When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home regardless of the cause, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.
What do I do now?
What’s going to happen?
Is my stuff ruined?
And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?
There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.
1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you may already have a separate policy for flooding. If you don't have flood insurance, flooding caused by ground water usually is not covered under your homeowner policy. When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.
2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.
3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.
When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.
There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold can begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of a professional mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.
To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many like us, have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.
4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.
Your insurance company may also direct you to a water damage restoration company that they have worked with in the past. Keep in mind that you do not have to call the company that they recommend. You may choose any reputable restoration specialist to restore your property for the insurance claim. We are on numerous major insurance companies vendor lists.
5. The pollution level of the water is important.
Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.
Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.
Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,
Category 3: Water that is highly contaminated. Contact can cause severe illness or death. Think sewage backup, an overflowing toilet, or storm waters.
Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.
More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.
Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.
Our company has been doing water restoration for over 20 years. We can help answer any questions you may have and help navigate the insurance claim procedure.
This question comes up quite often when we ask our clients if they’d like us to apply a carpet protector after our cleaning. However, when the same question is asked after we clean tile, it seems to be assumed that the grout gets sealed after it gets cleaned. There is less hesitation and doubt. The reason for this, in my opinion, is that when tile gets newly installed it always gets sealed after its installation. Contrast this to carpet, which just gets installed. Most people are not aware of the fact that carpet already has the protector (sealer) applied when the carpet is made at the carpet mill.
The quick answer to the original question; “Do carpet protectors work and am I being ripped-off when I’m sold Scotchguard?” is yes, they do work and no you are not being ripped off when you’re being sold Scotchguard. However these answers come with one big warning: Do you trust the individual who is selling it to you?
Do you trust the individual who is selling it to you? Although carpet protecting products do work (more on that a little later) it is virtually impossible for you as a consumer to determine that on the spot. It in big part is a trust issue. Do you trust the company or individual who is selling and applying the product? Think about it. The product that will be applied to your carpet after its cleaning is a clear liquid, virtually indistinguishable from plain water.
How do I know what is being applied to my carpet?Who is to say the actual product that is being applied is the real deal and not just plain water. You, as a consumer, won’t know if the product applied will do its job of repelling soil and giving you a longer lasting clean until weeks or even months later. In reality you won’t know what is being applied. You ultimately have to put your trust in the company that is performing the work for you to being honest, reputable and trustworthy.
How do carpet protecting products work?When you think about it, carpet is an amazing product in the sense of its wear and stain resistance. What fabric that you can think of could withstand years and years of foot traffic, food and drink spills and numerous other abuses inflicted onto it and still come out looking like new after a thorough, professional cleaning? A big part of that being the case is the carpet protector products being applied to carpet fibers in the manufacturing process.
Scotchguard, Teflon, GreenGuard and many moreAlmost all carpets that are made today will have some type of product applied to it to give it better stain resistance. The famous brand names are Scotchguard and Teflon, which are both fluorochemical based. Then there are also some greener alternatives such as GreenGuard, which is an encapsulant. Although the specific reason why one product might perform better in repelling oily staining substances versus another being able to repel water based stains better is outside the scope of this article (I haven’t earned my chemistry PHD yet), suffice to say that all are designed to repel soiling and staining substances. This is not to say that it makes carpet bullet proof. Far from it. However it does give you, the homeowner who faces a carpet calamity, a fighting chance to clean-up most spills that can happen in everyday living on top of a carpet.
What benefits do I get from re-applying the carpet protector?Say you bought your carpet about two years ago and you’ve had your fair amount of spills. You were successful in getting them cleaned-up, however your carpet is showing some traffic areas and some of your spot clean-up areas have re-soiled. It’s time to call a professional to get your carpet thoroughly cleaned. The good news for the professional is that most carpet have carpet protector on their fiber which makes them usually clean-up really well. You see the protector acts like a shield between the spots, spills and soil and the actual carpet fiber. Once all the grime has been washed off the carpet fiber it’s returned to virtually “as-new” condition. We look like the hero!
Like periodically waxing your car, re-application of carpet protector after cleaning is a must.However the combination of the spot & spill cleanups and all the foot traffic and soil your carpet has been subjected too over those two years will weaken and diminish the protective properties of your carpet. Take your car for example. Wax is the protective shield between the environment and your cars paint. Waxing your car will keeps its paint in top condition and will prevent everyday grime from ruining it. Same is true for your carpet.
Possibly putting my credibility at risk?I realize that singing the virtues of a product category that serves as an additional service offering in our business, puts my credibility at risk. However facts are facts and it can’t be denied that carpet protectors work. So my recommendation to you is to definitely have protector applied after your cleaning, assuming you trust the company and individual performing your service especially for homes with children and pets and heavy foot traffic.