What to Know About: Water Damage

YP Editors

What are the different types of water as related to water damage?
  • Clearwater is clean water with no solids. It includes water generated by air conditioning units and water that goes down the drain while the faucet heats.
  • Greywater refers to all other form of waste water except for toilet water. It possibly contains hair, soap particles, cooking byproducts and flakes of skin. Areas that have been damaged by grey water are at a mild risk of contamination.
  • Blackwater is water that has come into contact with urine or fecal matter. Toilet water is considered blackwater. Blackwater can contain pathogens and is usually considered a biohazard.
Water Damage

What are the primary dangers associated with water damage?

Water damage poses the following dangers and health risks:
  • Weakening the structural integrity of a home or building
  • Spreading contaminants like viruses and bacteria
  • Fostering an environment for mold
How long does it take for mold to form after water damage?

It doesn't take long for a mold infestation to take hold. Mold can start growing in as little as 24 to 48 hours following water exposure. For this reason, it is essential to quickly address the problem.

How can water damage be prevented?

Regular maintenance will reduce the risk of water damage.
  • Clean and maintain gutters so rainwater flows properly. Direct downspouts away from the house.
  • Repair any roof damage.
  • Use drain snakes to clean clogs. Chemical cleaners erode pipes.
  • Do not place outdoor plants with invasive roots near pipes, septic tanks, sprinkler systems, or drainage fields.
  • Make note of the water bill. A sudden, random spike in charges could indicate a leak.
What is water damage restoration?

Water damage restoration is a process where water-damaged areas are dried, sanitized, and rebuilt.

Does home insurance cover water damage restoration?

Home insurance sometimes covers water damage from storm-related accidents. However, most plans do not cover damage resulting from lack of maintenance or floods. For the latter, homeowners should purchase flood insurance.

How much does water damage restoration cost?

The cost of water damage restoration varies depending on the scope of the affected area and the potential contaminants in the water. Small areas can cost anywhere from $30 for a do-it-yourself kit to $300 for a professional job. Larger jobs, such as those resulting from a faulty appliance or burst pipe, range from approximately $5,000-$15,000. Repairing flood damage costs anywhere from $7,000-$26,000 on average, depending on the size of the home and the depth of the water.

How long does water damage restoration take?

The amount of time water damage restoration takes depends on the extent of the damage. On average, the extraction process takes about three days, though it will take longer if a lot of moisture is present. The restoration itself can take a single day or several weeks.

What does the water damage restoration process involve?

To restore a water-damaged area, professionals first ensure the area is completely dry. They use pumps and vacuums to suck out any remaining water, then use specialized equipment to dry and dehumidify.

Next, they remove any ruined materials, such as carpeting, carpet padding, insulation, baseboards, upholstery, sheetrock, and ceilings. They will sanitize what can be salved and discard what cannot. Finally, they will restore the damaged area so it looks as good as new. This process could be as simple as replacing a section of wood or as complex as rebuilding an entire room, depending on the extent of the damage.

Why can't the area affected by water damage simply be cleaned up and dried?

Water damage causes structural issues that remain even after the area dries out. In addition, removing the water does not get rid of any existing mold or bacteria.

What damages does flood insurance cover?

Flood insurance covers for weather-related water damage, including some types of roof leaks and overflowing balconies. Flood insurance on a home covers the foundation, plus permanently installed fixtures, such as electrical, plumbing, heating/air conditioning, kitchen appliances and cabinets, paneling and carpet, plus detached garages (up to 10% of your homeowners policy), and debris removal. Flood insurance on personal property – a separate policy – pays the current cash value for clothing, furniture, electronics, washer/dryers, frozen food, and up to $2,500 in valuables, such as art and furs.

What types of damage is not covered by flood insurance?

Flood insurance won't cover anything related to cash, precious metals or stock certificates. It also won't cover vehicles, post-flood mold damage, basement contents, sewer backups, temporary housing costs, or loss of income. Broken or leaking plumbing is not a flood loss, but might be covered by your regular property coverage. Outside the home, trees and plants, fence, pool, deck or patio, and retaining walls are on the long list of what flood insurance will not cover.

For more information about what to do after a major disaster damages your home and property, see the following articles:

What to Know About: Electrical Work

What to Know About: General Contractors

What to Know About: Insurance

What to Know About: Tree Cutting and Removal

What to Know About: Roofing

What to Know About: Auto Damage