Once the storm season hits, the possibility of water damage increases. There are various changes in lifestyles that need to be adopted in order to be more fully prepared to the possibility of sustaining damage in the home because of additional and unwanted water. While there is nothing that the property owner can do to completely avoid bad weather, there are some things that can be done in order to minimize its effects.
The silver lining in water damage is that one does not have to idly sit by and wait for the aftermath. The property owner can take a proactive stance and do what is necessary to prepare for the impending deluge. Taking this kind of attitude can not only protect the structural integrity of the home but it can also mean a lot when it comes to the safety of the family.
Have expectations that are based on facts
One of the causes of the water damage is that people underestimate the potential for its severity. This does not have to be the case because of advancements in the technology of weather prediction and flooding patterns. To fully know the scenario that can occur in the event of a flood, the property owner should be aware of the flood risk in which the property is located. If the owner is not sure of the situation, then contacting the pertinent local agencies such as the Red Cross or Emergency Management Office can provide practical advice. In addition to these agencies, the planning or zoning department of the county can give important information that can let the property owner know how to react to a potential storm.
If the weather has been bad for several days, it is necessary to pay attention to the signs that flooding can occur. Even if it stops, it is still important to be alert to the possibility of flood. Even a small bit of rainfall can cause havoc when the water levels are already high due to previous rains. The best way for the average homeowner to be aware of the surroundings is to listen to the news for flood information. It is not always reliable to check the outside for signs of flooding because there are some situations when the water can rush in very quickly.
For the property owner, preparation for water damage in the prospect of a storm also means getting acquainted to the terms that are used to warn people of the dangers. Two of the most important include flood watch and flood warning. A flood watch means that there is a possibility of flooding in the location. On the other hand, a flood waning means that the flooding is already beginning or is about to begin within the vicinity.
Protect the appliances and furniture
When there is a danger of water damage because of a storm, prepare for it by raising the electrical appliances such as the furnace, heater, and stoves. These, and other similar items, deserve special attention because they can be quite dangerous when they are wet. Not only does it cost a lot to replace them, it can lead to electrocution when they are exposed to moisture.
For more long-term results, it is best to consult with a professional to find out what are some of the measures that can be taken to prevent electrical damage. Some examples of what can be done include placing the electrical panel of the home in high places to lessen the risk of them getting wet in the event of water damage.
The pieces of furniture that are located in low areas such as floors and shelves should also be moved in high locations. Rugs and carpet should also be rolled up and placed in secure locations. Take note that doing these steps are a lot easier that having to spend time and effort drying, disinfecting or totally replacing them later on.
Property owners are advised to pay close attention to low places in the property such as basements because these are the most prone to water damage. The reason for this is that gravity works on water as well, drawing them downwards. Lessen the risk of damage by ensuring that the items are secure and the drainages are clear. Usually, basements are the places where chemicals such as paints and oils are kept. Place these in high locations or tighten the lids because the water can tip them over and lead to poisoning or adverse reactions to those that it comes in contact with.
Prepare the structure of the home
If a big storm is the approaching, the water damage in the home can be minimized by boarding up the property. In this situation, the windows and doors can be sealed using a variety of materials that range from wood to aluminum in order to prevent them from breaking. Ensuring that the property is protected in this way can lessen the chance of water entering the home and causing damage. Another option for property owners is to shrink-wrap the property. As the name suggests, this method involves wrapping the entire home in a thick plastic sheet and using heat to mold it around its features. This is the best way to protect the property from water damage because it seals it in and keep the water out.
The family disaster plan should be in place
A water damage plan is incomplete unless a family disaster plan is in the picture. Loved ones can also be subjected to the dangers of water that go beyond drowning. Some of the risks that the water from a storm can bring are diseases due to pathogens. The runoff of the water can contain traces of manure or feces that can contain contaminants. Mold and mildew can also be brought in because of the excess moisture provided by the storm.
When there is a danger of a storm, it is an option for the family to evacuate the premises to avoid contact with the water. This is the safest way because then, there is no need to deal with problems such as accidental electrocution or injury from debris. Even if the occupants of the property opt to stay behind, the property should be completely dry before permanent residence is taken up again.
In evacuation, the place where people should go must be properly identified beforehand to guarantee safety. After all, there is no point in leaving the home if the place to be transferred to is also dangerous. Valuables and important documents should be kept in a waterproof and locked safe deposit box. Otherwise, it should be carried by the owners for safekeeping. Although water damage restoration techniques can be exercised to dry out these documents, it is still better if the hassle is avoided entirely.
Finally, do not forget to turn off the electricity, water and gas systems in the property before leaving. They can be among the things that can be damaged by the water and pose a risk to the occupants as well as the people working in it later on. After the storm, do not immediately turn on these amenities a as the potential of leaks and even explosions can still exist. For example, a professional is needed in order to turn the gas back on.
Invest in the right kind of insurance
Standard homeowners insurance does not cover the costs of water damage. The property owner needs to have one that specifically indicates that water damage caused by flooding can be made claims on. What this encompasses are the structural damage sustained by the home due to water damage as well as the costs for repair or replacement of the furnace, air conditioner and other similar equipments. The expenses of cleaning up the debris left behind by the flood can also be covered. Finally, another example is having the surfaces damaged by the water replaces at the expense of the insurance policy. At the option of the property owner, riders or additional clauses can be placed in the insurance policy to include valuables such as antiques and jewelry.
If the home is located in an area that is classified as high-risk and it has a federally-backed mortgage, federal law requires the property owner to purchase flood insurance. Also, if the owner has received aid from the federal government for previous water damage caused by flooding, the flood insurance is also needed.
For instances when the property of the owner is located in flood-prone area, it is important to consider that most insurance providers require a waiting period. This means that it is virtually impossible to get coverage once the storm is predicted to hit. To avoid the danger of being caught in the middle of water damage and not having the protection of insurance by purchasing one beforehand.
Water damage is not something that needs to be severe as the homeowner is not helpless at its prospect. When there is already a warning that is placed for a storm and the risk of water damage is at an all time high, the best thing that a property owner can do is to fully prepare for the situation by keeping a levelheaded way of thinking.