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How Can Water Damage Impact Selling Your Home?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
Water Damage and Selling Your Home

Water damage can definitely impact a house’s sale. More than one-third of homes in the U.S. have experienced damage from water at some point in their history. Therefore, this issue is frequently encountered in the real estate marketplace.

Damage in the past is not necessarily a deal-breaker. Less important than the fact that an incident occurred is how the homeowners responded. If remediation was promptly performed by certified water damage recovery specialists, past damage is usually not a major issue affecting the value or sellability of a home.

No Secrets

Until all facts are known, however, damage issues are often considered a red flag by many prospective buyers. The following factors play a role:

  • Buyers have legal rights to be informed about issues that may impact the home’s livability or degrade market value. If a seller fails to disclose known damage on the standard pre-sale disclosure form, he could face civil liability.
  • Pre-sale home inspections are required by most lenders and strongly favored by prospective buyers, as well, including those paying cash.
  • Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs of existing damage, as well as evidence of DIY cover-ups to conceal past water damage that was not properly remediated.
  • If existing damage issues are ongoing and have not been resolved, the value of a home may be substantially reduced. Financing may be problematic and buyers may need to pay cash or qualify for a complex loan that provides both funds for water damage remediation as well as the purchase price of the house. 

Mold Matters

Water damage that is not remediated by qualified professionals rapidly leads to mold contamination. In a home with past damage, mold potential is another x-factor that must be resolved. Separate pre-sale inspections focusing on detecting mold contamination are increasingly common.

If a damage incident occurred in the past, home sellers should expect a separate inspection specifically for the purpose of mold detection. This is particularly true if the seller cannot produce proof that proper restoration was performed by qualified water damage specialists.    

Can Electronics be Salvaged After a Flood?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Water inundating a home affects everything it comes into contact with to some degree. The quandary for the homeowner trying to sort things out is deciding which items can be saved and which must be discarded. This is particularly true of electronics, as these are usually very vulnerable to water damage and typically costly to replace.

First, be aware of some specific rules dealing with wet electronics:

  • Don’t turn on electronics that are suspected of exposure to water or high levels of water vapor. Leave them off and unplug the unit.
  • Don’t try to dry electronic components in a microwave oven or conventional oven.
  • Don’t open up wet electronic items yourself to let them air-dry. Refer that job to a qualified electronics technician. Your water damage specialist can usually recommend one.

Here are some ways water damage typically will affect electronics:

High Humidity

Water flooding a house raises indoor humidity into the extreme range. Water vapor in the air easily penetrates electronic devices and condenses on circuit boards and other components. As long as the device has not been powered on, a professional technician can usually dry and clean these components in a cost-effective procedure

Rainfall or Splashing Water

Rain may contact electronics inside the house if the roof is damaged in a storm, for example. If standing water is present, splashing may affect electronic components in otherwise dry areas near the water. If direct rain or splashing has contacted an electronic item, professional drying and cleaning can often restore them, as long as there was limited contact with water. However, note that this recovery process must begin ASAP as corrosion affecting circuit boards begins rapidly after water exposure.

Water Submersion

In most cases, electronics totally submerged under water are not recoverable or not worth the high cost of attempting professional salvage. Replacing the unit is usually more financially viable. If data storage devices such as hard drives are involved, these components can be removed from the wet unit and are a good candidate for recovery services that can rescue the data, but this service can run high, as well.

How to Dry Out Cabinets After Water Damage Occurs

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

Cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom are often right in the crosshairs to sustain water damage. Because of the proximity to water sources—plumbing lines leading to a sink, dishwasher floods, overflow from a sink, faucet leaks—cabinets frequently end up affected by water.  Drying cabinets after a water damage incident is a specialized process and not all cabinets can be salvaged in a cost-effective way.

  • Particle board is a common inexpensive cabinet material. Consisting of particles of wood compressed together with glue and resin, particle board is particularly vulnerable to saturation. Water dissolves the glue and may make the material swell and crumble. If water damage is significant, these cabinets may not be salvageable.
  • Plywood and hardwood cabinets withstand water exposure more evenly and for a longer period of time. If dried promptly using proper techniques, these cabinets may be restored without permanent damage.  

Here are some typical steps a water damage professional will utilize to effectively dry out cabinets:

  • Remove all items from the cabinet.
  • Remove excess water pooling inside cabinets. Soak up water with towels and wipe dry the cabinet interior.  
  • Take off cabinet doors. The weight of cabinet doors pulling on saturated wood can cause yet more damage to the unit. Also, removing doors allows maximum airflow into the cabinet interior for faster drying.
  • Utilize drying equipment. Professional air movers that are made to rapidly dry floors, cabinets and other fixtures direct high-volume airflow into the cabinets and speed drying.
  • Reduce humidity. Excess humidity in the indoor environment—common after water damage incidents—hampers drying.  Dehumidifiers should be placed in the affected zone and run continuously.
  • Dry the hidden spaces.  The enclosed area underneath cabinets usually conceals water after a flood. This area is hard to reach but must be accessed to dry affected flooring under the unit as well as the underside of the cabinet.  Water damage professionals typically remove the cabinet kick plate, then utilize air movers and/or warm air injectors to effectively dry the area.  
  • Prevent mold contamination. After cabinets have been fully dried, all surfaces should be treated with biocides formulated to prevent mold growth.

The Four Degrees of Water Damage and How to Deal With Them

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

water damage cleanupWater damage incidents differ according to the origin of the water, the scope and spread of damage inside the house and the materials affected. In order to properly evaluate water damage as well as develop systematic procedures for fast, effective recovery, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) along with the insurance industry have developed a standardized method to classify water damage. While there will naturally be variations in some cases, broadly speaking, most water damage events will fit into one of the following four classes:

Class One

These are the smallest events, limited to one room. Spillage is often simply a brief overflow of a sink, or a leaky pipe, and is pooled on a hard, non-absorbent floor. Water has not seeped beneath baseboards and entered wall voids or penetrated into adjoining rooms. Clean-up and drying are usually uncomplicated if the situation is noted and resolved promptly.

Class Two

This class includes water damage that has affected an entire room, contacting absorbent materials that may include wood flooring, saturated drywall, and wooden structural components inside walls. In cases of a flooded basement, this class includes water that does not exceed a depth of 24 inches. Rapid response is required, including professional mold remediation to prevent contamination that is usually triggered within 24 to 48 hours.

Class Three

In this scenario, water damage has affected multiple rooms, Typically, inundation originates from a source such as a ruptured plumbing supply line that has released a large volume of water. Associated events often include collapsed ceilings, damaged electrical components or other structure. Entering and/or working inside a house with Class Three water damage may be hazardous and should only be handled by qualified professionals.

Class Four

In these most severe cases, a house might be declared a total loss. Class Four events include deep inundation of the structure due to weather-related flooding that likely includes toxins such as raw sewage and chemicals. Most of the house has generally been submerged to some extent, often for an extended period of time, and structural integrity has been severely and perhaps permanently compromised.

Does Your Furniture Have Water Damage? Do This First…

Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

furniture water damage

  • Consider the source of water. If the damage is due to outdoor flooding that has inundated the house or from a sewage back-up, affected furniture should be considered contaminated. Certain items will therefore not be salvageable for this reason.
  • Furniture with stuffing and/or cushions which have absorbed contaminated water must be discarded. Even in cases where Category 1 “clean” water is involved, mold and mildew issues will likely make drying cushions and thick padding very problematic and likely not worth the effort.
  • Furniture constructed of veneered particle board that has been substantially soaked is usually damaged beyond repair due to the absorbency of particle board. These items will need to be discarded.
  • Move salvageable solid wood furniture outdoors. Take out all drawers, open doors and remove back panels if possible.
  • Spray down the furniture with a hose to remove mud and other residue.
  • Don’t allow wooden furniture to dry in the sun. Rapid drying usually causes warping and deformation. Instead, furniture should be moved to a sheltered storage area with good ventilation and allowed to dry slowly.
  • Be prepared for mildew or mold to form on wooden furniture until moisture content drops. Spot treatment with soapy water or wiping down the surface with mineral spirits will usually eliminate it.
  • For damaged items with sentimental value and which are irreplaceable, it may be worthwhile to consult a skilled furniture repair expert for issues such as loosened veneer, joints that have become unglued, discoloration of finish and other consequences of exposure to water.

Minimizing furniture water damage is an important aspect of restoring your home to normal.

 

When Drying A Water Damaged Space Isn’t A DIY Project…

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

industrial dryerything beyond that limited scope, however, properly drying a water damaged space requires more than do-it-yourself grit and determination. Here are some additional scenarios where professional service is indicated.

  • If the source is questionable. Only Category 1 water, straight from a broken household supply line or other sanitary source should be considered DIY-friendly. Category 2, typically drain water, an overflowing toilet bowl or washing machine, etc, contains bacterial contamination and requires prompt, professional removal. Category 3—also known as “black water”—refers to a sewage backup or outdoor flooding that has inundated the house. Classified as an acute toxic bio-hazard, clean-up should be handled strictly by experienced technicians only.
  • If water is on the move. Inside a house, water rapidly migrates under walls and through floors away from the point of origin. Drywall, insulation and other building materials absorb and retain water. Damaging wetness can spread far and wide long after the initial event—pipe rupture, flood, whatever—has been resolved. Simply mopping up what you see here and now only removes a partial amount of total moisture from the house.
  • If you’re not equipped. Effective, efficient water damage recovery requires specialized equipment purpose-built for the task. This ranges from powerful extractors to pull water out of carpets and flooring, high volume pumps to remove standing water, ventilation fans, moisture detection meters, industrial strength dehumidifiers and other stuff that probably isn’t out in your garage. Reputable, certified water damage recovery firms make substantial investments in the latest hardware and technology to do the job right.

 

What is an IICRC Certified Professional (and How do They Protect Homes?)

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

mold damageThe benefits of an IICRC certified professional are in place long before you actually require qualified expertise in water damage recovery or mold remediation. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a non-profit industry organization that tests and certifies the knowledge and skills of personnel who will arrive at your door on the day you need competent service to deal with a water damage incident or mold contamination. At what will likely be a stressful and confusing time, you’ll appreciate the experience and technical skills brought to the scene by employees who are trained and IICRC certified. Another of the benefits of an IICRC professional is the fact that every step of the recovery process will be performed according to published IICRC standards — the accepted industry criteria for water damage recovery and mold remediation.

Water damage recovery firms that employ workers with IICRC certification have invested in a process that ensures consistency and professionalism. Employees must attend classes and seminars and accumulate a specific amount of actual field experience, then pass comprehensive exams in basic water restoration or mold remediation. To move up to the next level, a candidate for journeyman certification must be certified for water damage recovery as well as carpet cleaning and carpet repair and installation. To earn master certification, applied structural drying, advanced microbial remediation, and health and safety certification are added to journeyman requirements.

Effective damage recovery entails much more than just removing water from the home. The restorers with IICRC certification are well-versed in the techniques to fully dry a home all the way down to the substructure, returning the house to its condition prior to water damage. All are trained and have the onsite experience to seek out and locate all moisture sources, limit the spread of damage in the house, effectively dry all types of building materials and carpets onsite, and evaluate and remove active mold growth.

Make sure you receive the benefits of an IICRC certified professional by contacting Rytech, Inc. for water damage and mold remediation services.

Rytech’s Steps for Drying Out a Wet Basement

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

wet basementThe need for drying out a wet basement is not a rare event in U.S. households. Basement waterproofing methods incorporated in the construction of most older homes have long since lost effectiveness, and water intrusion is now common in these houses. Moreover, the American Society of Home Inspectors tells us that the majority of new residences built today will develop basement leaks within 15 years or less. It’s not just an aesthetic issue, either: Over one-third of all homes with wet basements also test positive for the presence of active mold contamination.

Solving the problem requires a multi-faceted approach to address both cause and effect. Here’s the lowdown about drying out a wet basement.

Identify the Cause

  • Moisture accumulates as excess water vapor in the air condenses on cool surfaces like the concrete floor and cold water pipes typically routed through the basement.
  • Basement leaks where outdoor water infiltrates are the most common cause. The water source may be natural ground water pushing up through the foundation or water permeating the soil around the basement perimeter due to heavy rain, snow melt or overflowing gutters.

Reduce the Effect

  • Ventilating a basement with fresh air helps normalize humidity and temperature and reduce condensation. Installing a dehumidifier does an even better job.
  • Address direct leaks by making sure landscape surrounding the perimeter of the house is graded to divert rain water and snow melt away. Also keep gutters clog-free and install downspout extenders to discharge water at least two feet from the house.
  • Where a high natural water table pushes groundwater into the basement, install a sump pump in the basement floor to automatically remove water as it enters the sump basin.

Find Leaks and Fix Them

  • Fill visible cracks in basement walls and floors with epoxy or polyurethane repair materials specifically formulated for concrete.
  • Apply wall sealant. Basement sealant options range from a secondary coating of waterproof concrete that adheres to the wall, or acrylic waterproofing paints that are applied like standard paint.

Need more advice about drying out a wet basement? Ask the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc.

4 Reasons to Choose Rytech for Water Damage Restoration

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

It’s not hard to find an outfit that lists water damage recovery as just one of many common household services such as carpet cleaning. However, only a professional specialist with trained and certified technicians, fully equipped to mitigate all facets of water damage and mold contamination, can deliver an outcome that meets insurance industry standards as well as your high expectations. Rytech is the recognized leader in water damage and mold remediation services. To us, it’s not a secondary sideline—since 1995 it’s been the sole focus of research and practical expertise gained from restoring thousands of damaged homes to a safe and healthy indoor environment.

water damage restorationWhen water damage strikes, here are four good reasons why your first call should be to Rytech.

1. We’re here and we’re ready. Any time you call, you’ll immediately speak to a living person trained to provide you with the information you need, and poised to initiate professional restoration and recovery services immediately.

2. We’re equipped for the job. Professional water damage recovery isn’t accomplished with consumer-grade equipment from the local rental center. We utilize cutting-edge techniques and technology. Proven, advanced methods extract water and dry indoor premises work faster and dry more thoroughly. We have the instruments to detect even trace amounts of residual moisture as well as verify when the affected area been fully dried.

3. We get it. Water damage striking your home, followed by the arrival of a team of emergency recovery specialists, wasn’t on your wish list. No matter how familiar the water damage scenario may be to us, we never forget that this is a traumatic event for you. We train all our people to treat your home with respect and all your property as the important personal possessions they are.

4. We can do the paperwork. You’ve got enough on your mind. Our on-staff specialists can reduce the time-consuming process of dealing with insurers by providing direct insurance billing. Of course, you’re always fully informed about every cost and there are no surprises.

For more information on accessing professional water damage and mold mitigation services, contact Rytech, Inc.

 

The Shut-Off Valve: Where is It and Why You Must Know

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

If a water supply line inside your home ruptures, knowing the location of your main water shut-off valve can make the difference between an annoying mess to clean up and catastrophic household damage that requires professional water damage recovery services. A broken 1/4-inch water line typically installed in residences can gush up to 50 gallons of water per minute into your home until somebody shuts off the main water valve. If you have to wait for a plumber to arrive to do it, you can easily have several thousand gallons of water flooding the premises. Every adult in the home should be aware of the location of the water shut-off valve and how to operate it.

shut-off valveIn Warm Climates

The valve is typically located outside at ground level at the point where the main water supply line enters the house through the foundation. It is usually a red, gate-style valve — a rotary valve similar to an outdoor faucet, only larger — that is closed by rotating it clockwise. This will shut off water flow to all pipes and fixtures inside the house.

In Cold Climates

The valve may be found indoors where the cold water pipe emerges through the foundation wall into the basement. It’s usually a red, gate-style valve closed by turning clockwise. Alternatively, the shut-off valve may be located in the main cold water line just before the water heater.

Meter Valve

An additional shut-off is usually located at the water meter, which is typically in a concrete box embedded in the ground out near the street. This master valve turns off water to all the property — including the entire house but also outdoor pipes such as lawn sprinklers, swimming pools, etc. Depending on the type, some water meter valves may require a certain tool to operate the valve.

Just to Be Sure…

Once a year, test your shut-off valve to verify that it turns freely. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. Call a plumber to handle the issue.

Ask the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc. for more information if you’re unable to locate your water shut-off valve.