Water damage in your home or office can quickly cost thousands of dollars. But what if the emergency occurs? We explain what to do, how the drying of a water damage works, who pays and who is liable in a rented apartment.
What to do in case of a water damage?
Water damage can occur quickly and should be remedied even faster.
What should I do if there is a water damage?
Of course you should not panic, but act fast.
1. Turn off the water supply
Turn off the water supply so as not to increase the damage. It is enough to close the affected stopcock. If this is not possible, you must turn off the main water tap.
2. Disconnect the power supply immediately
Turn off the power for the affected area. Insert the fuses or unscrew the respective screw fuse. This will avoid a short circuit and possible subsequent edges.
3. Remove water
Remove the spilled water as soon as possible. For smaller quantities, this works with buckets and rags. For larger quantities you should use a wet vacuum or even a pump. For very large amounts of water, it is best to call a specialist or, if necessary, the local fire department. Remember that costs are incurred. These costs will be covered by the insurance depending on the circumstances.
4. Save the devices
Remove carpets, furniture and electrical equipment from the wet area or set them up. Especially damp textiles and swollen wood tend to mold. To lower the humidity, it is best to open the windows and doors. Dripping it from the ceiling, cover the furniture with a foil.
5. Document damage
Photograph the affected room and damaged furniture as detailed as possible, even during your cleanup. The pictures will be submitted to your insurance company later. Do not discard moistened items immediately, but document the damage. Only then can the insurance also replace the value.
6. Call the insurance ASAP
Inform your insurance company and describe the damage. If you are not the owner of the building, contact your landlord or property manager. But before you report the damage, you should not perform any repairs. The insurance usually determines whether a water damage must be assessed by an expert and a drying must be initiated. Often, the insurance also suggests directly a specialist company.
How is a water damage done?
Water damage can have different causes. The most common is a pipe break. This can be caused by rust, frost, a material defect or construction work.
In the house also defective technical equipment such as washing machine, dishwasher or a leaky water heater can cause water damage. Even an overflowed bathtub can cause puddles with consequences, but this damage is then self-inflicted.
Floods or heavy rain are considered to be external. Often, permanent damage to the building fabric or your basement runs full. These consequences are usually the most devastating.
How do I recognize a water pipe breakage?
It does not have to be a flood. Water stains on the walls are usually a clear sign, but are not always recognized. If you experience a sudden increase in consumption or constant flow noise in a pipe, check your water meter. If she turns minimal, although no water is running, that is often a sign.
If a sewage pipe is damaged, you will notice it mostly from unpleasant odors or water rising from the drain.
How to prevent water damage
Do not leave appliances such as washing machines or dishwashers running while you are at home. In order to avoid water pipe ruptures, you should have the pipes checked regularly by a specialist, especially in older houses. In winter, insulation can protect the pipes from frost.
Inform yourself in advance what you need to do in case of emergency. If your home is affected by a water damage, you know immediately what to do, who pays, who is liable and how you initiate the drying process. With the right insurance you also save high costs.
The repair: How do we dry a water damage?
In the case of a pipe break, a specialist should come to find the damage site and repair the cause. With modern technology, the leak is found quickly, without having to smash tiles. In the next step, the expert begins to dry the water damage.
How long does it take to dry a water damage?
Depending on the size and intensity of the drying takes different lengths: Superficial moistening of walls and floor can dry in a few days. Fixing a masonry damage can take several weeks and months. It also depends on whether renovation work needs to be done.
How is a water damage dried?
The expert knows which drying method must be used in your home. The methods vary depending on the intensity and type of water damage. If not dried enough, consequential damage such as construction defects or, above all, harmful mold can occur.
The different drying methods
Most often, the condensation dryer is used. The moist air is sucked in and then cooled below the dew point. As a result, the moist air is transformed into condensation. This is then collected in the water tank and the cool, dry air is released again.
An adsorption dryer uses the physical property of a desiccant. The moist air is drawn in by a rotor and passed through a container with the desiccant. Here, the water vapor binds to the surface of the desiccant and is discharged via a hose system.
Infrared or dark radiators warm the damp area of a wall. The moisture evaporates and the wall dries.
The different drying areas
Are no hollow walls or insulation affected, one speaks of a simple room drying.
Wall drying only affects one wall. It is important to know the structure of the wall and to know whether it is an interior or exterior wall. Brick walls can be dried easily. In cavities, water can accumulate. Here, the wall must usually be opened to check if mold has formed. If that is the case, the material usually needs to be removed.
Drying the ceiling
Even when drying the ceiling, it is very important to know the ceiling structure. A concrete ceiling can be dried without much effort. If a blanket with straw or plasterboard is suspended, water can collect in the cavities. This causes damp spots or it starts to drip. The cavity must be dried in any case. Depending on the extent even parts of the ceiling must be renewed.
For proper floor drying, the structure of the floor is also checked. If the screed is firmly bonded to the substrate (composite screed) or shielded with a foil from the supporting substrate (screed on separating layer), then there are no cavities and the floor does not normally have to be dried. It is different if the screed is on an insulating layer (floating screed): Here, the insulating layer must be dried properly. Depending on the damage, even core drilling or rebuilding may be necessary.
What do I do with damaged material?
Carpets, furniture and wet things should be removed from the room. If they are still usable, you need to dry them. If walls, ceilings and floors can not be dried completely, if mold has already formed or if there is a risk of collapse, they must be rehabilitated.
Do I have to move out until the apartment has dried?
The affected areas are usually difficult or impossible to inhabit. If the water damage is very large, you may have to move out of your home until the damage is repaired. Normally your insurance or your landlord’s insurance will cover the hotel costs. But this is decided depending on the situation: Are kitchen or bathroom affected, is usually paid, in bedrooms depends on how large the damage.
Damages that our providers can help you with:
- Water extraction
- Crawl space mold removal/remediation/abatement/restoration
- Sewage cleanup/removal
- Hoarding cleanup
- Odor removal
- Water removal
- Soot cleanup/removal
- Toilet overflow
- Flood damage repair/removal/remediation/cleanup/restoration