Recent Water Damage Posts
Sump Pump Failure & Homeowner's Insurance
Imagine the potential damage to your home should your sump pump stop working for any reason; whether it be due to a power failure during a spring storm, or the simple mechanical failure of the pump itself. Without a functioning pump to pump the water out of your sump crock, and up out of your home, the crock will overflow into your basement, soaking your carpet and drywall if your basement is finished, and possibly destroying furniture, important documents and anything else you may have stored in your basement. And depending upon things like the water table and soil conditions in your area, the elevation of your home, and the amount of time the pump is out of order, the amount of water can be significant, causing havoc even in an unfinished basement.
Many people may assume that their homeowner’s insurance will cover this type of damage. But did you know that in most cases, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not provide coverage for water damage caused by sump pump failure. However, this type of coverage can be very affordable and can easily be added on to your standard homeowner’s policy in the form of what’s called an endorsement. When this type of endorsement is active, it provides for coverage of property damage caused by water that has managed to back up and into your home from pipes, sewer systems, drains, sump pumps, water-service, or any additional system that transfers fluids to and from your home. Now is a perfect time of the year to check with your insurance agent to see if you have this important coverage.
Sump Pumps: How they Work & Why they're Important
Did you know that water below ground can be a threat to your foundation? That’s where your sump pump comes in.
In-order to understand how a sump pump works and why it’s important, it’s helpful to first understand the home building process. After a hole is dug by an excavator for a basement, the next step is to put in foundation footings. Foundation footings in Kentucky are typically a poured cement slab, often reinforced with rebar. The footings are poured into the excavated trench essentially in an outline of the foundation walls. The footings provide a foundation upon which the cement bricks of the foundation will be laid, or upon which the cement walls of the foundation will be poured, depending on the type of basement wall construction used. The soil upon which these footings are poured needs to stay at a consistent moisture level to prevent settlement, heave, or differential movement. That’s where the sump pump and it’s supporting system comes into play.
A drain system is installed around the perimeter of the foundation/footings. This drain system is essentially a system of pipes (surrounded by crushed stone) with holes in the top that collect water that is heading towards the foundation walls. The water that is collected in these pipes is redirected into a sump crock in the basement, where a pump then pumps the water up and out of the basement. Proper installation and maintenance of this entire system is essential to keeping a basement dry and stable.
Hot Water Heater Leaks
Most of us rarely think about our hot water heaters until they either fail to give us hot water or they leak all over our basement and cause significant damage. But in fact, due to the nature of what they due, water heaters are prone to leaks and often cause significant damage to your basement, especially if your basement is finished. It's a much harder clean up if you have wet carpeting and drywall versus cement floor and walls.
Hot water heaters operate by bringing cold water into the tank at the bottom. This water is then heated using natural gas, propane, fuel oil or electricity. The hot water then rises to the top where it is released to wherever warm water is needed in your home, while more cold water comes back into the tank to replace it, and the cycle continues. This process results in various spots where water can leak.
- Whenever you have a plumbing connection or plumbing lines, you have the potential for a leak and there are several near your water heater
- Because water is being heated, water heaters have a temperature & pressure relief valve. These valves can be faulty and cause a leak, or they can leak due to excessive pressure, overheating, or becoming stuck
- Your water heater has a drain valve. This drain valve can fail to close completely and can cause leak.
- If you have an electric water heater, leaks can occur due to a loose heating element or a bad gasket
- The tank itself can corrode and water can leak out the bottom
To protect yourself from significant water damage from a leaky hot water heater, you can install an automatic water shut off valve. Moisture sensors are placed on the floor near or under the water heater. If a leak is detected, the sensors send a signal to the control box which in turn closes the valve, shutting off the water supply.
8 Common Causes of Water Damage
Having leaking or broken pipes is a major cause of water damage in residential and commercial buildings, making them one of the most common causes of water damage. Clogged and backed up toilets create a buildup of pressure in the pipes, which leads to the busting/leaking of these pipes. Another common problem that can develop is with garbage disposals. If a garbage disposal isn’t working correctly it is often due to leaks near the bottom of the unit and floods cabinets with a nasty concoction of food waste and water. Roots from trees and plants around your house can spread into sewer lines causing them to break. Lastly, keep an eye out for old and rusty pipes as they are most prone to leaking.
The good thing about potential plumbing problems is they can be prevented fairly easily with an occasional look over of pipes under your sink or in your basement. Although sometimes plumbing issues are nearly impossible to detect since some pipes are hidden behind walls. Normally these pipes cause trouble because of hoses and pipe joints that aren’t fully connected.
Crawl Space, Basement & Attic Concerns
Basements, attics, and crawl spaces are some of the most prone areas inside a house for water damage. This is in part due to the lack of temperature controls in these areas. Humidity levels in a basement can rise over the course of time with aging infrastructure and hydrostatic pressure buildup. When it comes to crawlspaces and attics, these areas foster dark and damp environments which are ideal for mold growth.
Malfunctioning Household Appliances
The two most common appliances that cause water damage in homes are washing machines and hot water tanks. Other appliances such as refrigerators, dish washers are also at risk of failure. Keep an eye on these old appliance’s pipes. With the heavy usage of these electronics their pipes can start to rust and crack faster than other pipes around your house.
HVAC stands for heating, ventilating, & air conditioning units. Specifically air conditioners, due to their use of constant water flow, require regular cleaning and maintenance. When left unkempt moisture can easily buildup leading to water and mold damage.
Weather or Natural Disasters
This is the trickiest cause to deal with. There is little predictability when it comes to natural disasters and weather related problems. Take note of your environment where you live and determine which severe weather conditions are most likely. Once you’ve identified the most concerning natural disasters in your area, take the necessary precautions to help prepare your home. The most notable, natural water disasters include flash floods, severe storms, and hurricanes. Don’t be reactionary, be anticipatory.
An often overlooked cause of water damage is gutters. Due to their presence being on the outside of the house and cleverly tucked around the home it becomes a problem of, out of sight, out of mind. During the summer and all throughout fall debris in the forms of branches and leaves star t to flutter around the air. As debris falls it can gather into drainage gutters and get caught, creating blockage. As rain comes it is no longer able to be filtered away from the side of the house. It begins to flood over the gutters and stream down the side of the house. Additionally, if your gutters have any cracks they may be rendered ineffective. As water flows through the gutters it’ll start to drizzle out of the crack and onto the building instead of down and away from it. This constant flow of water can lead to the deterioration of walls due to constant wetness. Even worse, buildup can form around the structure of the home, leading to water leaking into the home (such as the basement), resulting in constant leaks or mold.
If you have a home with a flat roof you are at a higher risk of experiencing water trouble on your roof. Most flat roofs are built with a minor incline to prevent rainfall from forming standing water on the roof. This slight incline allows the water to drain off the roof. Flat roof water trouble comes when debris, manmade and from nature, starts to accumulate on the roof. With enough weight this can cause enough pressure to the weakest points of the flat roof which can cause the roof to warp ever so slightly inward. Water will start to pool up on the roof at these warped areas. During the coldest times of the year water can start to freeze up near the drainage point of the flat roof. Ice dams start to form, preventing the drainage of water from the roof. If this goes on frequently and long enough water can start to damage the roof of your house and eve n create cracks which turn into leaks. These leaks cause moisture to seep into the ceiling of your house. The problem turns from standing water on your roof to water damage and mold damage on the roof and ceiling of your home.
Are You Prepared for Spring Flooding?
While spring brings the promise of warm weather and longer days, it also brings a variety of conditions that can include heavy rains and severe weather, which can increase your flood risk. During the rainy season, we are at high risk for flash flooding, which can occur rapidly within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.
As one of the most common hazards in the United States, it's important we prepare for the potential disaster that flooding can cause. Even if you are located in a low risk flood zone remember that anywhere it rains, it can flood. Just because you haven't experienced a flood in the past, doesn't mean you won't in the future.
In order to help prepare you for the possibility of a flood, I offer the following tips:
- Build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan
- Elevate the furnace, water heater and electric panel in your home if you live in an area that has a high flood risk
- Install check-valves to prevent flood water from backing up into the drains of your facility
- Seal basement walls and floors with waterproofing compounds to prevent seepage through cracks
- Always keep your gutters and downspouts clean to allow water to flow freely
- Prepare a flood evacuation plan
- Know how to safely shut-off utilities
- Keep insurance and vital records in a water-proof box
- Have a portable radio to listen for important current information
The Dangers of Secondary Water Damage After a Flood
Water loss restoration in progress.
If your business experiences flooding, whether from a burst pipe, overflowing sewer or an extreme weather event, you may think only areas that are underwater will be damaged. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The flood water in your building can do a lot of primary damage, but the high humidity conditions inside your business caused by the evaporation of flood water can lead to serious secondary damage, such as the growth of black mold. Hiring a professional trained in water damage restoration at SERVPRO can ensure that the water is extracted and your building thoroughly dried before more damage can be done.
Why Does Secondary Damage Occur?
When a building floods, the large amount of water begins to evaporate, creating high humidity conditions. This atmospheric moisture can saturate walls, cabinets and shelves and condense on metal surfaces. The longer these moist conditions persist, the more damage they can do.
What Are the Consequences of Secondary Damage?
Prolonged exposure to damp conditions can cause serious deterioration of many building materials:
• Drywall crumbles.
• Plaster can crack and crumble.
• Plywood and wood swells, warps and cracks.
• Metal begins to rust.
• Black mold grows on virtually any moist surface.
If flood water is not extracted in a timely fashion, these secondary effects can impact structural beams and concrete, weakening your building’s structure and threatening your place of business.
What Can You Do About It?
Don’t wait to take action. As soon as conditions are safe, contact an experienced water damage restoration professional at SERVPRO to assess the situation and formulate a plan. The more quickly water is extracted from the premises, the lower restoration costs will be in the long run. Once pumps and vacuums have been employed to remove excess water, specialized industrial air movers and dehumidifiers will ensure there’s no lingering moisture to deteriorate materials or foster black mold growth.
SERVPRO of Hardin and Larue Counties 24 Hour Emergency Water Damage Service
The effects of water damage.
SERVPRO of Hardin and Larue Counties is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (270) 360-0448
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Hardin and Larue Counties has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
After this, the worry is out of your hands. Our SERVPRO professionals will be right out to assess the damage and make it like it never even happened.
Maintaining Home Value After Water Damage
Your home is one of the biggest investments of your lifetime. It is where you rest, play, spend time with family, it is your own retreat away from the hustle and bustle from the busy world. Protecting your home is the first step in valuing it for the importance piece of your life that it is. Prevention and repair are key to maintaining a home that will retain its worth and continue to be a haven for you and your family. That means that if any damage occurs in your home, it is crucial to address it immediately in order to conserve the value.
As a homeowner, it is of the utmost importance that damage of any form, water, fire, mold, or storm be made a top priority. Even if it appears that there is only a small amount of damage, the reality is that damage only gets worse as time goes on. Taking action and having the area inspected as quickly as possible usually results in a much simpler and more cost friendly repair than if the damage has time to grow. Repairing damage quickly also guarantees that the cost value of your home is not negatively effective and can still remain a positive investment in your life and your wallet.
When damage occurs, the first thing to do is call SERVPRO and get in touch with a 24-7 technician. SERVPRO is available all day, every day to assure that no damage goes unrepaired. Help will be on the way as soon as your call is placed and a highly trained specialist will be on the scene ready to begin the inspection process. Everything from water removal, and carpet cleaning to television repair falls under the SERVPRO cleanup and restoration umbrella and is executed by the best in the industry.
Here are just a few reasons why calling SERVPRO to repair damage immediately is so beneficial to the overall value of your home and property:
Selling Your Home in the Future
If you plan on selling your home at any point, you definitely want to get the most out of your sale. It is not possible to sell a home for the same amount or more of the purchase price if damage of any kind has occurred and was not addressed properly.
It is required that the fact any water or fire damage occurred to the home or property be disclosed before the purchase of your home is made. So if the damage was not repaired properly, it will definitely be noticed. On top of that, homes must pass inspection before the purchase is made as well. If the repaired damage does not pass the inspection, that could mean your home may not sell for the price it is listed as.
Refinancing Your Home Down the Road
When refinancing your home, it must be inspected and reported on by an appraiser. If any damage has occurred and not dealt with, your home will lose dollar value and be considered less valuable than the original price you bought it for. The whole point of refinancing is to end up spending less money on your home and that simply is not possible if damage occurs and is noticed.
Damage Only Gets Worse if Not Treated
They say everything gets better with time, but that is not the case for homes if they are not maintained. When damage occurs, it only gets stronger with time. Call SERVPRO immediately so that the damage does not increase and end up burning a hole in your pocket. SERVPRO not only helps with damage of the actual home, but also helps care for your belongings. That means that your home can quickly be restored with attention to detail of everything within the damaged area.
When big money is spent on something so important as a home for you and your family, it is absolutely worth it to respect the large investment and maintain the quality of the purchase. Repairing water, fire, or storm damage immediately with the help of SERVPRO gives you peace of mind that your home will not lose its value and continue to be the investment of a lifetime.
What You Should Know About Water Damage
Water damage can be a very difficult situation for any homeowner. But there are certain tips that can help save you time and money. There are also things you shouldn’t do as it can make the situation worse. Here are some tips to guide you in dealing with water damage in your home.
Do not open the windows
It may seem like instinct to immediately open up any and all windows when you first discover unexpected moisture, but that could actually make matters worse. You want to avoid any excess heat and humidity in order to not complicate the drying process. Instead, call SERVPRO immediately so that the moisture can be examined and removed right away. It is also wise to pull any wet materials or furniture away from the water so that they do not become damaged. Keeping the windows closed will allow the air system to run as it usually does and maintain a stable environment for proper drying.
Your insurance company needs to know right away
When water damage occurs, the best method of defense is calling SERVPRO immediately to schedule an inspection and begin the treatment process. It is also extremely important that the next phone call you make is to your insurance company to get more information on if and what they will cover. Your insurance agent can guide you through the process and help protect your property from further damage. This is important information that can impact the value of your property if it is not addressed immediately and correctly.
Not all water damage is covered by insurance
There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage, so not all water damage is created equal. These are things your insurance agent will have questions about and need as much information as possible in order to report a claim. Make sure to specify where the water came from and how much there is so that your insurance company can work with you to handle the situation the best way possible. Most policies cover things like sudden damage such as an overflowing washing machine or a storm, but situations caused by neglect or carelessness are not typically covered by insurance. It is also important to know if you have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy so that your insurance company can adjust your claim appropriately.
Where the water came from matters
Not only does where the water came from matter for repairs, it matters because the water may be polluted. Water alone can be extremely damaging if it is not dealt with immediately, and if there are any chemicals or bacteria in it can speed up the damaging process and even cause illness. There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time that water is exposed to an area and the time that mold begins to grow. Mold multiplies quickly and can be extremely dangerous to the health of anyone around it so it is vital that it does not have the opportunity to spread within the water.
Standing water breeds bacteria so that means that any contamination the water touches is spreading germs and can worsen the contamination of your property the longer it is there. The worse the contamination becomes, the more extensive the cleaning process becomes. It is important to address the situation immediately so the water does not breed any bacteria and is removed before further damage occurs.
What not to do
Beyond keeping windows shut and calling SERVPRO and your insurance company, there are several other things you should not do in the case of water damage. Do not leave wet fabrics in the standing water or they will be ruined. Also, do not leave any books or magazines on wet carpets or floors. Avoid turning on any televisions or household appliances that may have been exposed to the standing water as a safety precaution. No matter how tempting it may be, leave the water removal process to the professionals and do not use your household vacuum to remove the water yourself.
SERVPRO can remove water and prevent damage
When unwanted moisture accumulates, the highly trained technicians at SERVPRO use advanced water damage inspection and extraction equipment to find and remove it as quickly as possible. The water damage experts will monitor and document the drying process so that you know your property is back to normal. SERVPRO is a trusted leader in the water restoration industry and is able to take on water damage incidents of all types, including storm damage, mold remediation, sewage cleanup, and commercial water damage.
Common Issues with Gutters
When water gets into the foundation of your home, it has the potential to cause structural issues to the home. The result of a wet foundation can also be windows and doors sticking to their frames. Gutters are installed on houses and connected to downspouts precisely to avoid this problem. These systems are essential in protecting the structure and integrity of your home. But, in order for these systems to work, you will need to ensure that these systems are free from clogs, holes, and sags.
The most common problem that tends to occur with gutters are clogs caused by debris. The additional weight that is caused due to the accumulation of leaves, twigs, and standing water will cause the gutters to sag and pull away from the house. To avoid such a situation, you should clean your gutters at least once each year, twice if you have trees hanging over your gutters. Once the gutters are free of debris, you should use a hose to spray the gutters to make sure that the water is flowing as it should. Another option to consider are gutter covers. These cover the gutters from above featuring mesh screens, clip-on grates, and porous foam but still require regular maintenance.
Sagging Gutters That Pull Away from the House
If your gutters are sagging or starting to pull away from the house, the problem more than likely has to do with the hangers. The gutter hangers are the metal pieces of the system that secure the gutters to the fascia. They are easily noticeable as they stretch across the inside of the gutter. Over time, normal wear and tear may have caused these hangers to deteriorate. Other issues with the hangers may be that the fasteners may be detaching from the wood or that they are spaced too far apart so that they can no longer support the full weight of the gutters.
Damage to the Gutters
If your gutters have suffered damage, they may be leaking or have holes in them. If the issue is a leaky gutter joint, the issue can be solved by sealing the joint with caulking from the inside with gutter sealant. Likewise, any holes that are very small should be able to be sealed with gutter sealant. Big holes, however, will require a patch to be fixed.
Poorly Sloped Gutters
A common problem with gutters are that the gutters are not sloped down toward the downspouts. This means that the water cannot flow freely to the downspouts and down to the ground. To ensure that your gutters are properly sloped, you should have at least a quarter inch slope for every ten feet. If you have a rainstorm and there is standing water in your gutters following the storm without clogged gutters being an issue, your gutters are not sloped correctly. The proper course of action is to ensure that the gutters are sloped correctly to the downspout to ensure that the water can properly flow down to the ground and away from the house.
Water Draining Toward Foundation
For the downspouts to be effective, they should extend several feet away from the house. If the downspouts are located too close to the house, water can collect at the foundation. If the water drains into the foundation, serious issues to the home such as structural problems or windows and doors sticking to their frames could be caused. If your downspouts are draining too close to the foundation, consider installing gutter extensions to the bottom of the downspouts. This will ensure that the water drains away from the house far enough that it doesn’t cause any damage to the foundation of the home.
Gutters are an essential part of keeping water damage from effecting your home. When rainwater collects in the gutters or runs off the roof, the gutters drain the water into the downspouts which flow the water far away from the home and its foundation. Issues such as clogged gutters or sagging gutters could cause water to build up and damage the gutters. If the downspouts do not direct the water far enough from the home, it could infiltrate the foundation causing serious and expensive damage to the home. If you suffer from water damage in your home, call on the professionals at SERVPRO.
What to do until SERVPRO arrives!
If you have a water damage from a clean source such as water supply lines, sink or tub overflows, flooding, or appliance malfunctions, here are some things to do before SERVPRO arrives.
Shut off the source of the water.
Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building if the access panel is safe from electrical shock.
Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting
Wipe excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items
Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting
Move to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors
- Hang draperies with coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors
Moisture Detection Equipment
There are several devices that SERVPRO of Hardin and Larue Counties uses when inspecting your home or business for the scope of damage. Scoping involves locating the areas of the structure into which water has intruded and defining the extent to which the structure and contents have absorbed moisture. Moisture detection devices are also used to verify an environment has been dried thoroughly.
Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets and carpet padding.
Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materias. The moisture tester provides accurate moisture readings that enable the SERVPRO Professional to monitor the drying process.
Thermo-hygrometers measure both temperature and relative humidity. Capturing these two readings, a SERVPRO professional using a psychrometric chart can calculate specific humidity, dew point and vapor pressure.
Infrared Cameras can identify the location and extent of moisture in walls very effectively.
Manometers all a SERVPRO professional to measure the difference in air pressure when creating a negative air pressure environment.
How much equipment is enough?
"Faster to any size disaster"
Do you ever wonder how we know how much equipment is needed to dry your home properly?
We use Psychrometrics which is the study of the air, and its properties. The properties of temperature, humidity, vapor pressure and dew point are measured to evaluate air conditions in the structure, enabling a SERVPRO Professional to create the proper atmosphere for more efficient drying.
Water can damage materials in two ways. First, materials absorb water through direct contact. Second, materials absorb water from the air. Measuring the moisture content of the air is critical to the drying process.
Restoration professionals must establish an environment favorable for drying. The restoration professional must also understand how to manipulate temperature and humidity levels to produce optimum drying conditions without causing secondary damages through improper drying processes.
Protect your belongings from further damage during a water loss.
If this happens to you call your local SERVPRO (270)360-0448
Water damage can be devastating, however you’re local SERVPRO is a Franchise company with over 40 years of leadership in cleanup and restoration. Our track record of results has earned us the trust of the insurance industry, countless homeowners, and in one unforgettable instance, even the Pentagon. Listed below are a few tips for homeowners to protect their belongings before SERVPRO Professionals arrive.
Emergency Water Damage Tips for the Insured (these tips are for clean water situations only)
Shut off the water source if possible.
Remove excess water by moping and blotting.
Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying.
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks under furniture legs.
Hang furs and leather goods separately at room temperature.
Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet carpeting.
Do not use a regular vacuum to remove water.
Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Do not leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpeting.
The Dangers of Flooding are Real!
With all of the snow and rain that we have had lately, the ground is definitely saturated. The hazard of basements flooding is high when the ground is saturated, especially with the potential of more rain moving into the area. If your home happens to flood with water remember there are risks associated with the flooding. The water is most likely contaminated with... a ton of bacteria and there is always the risk of electrical damage as well. We would recommend not going into the water if at all possible and to turn off the breaker to all of the electrical outlets in the flooded area. Leave it to the professionals to remove the water and restore your home. Call SERVPRO of Hardin and Larue Counties at
(270)360-0448 or contact Christy Gordon at (270)300-1544 and we will have a crew at your home within hours to make it "Like it never even happened". We are here to assist you 24/7