Frequently Asked Questions

How can I estimate the extent of the damage?

How can I secure my property after water damage?

Your home is susceptible to looting and vandalism if it is damaged and unoccupied. Further, if you have an alarm system, it may not be functioning if your electricity or telephone service is interrupted. Lock and secure any vulnerable entry points into your home while you are away.

Should I enter my home after a flood?

If your home has suffered from a flood or water damage, extreme caution should be exercised when you first enter your home and begin cleanup. Always make sure your home is structurally stable, and turn off the power and gas supply lines to your home. Don’t drink water from the tap until it is declared safe, and always wear protective gear to protect yourself from contaminants that may be in the floodwaters.

My insurance company recommended a repair contractor, do I have to use them?

It is the homeowner’s right to choose the contractor of their choice, and this is written in your insurance policy. Don’t feel pressured to use a contractor recommended by your insurance agent—use the repair contractor with whom you feel the most comfortable.

Water Damage Prevention

Do I need an exhaust fan in my bathroom?

The bathroom exhaust fan serves a vital purpose of ventilating the bathroom to maintain low humidity levels. Exhaust fans reduce the risk of mold growth, and should be used every time you use the shower or bathtub, and continue to run it for 5-10 minutes afterwards to dissipate the remaining moisture. We recommend installing an exhaust fan if you do not have one, or replacing a non-working fan.

There is discoloration and softening of the wall behind my utility sink. Should I be worried?

Discoloration and soft walls generally point to a water leak in the pipes behind the sink. Call a professional for help repairing the pipes, and a water damage professional can perform an infrared inspection to confirm water damage.

Where should I check for water damage around my refrigerator?

Refrigerators are sometimes overlooked as a source of water damage in the kitchen. Check for moisture behind or under the refrigerator, and check water supply lines collections and seals. Also be sure to check the drain pan, as this is a common source of mold growth.

I think my attic insulation is wet. What should I do?

Once insulation is wet, it is ineffective and hard to dry out. Wet insulation can create high humidity and contribute to mold growth. It is important to identify and address the source of the leak, then we recommend replacing the insulation.

There are water droplets in the washing machine when it is not in use. Should I be worried about water damage?

Water in the washing machine can be indicative of a failing shutoff valve that is letting water through the line when the machine is not in use. Consider installing a new shutoff valve to prevent water damage. Also inspect the water supply lines to ensure they are in good condition.

Should I be concerned about attic vents contributing to water damage?

Attic vents can lead to water damage, but they are essential for proper attic ventilation and to circulate air in the attic to reduce humidity, warding off mold problems. Inspect the vents regularly to ensure proper operation and to prevent leaks.

Where should I look for water damage in the bathroom?

Bathrooms have multiple sources for water damage. Check for leaks around the toilet and sink and make sure that everything is dry and functioning as it should. Check the tiles, grout and drain in the bathtub or shower for any damage, paying special attention to any discolorations or soft areas around the bathtub.

What are the signs of water damage in the kitchen?

If you suspect that you might have water damage in your kitchen, there are several signs to look for. Water spots under the sink, slow draining pipes, damaged tile or grout, or soft or stained walls are all signs of potential water damage. You may also spot water leaks around, under, or behind your refrigerator or dishwasher.

Should I be concerned about electrical shock after water damage?

The short answer is yes—whenever there is water damage, there is a risk of electrical shock. Turn off the power to your home or business by turning off the main circuit breaker panel. Even if the power is out in your neighborhood, it could be re-energized at any time. Do not use electrical appliances while standing on a wet floor, and never use a regular vacuum cleaner to remove excess water.

Recovering from Water Damage

My family photos were damaged by water, what should I do?

We understand the need to save family photos that suffer water damage. If you cannot dry the photos immediately, additional damage may be prevented by freezing the photos. Gently rinse the photos and place them in a plastic bag before placing them in the freezer. Be sure to consult a professional conservator before freezing any photos.

Can my books be saved after water damage?

Books submerged in clean water, such as water from a broken pipe, for less than 24 hours may be saved as long as mold is not present. Collectible, rare or expensive books can be placed in plastic bags and placed in the freezer until they can be dried by a professional.

My house was flooded. Do I need to throw away all my kitchenware?

Yes and no. Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils and containers, and battle bottle nipples and pacifiers should be thrown out, as they cannot be safely cleaned after contamination with flood waters. Other items made from glass, stainless steel, or stoneware can be sanitized, disinfected and reused as long as they do not have physical damage such as cracks or chips that can trap contamination.