Water Disaster Cleanup FAQ

Here are answers to a few of the most urgent questions that come up when you find yourself dealing with a water disaster cleanup.

Few things are as overwhelming as water damage in your home or business. It’s costly, and it completely disrupts your life. Every minute counts to salvage as many of your important items as possible. Then comes the drawn-out process of cleanup.

What steps do you need to take to ensure the best outcome? How can you minimize the damage? How long will it take to get things back to normal? We understand how stressful water disaster cleanup is, so we’ve created this FAQ section to guide you through the process. Here are some of the questions we get asked the most regarding water disaster cleanup.

How long will it take to dry?

Once the excess water has been removed, most surfaces will dry within a few hours with proper ventilation.

Carpet typically takes longer. If you use industrial drying fans intended for carpet or can lift the carpet, it can be mostly dry in as little as 24 hours. It may take as much as five times longer if you’ve had a major water disaster or you don’t have access to proper equipment.

How can I prevent mold after water exposure?

The best way to prevent mold after a water disaster is to dry surfaces as soon as possible. Wood, drywall, and carpet are all susceptible to mold. It only takes mold colonies 24 to 48 hours to get a foothold.

  • If it’s less humid outside the building, open your windows.
  • Remove all furniture, other items, and debris from the wet area.
  • Treat surfaces with disinfectant.
  • Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air.
  • For carpet, use an extractor to speed up the drying process.

It can be challenging to get rid of mold once it’s present. It may be better to replace drywall, plaster, and carpet than to fight the mold and mildew.

How do I know if I have mold?

  • Mold usually produces a damp, musty smell.
  • You may see black or gray spots on surfaces and clothing, though these areas may not be visible.
  • Allergies and asthma tend to activate in the presence of mold.
  • Warped wood or walls indicate the presence of moisture, which is often accompanied by mold.
  • You can buy a home mold test kit or have a professional come and test your home. 

Can I save my carpet?

Usually, carpet can be saved after a water incident if it is dried or mostly dried before mold sets in. This usually happens within 24 to 48 hours. To do this, you’ll need to use an extractor and/or vacuum that can handle water. Pull it up if possible. Use fans and open windows to circulate air. Using a dehumidifier will also help.

When a carpet sustains level 3 black water contamination over a modestly sized area, the EPA recommends replacing the carpet rather than trying to clean it. This is because carpets are porous, making it impossible to verify that they are thoroughly sanitized after contamination.

Do Enzymatic cleaners work?

In most cases, enzymatic cleaners do a great job when used according to manufacturer instructions. Enzymatic cleaners use enzymes to break down organic waste particles to small enough sizes for non-harmful bacteria to consume them. They effectively deal with biological contaminants in a water damage situation without harsh chemicals.

However, there is a scenario where even enzymatic cleaners may not be enough for confirmed sanitization. This occurs when the carpet is exposed for a significant amount of time to an outside source of water where biological contaminants are likely to be introduced. It’s impossible to get 100% confirmation that all harmful bacteria are killed. In these cases, the carpet may need to be replaced.

How much will this cost?

So many factors go into this, so it’s challenging even to give a reliable estimate. Initial water disaster cleanup tends to average between $1,000 and $5,000. If restoration requires digging up and repairing pipes, that will add to the overall cost. 

The value of furniture, floors, and other items damaged by water is impossible to estimate until you can take inventory and assess the damage.

Am I liable for the damage?

This depends on a few factors. Was the source of the water backup on your property, someone else’s, or municipality property? Was it due to your own negligence? It may be difficult to answer this question until an adjuster comes to survey the situation and makes a judgment. 

Sometimes, your insurance company, neighbors’ insurance, and the city won’t agree on liability, which will need to be resolved before responsibility is determined. The liability may include not only damage on your property but your neighbors’ property as well.

How much will insurance cover?

Again, this may depend on the source of the water. Most homeowners’ insurance policies will cover it if it’s due to a backed-up or burst pipe. Insurance will generally cover damage from abrupt, accidental breaks, but not if the damage comes from the owner failing to maintain pipes or appliances properly.

If the damage comes from rising surface water outside pipes, flood insurance will likely only cover this. 

Once you determine the type of coverage, look at the deductible on your policy? If you have a $1000 deductible, expect to be paying at least that much. Coverage limits may also come into effect if the damage is extensive. Check your policy to find out precisely what you’ll be responsible for.

Let Western Disaster Cleanup Help

After flooding, there are certain aspects of recovery that can’t be outsourced. For areas that can be outsourced, we’re here to help minimize the damage and allow you to get back to everyday life as quickly as possible. 

Contact us when you need water disaster cleanup services. We’ll get there quickly and thoroughly complete the job to keep your business and family safe.

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Ryan

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