could heighten the risk of secondary damage. Covering a breach can keep out the following sources of contamination or debris:
- Tree branches and leaves
A homeowner should arrange for boarding up to take place as soon as possible. Timely mitigation can prevent damage from becoming more extensive or severe prior to cleanup and restoration.
Prove Mitigation Efforts to Insurers
Insurance companies require policyholders to do everything they can to limit damage, such as a board up and other mitigation measures. It is important to document the damage in photos or videos before taking any steps to limit or lessen the damage.
Limit Trespassing and Unauthorized Access
Trespassing is a major risk at a damaged structure. Foot traffic grinds soot into flooring and other building materials. Trespassers may also strip valuable components, such as metals, from a structure. Boarding up can help to limit losses.
An emergency board up will be most effective if it takes place as quickly as possible after flames have been extinguished. While a residence may be filled with contaminated water from fire suppression efforts, additional water and debris may otherwise enter and cause conditions to further degrade. When a homeowner needs to board up a damaged residence in Wellington, FL, he or she can rely on a one-stop shop for fire damage mitigation and restoration services.
5 Facts About Mold Remediation
Mold Damage in Pompano Beach, FL.
When you own commercial property in Pompano Beach, FL, there are a few basic things you need to know to keep you building safe and in good working order. Understanding how mold growth happens is a vital part of managing your property well. Here are a few facts that every building owner needs to understand about the dreaded fungus.
1. You cannot remove all mold from your building. Mold spores travel inside every time the door opens. It attaches to shoes, clothes, bags and hair. It doesn't necessarily become a problem until it starts to form patches.
2. You may smell mold before you can see it. When mold begins to collect on surfaces, it gives off a musty odor. Even if it's hidden under carpet or in air ducts, you may know it's there because of the smell.
3. Mold needs moisture to thrive. Mold growth can happen anywhere there is excess moisture in your building. Spores from the air land and start to form fuzzy patches.
4. Humidity can trigger a mold problem. Even moisture in the air can lead to a mold problem. The indoor humidity should stay below 50% at all times in order to deter growth. Keep high humidity at bay by using dehumidifiers and keeping your building well ventilated.
5. Mold can start growing on damp materials in as little as a day. Water damage specialists respond quickly to calls for repair because they know that even the smallest delay could lead to secondary damage such as mold. The faster they repair the damage caused by flooding, the less likely a mold problem is to develop.
Good management of your commercial property entails knowing all the problems that could befall it. Knowing how to recognize and even prevent mold damage can help you keep your building in good shape and help you train employees or tenants on how to assist in the preventative maintenance process.
Call SERVPRO of Pompano Beach for your mold damage remediation needs today.
3 Key Storm Preparation Responsibilities for Property Managers
A strong emergency plan includes an evacuation plan
Commercial property owners and managers in Pompano Beach, FL, have many responsibilities that intersect. One of those responsibilities is storm preparedness. In order to ensure the safety of tenants and protect the building from extensive storm damage, owners and managers should work together to focus on three vital steps.
Knowing what you are going to do before bad weather strikes can help keep everyone calm and safe during the storm. A strong emergency plan includes:
- Shelter and evacuation plans
- Emergency contact list, including insurance and storm cleanup professionals
- Reliable communication system
- Division of responsibilities
- Backup of vital records, stored remotely
Once a plan is made, it must be practiced and perfected. That way, when a storm does hit, employees can move through the plan like clockwork.
When the weather service indicates that a devastating storm is on its way, the property manager should complete a walkthrough of the property as part of the storm preparedness plan. Loose limbs or branches on trees should be trimmed. All outdoor furniture should be secured. Items that are small enough should be taken inside.
Once the storm has passed, property management should complete another walkthrough to document all wind and flood damage that the storm left in its wake. Pictures and video of the damage can be helpful to assist in filing the claim with the insurance company. An assessment from flood cleanup professionals should be arranged so that you can get an estimate of how much the restoration process is going to cost. Remember to communicate consistently with tenants to keep them informed about the status of the property and the timeline for returning.
Property managers have quite a few storm preparedness responsibilities. Planning ahead is key to making sure that everyone makes it through the storm safely and that the property is still standing after the storm passes.
3 Ways to Prepare Your Home for a Flood
If your Pompano Beach, FL home is located in an area that experiences a lot of flooding, then you likely need to take extra precautions to keep your family and property safe during severe weather. Here are a few ways that you can do that.
1. Maintain Your Home to Prevent Water Build-Up
In order to minimize storm damage to your home, you should be sure to perform proper maintenance, even when you are not expecting bad weather. To prevent moisture from building inside the walls, perform regular inspections of your home’s exterior to check for gaps or cracks. You should also make sure that all of your windows’ seals are working properly. Don’t forget to clean out your storm drains and gutters as well, since clogged ones can cause water to back up and leak into your home.
2. Protect Your Property and Belongings
If you know that you may have flood damage, you can prepare by protecting your belongings. A waterproof safe is a great option for any important documents. You can store smaller items in waterproof and air-tight containers while moving whatever you can to a higher location, like a shelf or a second floor. If you can move your furniture, you may want to do that as well. Covering it with plastic can reduce damage.
3. Have an Evacuation Plan
While your home is important, your family is more so. If the flooding becomes an emergency, you should be ready to move to a safer area. Create a plan for how you will leave the house and where you will go. To make sure that everyone is prepared, it might be a good idea to practice beforehand.
Being prepared for flooding can help you protect what’s important, but you will likely not be able to save everything. If your home or belongings are damaged, a water damage remediation service can help restore your house and any items that are not beyond repair.
Common Water Damages Covered Under Commercial Policies
Damaged pipes are not always covered under commercial insurance policies, but certain situations are.
Most business owners understand that water damage that occurred as a result of neglect will not be covered under their business policies. Therefore, if damaged pipes have been left unchecked and without inspection for years, then any subsequent damage will likely not be covered. However, if the disaster is sudden, then a policy may cover it, especially under specific instances.
1. Sudden Breaks
While leaking pipes may not be covered, sudden breaks most likely are. These breaks happen despite the business owner performing routine inspections and maintenance. These failures are considered not foreseeable, meaning that despite the preventative and proactive steps taken by the property owner, the disaster happened anyway. This type of accident is likely covered under your policy.
2. Fire Suppressant System Leaks
While insurers do not always cover damaged pipes, fire suppressant system leaks often are. The life-saving nature of these systems is likely why insurers are willing to provide coverage, especially since these devices help to protect the facility from a further loss in the event of a fire.
3. Damage to Protective Systems
In addition to leaks, your insurer will likely cover damage to protective systems as well. This means that if the sprinkler heads are damaged or the pipes corroded, your insurer will probably cover the costs associated with the repair. By including these minor expenses, insurers can prevent further loss through system malfunctions and flooding.
4. Tear Out and Repair
The insurance company will often cover the cost of tear out and repair. Due to the design of plumbing systems, most pipes are located behind walls and inside ceilings. Therefore, while your policy may not cover a leaky pipe, it may cover the cost of hiring a disaster restoration specialist in the Pompano Beach, FL area to tear out the wall and repair it.
Damaged pipes are not always covered under commercial insurance policies, but certain situations are. Sudden breaks and damaged fire sprinklers are likely covered under every commercial plan, and while leaks may not be, the tear out and repair work probably is.