Monday, 18 April 2016

Water Escape Damage and Mitigation: Second Edition

Everyone uses the word 'flooding' loosely, whether to describe a situation where your bathtub overflows or a pipe bursts in your home, or to describe a river overflowing its banks or a tsunami hitting a coastal town. 

Some of the more recent posts here were discussing the difference between 'flooding' and 'overland water escape' when it came to how the insurance world looks at these things and the idea was to provide a bit of education to my readers.

I am careful with my words when talking about flooding and water escape since my job is in the insurance industry and their terminology is very specific when describing these occurrences.

But, the bottom line is that when water gets wild and goes where it's not supposed to there is typically a big mess, a lot of damage and the potential for more problems to occur after the water recedes or is pumped away.

One of those posts dealt with several ways to be pro-active and prevent water escape from occurring in your home, which is always the best approach, the "ounce of prevention" philosophy so to speak.
However, accidents do happen and water can make such a mess it's scary. It was already discussed how quickly water can spread and infiltrate your home, always finding its way to the lower floors and damaging so much stuff along the way.

So, what to do if you come home to such an occurrence in your home?

What to do now?

Of course, first thing is to kill the water supply, be it in your own home turning off the supply line to the offending appliance or shutting down the house supply at the stop and waste (the valve that is located on the water service line where it enters your home) Look at the photo below to get an idea of what that valve will look like and learn it's location, as well as ensure it is functional.

An example of a main water supply shut off valve, a.k.a. stop and waste valve

If water in the basement means it is not possible to turn of the stop and waste valve, your municipal water services provider can shut off the supply line to the house by turning the curb stop off in the street or boulevard, something which requires a special tool to perform.

Again, look at the photo below to see what the access cover for this type of valve looks like and learn it's location in your yard. Sometimes these valve covers get knocked off or are removed because people don't know what it is and find it a nuisance when cutting the grass, or they get buried during landscaping.

Typical cover for a curb stop valve

Generally, after this is done the first thing most people consider doing is calling their insurance company or broker, which isn't a bad thing because our immediate advice would be to get a restoration company in to your home as soon as possible!

Unfortunately, most often these type of water escape incidents are discovered at the end of a work day and getting a hold of your insurance people may not be possible until the following day, so knowledge about what to do and when is most helpful.

BlueCircle likes to say " knowledge is the best insurance!"

Again, we previously discussed in earlier posts about how time sensitive matters are when it comes to water damage, and the potential for mold growth. Professional services provided in the first 24 hours, by a company such as Puro Clean, means there's a very good chance that you'll be able to get the water extracted and the drying process initiated, which is the key to mold prevention.

This is the kind of gear you need to extract water and start the evaporation and drying process

Does your home insurance cover water damage? It's definitely something to look into. If you have any further questions about water damage, flooding and what's actually covered under your policy, contact a broker today!

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