Flood Damage – What to Do After the Dry Out

March 14, 2024 Uncategorized

Article by David Selter

So your flooded house is finally dried out, the cleanup is complete, and now you’re waiting for the contractor to begin the rebuilding. That could be quite a wait. You just experienced how hard it was to get a company to start the flood restoration for you during the area wide flooding, and it will be just as hard to find a construction contractor now that everyone needs one. This can be a very risky time for your home. Look around. Most likely the drywall and insulation has been removed from your walls. No insulation or drywall on the exterior walls can pose a serious problem. Humid outside air can easily enter your home causing the indoor humidity to rise. Another issue is your air conditioner. When your house flooded, the condenser, the part that sits outside, may have also been partially or completely submerged. A poorly or non-operating air conditioning system will add to the humidity.

Unfortunately the discomfort you will feel from the high humidity is the least of your problems. The humid air coming in through the walls from the outside will continue to increase the levels of moisture in the air until it begins condensing on everything it touches in the house. If this condition is not remedied soon, the condensation will begin to promote the growth of mold. Now the flood damage that you finally had cleaned up will be followed by mold damage. The mold situation will happen even faster if your air conditioner is not removing at least some of the moisture from the air.

So the first thing to do is get your ac checked and/or repaired and make sure that you run it at a reasonable temperature.  You can get an ac repair company fairly quickly even after area wide flooding. The next thing is to install at least insulation, and preferably insulation and drywall on the exterior walls as soon as possible. Some people let the contractor know that they realize how busy they are and that they can’t do the entire rebuild immediately, but that they will pay them to just install the drywall and insulation for now without finishing or painting it. Many contractors will do this if you agree to let them do the rest of the rebuild for you later. If all else fails, purchase the insulation yourself at a box store and staple it in place on the exterior walls. It’s not the perfect solution but everything helps. And if your air conditioner is running properly, DO NOT leave your doors and windows open. The outside humid air is your enemy.

Spend a few dollars and buy a hygrometer to frequently check your humidity levels. Ideally the RH (Relative Humidity) should be 50% or lower, and it should never be 60% or higher. Mold will typically begin to grow once the humidity rises and remains above 60%. If you haven’t been able to do enough to keep the humidity in check, call the restoration company you used to handle the original flood damage. By this point after the flooding they should have plenty of dehumidifiers on hand again, and you can see what kind of deal they will give you to install one or two in your home until you can get the rebuild done. Do everything you can to control the humidity in your home during this period and avoid the costs and hassle of further damage.

What is Secondary Flood Damage?

Article by David Selter

When a home or business has suffered flood damage, it is important not to compound the problem with what is considered secondary damage. In a flooded house, the evaporation of the intruding water quickly saturates the air. This is why flood damage restoration should begin as soon as possible – to prevent further damage from this saturated air. Whether you call a flood damage cleanup company or handle things yourself, it is important to get commercial grade drying equipment in there quickly to control the humidity levels in your home. Your air conditioner doesn’t have near enough capacity to remove the excess amounts of moisture in the air. Whether the damage was caused by a broken pipe or by rising flood waters, rapid flood cleanup will prevent the damage from spreading in several ways.

First, quick flood water removal with extraction machines or by other means will mean less water evaporating into the air of your home. It will also prevent the excess water from migrating under walls and spreading to other areas of your home, and from wicking up into porous materials like your drywall and cabinets.  So the sooner you remove as much water as possible, the better.

Second, you will still have a lot of moisture in the porous materials in your home that will continue evaporating. The danger of this is twofold.  1. The high levels of moisture in the air caused by this evaporation will begin to condense on everything else in your home, so even if it wasn’t touched by the water initially, it will become wet and suffer damage.  AND, these now wet materials will be an ideal breeding ground for the growth of mold.  And 2. The high humidity will drastically retard the drying process and keep everything wet for much longer. This will pretty much ensure additional severe and costly water and mold damage. So, you will need to get and use high volume dehumidifiers to take the moisture out of the air and get the humidity as low as possible. This will prevent condensation from getting everything else wet, and it will greatly reduce the drying time. In general the faster something is dried, the less damage that will occur. Oh, and don’t forget to use plenty of high speed air movers (household fans only as a last resort) to replace the moist air near the wet surfaces with the low humidity air as many times a minute as possible. This is critical to fast and complete drying.

You can call a flood damage restoration company to provide the services and equipment discussed above, or you can rent the equipment and do the work yourself. But failing to do it or have it done will result in far more damage and could be a costlier mistake than you think. Because, as many  people who didn’t read the fine print in their insurance  policies have found out, insurance companies can deny your claim if you haven’t made reasonable efforts to limit further damage.

Need more help? Contact DRYMORE today for help.

 

How to Avoid Denied Water Damage Claims

Article by David Selter

Your homeowner’s insurance policy is a contract, and one of the things that we all agree to by signing that contract is to “protect the property from further damage” after a loss has occurred. When a water damage loss has occurred, you have agreed in the policy do take the immediate necessary steps to limit further damage, and with water damage remediation, time is of the essence. It is important to get a professional emergency water damage company to begin the dry out as soon as possible. Why?

Because water that seems confined to one area is actually migrating under walls and cabinets, and wicking up into the drywall, framing and insulation. So the longer you wait, the further the moisture spreads, and additional damage is caused that could have been avoided. The evaporation of this moisture also causes the humidity to rise beyond what an air conditioning system can handle and requires commercial strength dehumidifiers to control. When the humidity rises above 60%, the evaporation rate continues to slow down, and the excess moisture in the air can begin condensing on other items and surfaces in the home. So a water loss that seems confined to the flooring can be causing secondary damage to other areas like the ceiling, AND to your contents. Insurance companies don’t want to pay for additional damage that could have been prevented, and if you didn’t take steps to prevent that damage, they can deny your claim because you didn’t fulfill you obligations under your insurance contract. A water damage cleanup company can also talk to your insurance company to answer their technical questions, and meet with the adjuster at your home to walk them through your water loss, and explain to them what was done and why. Taking immediate action is very important to avoid having your claim denied.

Some of the other important things to remember to avoid having a claim denied include:

Changing your insurance coverage if your house is vacant or you are renting it out. Vacant and rented houses are at a higher risk for losses and generally require higher premiums. If your house is vacant or rented out, you haven’t notified your insurance company, and subsequently you suffer a water loss, your claim will likely be denied.

Read your insurance policy. It’s not very long. Make sure you didn’t agree to a cap or limit on water losses, and if you did, call your agent and get rid of it. The cap may save you a little on your premium payments, but you will be shocked if you suffer a water loss of $50,000 and your coverage is capped at $5,000. When you include the cost of the dry out and the reconstruction of your home, a $50,000 water loss is more the norm than the exception. Mike sure you have full coverage! Don’t be like the people we’ve seen who, on top of suffering water damage to their home, then suffer a large financial loss because of insufficient insurance coverage.

 

Water Damage Phone Calls After Hours

Article by David Selter

Why do some companies answer their own phones after hours and some don’t? 

When it’s Sunday afternoon or the middle of the night and you discover that your home or business is flooded, when you call a water damage cleanup company you want to talk to a real person from that company. You don’t have time to leave a message not knowing when or if you will get called back. That’s why at DryMore Water Damage Restoration we answer our own phones 24/7, 365 days a year. So why don’t other companies? Well, it’s a lot easier and cheaper to use an answering service or just voicemail instead of having someone on call every day and night.  But when you’re standing in water in the middle of the night or on a weekend or holiday, you want to talk to someone who knows water damage restoration and who can mobilize their people immediately to begin the water removal and dry out.

Time is critical when dealing with water damage. Although you may think only a few rooms were affected, water continues to migrate under walls and cabinets, and to wick up into the drywall and framing in the walls. If the leak or overflow occurred upstairs or in the attic, the water coming down through the ceiling can pose a serious safety risk. The water coming down from above will cause the ceiling drywall to weaken and collapse from the weight of the water, possibly harming the occupants and definitely damaging the contents of your home. You need a professional water cleanup company onsite immediately to eliminate hazardous conditions and to prevent further damage to your property. And your insurance company, as stated in your policy, expects you to take steps to mitigate the damage, and can actually deny your claim if you don’t. You definitely don’t have time to be waiting for a call back, especially in all of the chaos of a flooded home.

When you suffer water damage, you’re dealing with an emergency situation.  And water doesn’t care what day it is, or what time it is when it floods your house. That’s why you need an emergency water damage restoration company that answers its own phones and can immediately dispatch a crew day or night, weekend or holiday, every day of the year. Time is of the essence in preventing further damage. It’s true that it is more expensive for a restoration company to always answer their own phones, but when it comes to water damage, time is money.

 

Sincerely, David Selter

Will Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage and Flooding?

Article by David Selter

When examining your home insurance policy, it is important to note the difference between water and flood damage. Water damage is generally covered by your homeowners’ insurance policy and protects you in situations like a leak or burst pipe. Flood damage is defined as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land. With flood damage, the water comes from a natural source and two or more properties are involved.

Home insurance companies do not offer flood insurance and policies must be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program. This means that homeowners who are unprotected and experience flood damage have to pay for water damage restoration out of pocket, which can mean thousands of dollars in expenses.

Water damage mitigation does not have to be a painful process! Check your policy and ensure that you are protected in the event of a disaster. Call DryMore for your water or flood damage needs at 281-930-0100. We talk to your insurance company for you and make sure you are informed every step of the way.

How to Save Money on Water Damage Restoration

Article by David Selter

Deductibles can be high on water damage claims, which means more money out of your pocket. And when it comes to Flood Insurance, money out of pocket is a given since flood insurance was never mandated by Congress to make you whole again, but just to make your home livable to avoid an area wide housing crisis. So how can you save money during a Gulf Coast flooding event? Well besides the usual storm preparations that we hear ad nauseam on the local news, you need to act quickly.

Even though drying equipment is at a premium when flooding has occurred, if you act fast enough you may find some that some air movers and dehumidifiers are still available to rent. Getting the drying equipment from a rental center is fine, but renting it from a water restoration company is ideal. They have the formulas that tell you how much equipment is needed based on the size of the areas effected in your home. And some of these companies also include delivery and pick up, AND daily moisture readings so that you have documentation of the drying process. This is extremely important when dealing with flood insurance, which requires such documentation for you to get reimbursed. And remember to document all of your own time that you put into restoring your home. Flood insurance may also reimburse you for that depending on the situaton their various rules. Moisture readings are also import so that you can see for yourself when things are dry so you’re not spending more for equipment than you need to.

Another costly factor you can save on is any tear out of unsalvageable materials like wet drywall. If you have a handyman or contractor that you have already used, that could be a cheaper alternative to restoration companies who will be swamped during a flood. And if you rent your equipment from a restoration company, they can refer contractors that they have worked with who can help you with any tear out that is needed. But remember to keep all receipts and to document everything.

You must act quickly after flooding occurs since everyone will be busy and may not have what you need, or not want to take the time to explain things to you or give out referrals. We’ve been through many floods and have always given out information and referrals to homeowners. We even had Channel 2 News film Amy Davis following us around for a day after a flood to get useful information for homeowners. And we’ve made supplying drying equipment to homeowners a priority. But we’ve also heard from our customers that it is not a priority for a lot of other companies, so act quickly if you want to do what you can yourself to cut costs. If you wait, you may have nothing to do it with.

Do I Need a Water Damage Restoration Company, or Can I DIY?

Article by David Selter

The most important issues when dealing with water damage are preventing structural damage to your home, and preventing mold problems from developing. So, when you have water damage from a leaky pipe, frozen pipe water damage, an AC overflow, outside water entering your home, or other causes, getting the excess water removed as quickly as possible is critical. The longer the water remains, the further it spreads. Basically, the water will continue to spread out, run under the walls, seep into every crack and crevice, and even wick up wood framing and drywall. Of course, this can be very destructive for most types of flooring and your home’s structural material. So, rule number one is: Stop the source of the water and get the remaining water up ASAP by any means possible.

If the water shows signs of already having begun to soak into the flooring, affect the walls or the ceiling below, or seep under cabinets or appliances, you will need to begin actively drying those areas after removing what water you can. The most immediate thing you can do is to apply some air movement from any kind of fan you may have, including ceiling fans. Air movement will continually push the moisture from the evaporating water away from the wet surfaces and replace it with dryer air to increase the rate of evaporation.   

Small open areas can be dried fairly quickly using air movement. But water also spreads into confined areas, such as behind walls and under flooring. It can also come in contact with porous materials like drywall that soak it up and hold it like a sponge. When this happens air movement alone will not be enough to dry it in a timely manner. You will need the very low moisture content of the air from dehumidifiers and high-volume air movers to deliver that air to the confined spaces. You will also have to consider removing some of the porous materials that have already been damaged beyond recovery. And you will need to monitor the drying with a moisture meter to ensure that it’s happening rapidly enough.  The EPA warns that the first 24 to 48 hours are critical to the drying process to prevent the growth of mold and other microbials.

So, can you do your own water damage cleanup? That depends on how extensive it is and how much work you’re willing to do on your own. Some restoration companies will rent (and deliver) the equipment and moisture meters you need to do the job. And most equipment rental centers have a limited supply of drying equipment. However, knowing what you need and how to use it is another issue. In real life if you have a limited area affected and you get the water up fairly quickly you can dry it with fans and usually be fine. But if the water has spread to inaccessible areas you probably need the help of a company. 

On a personal note, not too long ago I had water coming through my ceiling from an AC drain line that was improperly connected to the second-floor bathroom sink drain line. I got the water off of my downstairs wood floor pretty quickly and called a water damage company. They removed about six square feet of the ceiling drywall and tested all areas for moisture. Fortunately, the wood flooring moisture wasn’t extremely high, but the upstairs subflooring and framing were. With it opened up they were able to dry everything (including my wood floor) with their equipment in three days. It cost me about $1,500 and I’m glad I did it. That was two years ago, and I have had no signs of any water damaged material, mold issues, or odor of any kind since. If I had tried to dry it on my own without opening it up, I would have ended up with very costly and disruptive mold testing, removal and repair, not to mention gradually breathing in more and more mold spores as it festered in that ceiling. So whatever path you decide to take, do it sooner rather than later.

Preventing Small Leaks: The Key to Effective Commercial Water Damage Prevention

Article by David Selter

At Drymore, we understand the importance of safeguarding your business from the costly and disruptive effects of water damage. In this article, we will delve into the significance of addressing small leaks promptly and provide you with actionable strategies to prevent them. By implementing these preventative measures, you can protect your commercial property and mitigate potential risks.

The Costly Consequences of Small Leaks

Water damage may appear trivial when it starts as a small leak, but if left unattended, it can lead to significant issues and financial burdens for businesses. Understanding the potential consequences can serve as a catalyst for taking preventive action. Here are some of the major risks associated with small leaks:

  1. Structural Damage: Even minor leaks can compromise the structural integrity of your commercial building over time. Water seeping into walls, ceilings, or foundations can weaken the overall structure and cause long-term damage.
  2. Mold and Mildew: Moisture from leaks creates a conducive environment for mold and mildew growth. These harmful microorganisms not only pose health risks to occupants but also necessitate costly remediation efforts to eliminate.
  3. Electrical Hazards: Water infiltration can pose a significant threat to electrical systems and equipment within your premises. It increases the risk of electrical short circuits, potentially leading to fires or equipment malfunctions.
  4. Damage to Assets: Leaks can cause irreparable harm to valuable assets such as inventory, equipment, documents, and furnishings. The financial implications of replacing or repairing these assets can be substantial.
  5. Business Interruption: Water damage often leads to business disruption, resulting in operational downtime, loss of productivity, and revenue decline. In severe cases, it may force temporary or permanent closure.

The Importance of Proactive Leak Detection

Detecting and addressing leaks promptly is crucial to preventing small issues from escalating into major water damage incidents. By adopting a proactive approach to leak detection, you can significantly reduce the risks and associated costs. Here are effective strategies to implement:

1. Regular Inspections

Conduct routine inspections of your commercial property to identify any signs of leaks or water intrusion. This includes examining the plumbing system, HVAC units, roofing, windows, and any areas susceptible to moisture infiltration. Be sure to document and address any identified issues promptly.

2. Advanced Leak Detection Systems

Investing in state-of-the-art leak detection systems can provide an extra layer of protection for your commercial property. These systems utilize innovative technologies such as moisture sensors, flow meters, and automated shut-off valves to detect leaks in real-time and minimize potential damage.

3. Monitoring Humidity and Moisture Levels

Maintaining optimal humidity and moisture levels within your premises is crucial for preventing water damage. Utilize humidity sensors and moisture meters to monitor these levels regularly. Additionally, consider installing dehumidifiers in areas prone to excess moisture, such as basements or storage rooms.

4. Proper Maintenance of Plumbing and HVAC Systems

Regular maintenance of your plumbing and HVAC systems is paramount to preventing leaks. Schedule professional inspections, cleanings, and repairs as necessary. Pay attention to pipe corrosion, worn-out seals, and faulty connections, as these are common sources of water leaks.

5. Employee Education and Awareness

Empower your employees with knowledge on the importance of leak prevention and reporting. Encourage them to promptly report any signs of leaks or water damage they observe. Establish clear communication channels and educate your staff on emergency protocols in case of water-related incidents.

Preventing commercial water damage starts with recognizing the significance of addressing small leaks promptly. By taking proactive measures, such as regular inspections, advanced leak detection systems, monitoring humidity levels, maintaining plumbing and HVAC systems, and promoting employee awareness, you can safeguard your business from the potentially devastating consequences of water damage.

Remember, prevention is always more cost-effective than dealing with the aftermath of water-related incidents. Don’t wait until it’s too late—take action today to protect your commercial property from small leaks and ensure the longevity and success of your business.

Understanding Flood Insurance Coverage

Article by David Selter

Floods are one of the most common and devastating natural disasters, capable of causing significant damage to property and infrastructure. The emotional toll is hard enough to bear without the added financial burden. Enter flood insurance, a specialized policy designed to protect your assets and bring peace of mind in the event of a flood. But what exactly does flood insurance cover? And is it worth the investment? This article aims to shed light on these questions and more.

What is Flood Insurance?

Flood insurance is a separate policy from your standard homeowners or renters insurance that provides coverage for losses and damages caused by flooding. Flood insurance is typically offered by government programs, such as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the United States, or private insurance companies.

Who Needs It?

Anyone can be affected by flooding, not just those living near bodies of water like rivers, lakes, or oceans. Flash floods, heavy rains, and even melting snow can lead to flooding in unexpected areas. As a rule of thumb, if you live in a designated flood zone, purchasing flood insurance is strongly advised. Even if you don’t, it’s worth considering, given the unpredictable nature of climate change and its impact on weather patterns.

What Does It Cover?

Building Coverage

  • Structural Elements: The foundation, walls, and roof of your home.
  • Built-In Units: Coverage extends to built-in appliances like water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners.
  • Plumbing and Electrical Systems: Includes wiring, plumbing, and heating.

Contents Coverage

  • Furniture: Sofas, chairs, and other essential furniture.
  • Electronics: Televisions, computers, and other electronic devices.
  • Personal Items: Clothing, books, and other valuables, up to a limit.

What’s Not Covered?

  • Precious Metals and Cash: These items are generally not covered.
  • Outdoor Property: Swimming pools, patios, and landscaping are usually excluded.
  • Temporary Living Expenses: Costs for hotels or rentals are typically not included.

Cost Factors

The cost of flood insurance varies depending on several factors, including the location of your property, its elevation, and the deductibles you choose. In flood-prone areas, premiums can be quite high. However, the financial protection it offers far outweighs the cost in most cases.

How to Get Covered?

  1. Assessment: Determine the flood risk in your area.
  2. Consult: Speak with an insurance agent knowledgeable in flood insurance.
  3. Compare: Shop around for quotes from different providers.
  4. Purchase: Once you’ve settled on a provider, finalize the paperwork to initiate your coverage.

The Viable Option

Understanding flood insurance can be overwhelming, but it’s crucial for safeguarding your property and financial future. Being well-informed about what is and isn’t covered can help you make a wise decision. The old adage “better safe than sorry” certainly holds true when it comes to protecting your most valuable assets from the unpredictability of flooding.

So, before the next storm hits, consider flood insurance as a viable option to protect not only your home but also your peace of mind.

Key Factors Affecting Water Damage Restoration Cost

Article by David Selter

Water damage can wreak havoc on your home, affecting its structure, furnishings, and even your health if not addressed promptly. While it’s crucial to act quickly, it’s equally important to understand the costs involved in water damage restoration. Various elements can influence the final bill, making it vital for homeowners to be aware of these factors. This article explores the key elements affecting the cost of water damage restoration so that you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.

Type of Water Involved

The first significant cost factor is the type of water causing the damage:

  1. Clean Water: This type of water comes from a clean source like a leaking faucet and generally poses no substantial health risks. The cost for handling this type of water is relatively low.
  2. Gray Water: This water contains some contaminants and can come from appliances like dishwashers or washing machines. The cost for restoration will be higher due to the additional steps needed to decontaminate the area.
  3. Black Water: This is contaminated water that can come from sewage or flooding from rivers and streams. It poses severe health risks, requiring specialized treatment, making it the most expensive to deal with.

Extent of Damage and Affected Area

The size of the area impacted by water damage will inevitably affect the cost of restoration. Larger spaces require more resources and manpower, raising the price of the restoration project. The extent of damage—such as whether it’s just surface-level or has affected the building’s structural elements—will also contribute to the overall cost.

Time

The longer you wait to address water damage, the more complicated and costly the restoration can become. As water sits, it can lead to more extensive damage, mold growth, and other issues that can escalate costs.

Labor and Specialized Services

Different situations may require specialized services such as mold remediation, furniture restoration, or electrical work. The need for these services will add to the overall cost. Additionally, the labor costs can vary depending on your location and the experience level of the professionals involved.

Materials and Equipment

From dehumidifiers to water extractors, various equipment pieces may be necessary for a comprehensive water damage restoration process. The types and quantities of materials used—like new drywall, paint, or flooring—can significantly influence the cost.

Insurance Coverage

Your insurance policy may cover some or all of the costs associated with water damage restoration. However, the specifics of your coverage can vary widely, so it’s essential to check your policy details and consult your insurance company to understand what’s included and what’s not.

Additional Costs

Sometimes, there may be costs associated with temporary housing, storage for your belongings, or other out-of-pocket expenses, which could affect the total amount you’ll spend on restoration.


Understanding the factors that affect the cost of water damage restoration can empower you to make informed decisions during an already stressful time. Being knowledgeable about these elements will not only help you set realistic budget expectations but also ensure that you get the most value for your money as you bring your home back to its former glory.