Recent Water Damage Posts

What To Do When Your Basement Floods?

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

As most homeowners know, unexpected problems are a reality of owning a house. Walking downstairs to find water in the basement after it rains can be a particularly unsettling sight that leaves many individuals unsure of what to do next. But, why is my basement flooding? Should you be asking yourself what to do when the basement floods, there are specific steps to take to get it back to normal and how to stop basement flooding.

Why is My Basement Flooding?

Unfortunately, there are a number of different reasons why your basement might flood. Learning the most commons reasons can help you determine how to stop basement flooding:

Rain-associated problems: while basement flooding can occur with dry weather, water in the basement after it rains is most likely. Cellar flooding after heavy rain can happen for a number of different reasons. For example, if your home is not properly graded, water will not be directed away from your house. This means water can find its way through cracks and holes into the basement, resulting in basement floods during heavy rain. In addition to improper grading, cracks in your home's foundation can result in cellar flooding after heavy rain.

It is important to regularly scan the walls of your basement for cracks, as they are one of the most common culprits of water in the basement after it rains. Sealing cracks is key for how to stop basement flooding. Another rain-associated challenge is clogged gutters and downspouts. When this happens, water will not be properly diverted far enough away from a house’s foundation, resulting in water in the basement after it rains.

Sump pump failure: A sump pump can be installed in a basement to collect water in a designated pit, then pump the water out and away from the basement to ensure it stays dry. When a sump pump isn’t working properly, whether due to a power outage or heavy rain, you are at risk for basement floods during heavy rain.

Sewer backup: A particularly unpleasant answer to “why is my basement flooding?” are basement floods during heavy rain caused by a sewer backup. When city sewers overflow, you might experience a flow of sewage back into your home through drains or toilets. This can then lead to flooding in the basement.

Signs of Water Damage in Basement

Even before flooding in your basement occurs, there are signs to keep an eye out for that can indicate water damage, and help you figure out how to stop basement flooding. For example, you might notice changes in the color or texture of surfaces in your basement. Paint can begin to peel, wallpaper might pucker, or yellow or brown stains might appear on the walls. You might also notice that carpeting begins to take on a spongy feel, indicating trapped moisture below.

Another sign of water in the basement after it rains is an unpleasant odor. As moisture collects in the basement, you might experience a strong, musty odor that doesn’t go away. This odor is likely coming from mold or mildew growing in your basement, indicating water damage. In addition to the smell of mold, you might also visibly spot mold growing in your basement.

A final indicator of water damage in your basement are cracks in the foundation. A buildup of moisture over time can cause the foundation inside and outside of your home to crack due to inadequate draining. Without proper sealing, cracks can lead to flooding.

Catching these signs early and making the appropriate repairs are helpful for how to stop basement flooding, protecting your basement and saving you money.

What to Do When Basement Floods

If you don’t know what to do when basement floods, don’t panic. Take the following steps and precautions to handle the situation safely and effectively.

  1. Address the flooding immediately. When there is water in the basement after it rains, you may think putting off the issue for a day or two won’t cause additional harm. However, sitting water in the basement after it rains can lead to structural damage as well as the growth of harmful mold. Taking care of the problem as soon as possible can better protect the health of your family and prevent further damage.

  2. Shut off any power and gas in the basement. One of the most important reminders for what to do when the basement floods is to never enter a flooded basement when the power is on, as this poses a great risk to your safety. If you are not sure if the power is properly turned off, contact an electrician immediately and do not enter the space.

  3. Wear protective gear. When wading in water in the basement after it rains, it’s important to protect yourself by wearing gloves, boots, and mask. Walking around a flooded basement poses a slipping risk, therefore wearing boots with adequate grip will help keep a sturdy stance in an unstable environment. Having gloves and a face mask on hand will prevent you from coming into contact with harmful substances or spores that may have been unearthed during the flooding.

  4. Determine the source of the water. This step is essential for determining how to address the flooding. Whether from a burst pipe, rainfall, or sewer backup, you’ll need to know where the water is coming from to make the necessary repairs.

  5. Begin the water removal process. The amount of water that has collected in the basement will inform which method to use to remove the water. There are a few options available, such as wet/dry vacuums, sump pumps, or pool pumps. Once most of the water has been removed, grab towels or sponges to soak up any remaining moisture.

  6. Dry off damaged items and discard what can’t be salvaged. If your basement floods during heavy rain, you will likely need to rip up and discard carpeting. This is because it is particularly challenging to fully dry carpeting that has been wet without running the risk of mold or mildew growth. Furniture or other belongings that have been drenched in the flooding should be removed from the basement and moved to a well-ventilated space to dry off.

  7. Ventilate and clean the area. Finally, you’ll want to open any doors or windows in the basement to promote faster drying. Then, wash off any visible dirt that may have accumulated on the floors or walls as a result of the flooding.
  8. Contact a professional. If you don’t know how to stop basement flooding or are still asking yourself why is my basement flooding, contact a specialist to assist you with the process.

I Might Have Standing Water In My Crawl Space. What do I Do?

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

As a homeowner, you likely keep a checklist on hand of all the maintenance and upkeep items necessary to keep your home in tip-top shape. While it’s easy to remember to dust and vacuum, make repairs to the siding of the house, and other jobs that impact the aesthetics of the house, what about maintenance of those places that aren’t as visible? Many of us don’t bother to think about what’s going on beneath our feet, underneath the house. However, paying attention to what’s below, mainly standing water under houses, is essential when purchasing a new home or maintaining the home you have. Read on to learn what crawl spaces are, how water collects in these spaces, and tips on how to fix water in crawl spaces.

What Are Crawl Spaces

Simply put, crawl spaces are hollow areas between the ground and the first level of a house. As the name implies, crawl spaces are just high enough for a person to be able to crawl in, ranging between 1 and 3 feet high on average. One of the primary benefits to crawl spaces is that they allow for easy access to the “guts” of a home, such as the heating and cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical wiring. Having this type of access to these important components to a home prevents costly excavations should any problems arise with these systems. While it is true that basements do serve as an access point for these components of a house, crawl spaces are less expensive.

Another benefit to having crawl spaces in a home is that they prevent moisture from building up in the basement level of a house. Crawl spaces are well suited for particularly moist, coastal regions where water might find its way through holes and cracks and into the basement.

Causes of Standing Water in Crawl Spaces

There are a number of different causes of flooded crawl spaces. One of the most common causes of standing water in a crawl space is humidity from the ground. Many crawl spaces feature an earthen ground of soil, which acts as a sponge for water coming from above or below. Eventually, the water in the soil will rise to the surface. Once this happens, puddles will begin to form.

Another cause of standing water in crawl spaces are issues with a home’s foundation. Home builders will often use inexpensive block foundations during construction as a way to cut costs. However, concrete block foundations often experience cracks and other issues. Over time, these cracks in the foundation can result in water seeping into and collecting in crawl spaces, leading to flooded crawl spaces. Another foundational issue that can lead to water in crawl spaces is the use of stone foundations. Similar to cheap block foundations, stone foundations are prone to cracking, letting air and water into crawl spaces.

Other causes of water in crawl spaces include occurrences of heavy rain, as well as plumbing leaks.  

How to Tell If You Have Standing Water

There are a few tell-tale signs that indicate you might have a flooded crawl space. One of the signs of standing water in a crawl space is wood rot. While dry wood is incredibly durable, when wood is exposed to moisture for a prolonged period of time it becomes vulnerable to fungi that can cause it to rot. As the decay worsens, wood will become soft, discolored, and will begin to smell.

In addition to wood rot, another sign of a flooded crawl space is the prevalence of termite damage. When water begins to damage the wood in your crawl spaces, it can attract pests such as termites. Termites and other insects that are drawn to water-damaged wood can cause serious issues in a home, resulting in a great deal of structural damage.

Other signs of standing water in a crawl space include “cupping” of hardwood floors, as well as visible mold growth in the crawl space. Molds of a wide variety flourish in damp, wet areas like crawl spaces, where water often accumulates. Once mold grows, there are increased health risks should spores become airborne and find their way into a home.

Impact of Standing Water in Crawl Spaces on Home Value

Standing water in a crawl space should not be overlooked or taken lightly, as the presence of this issue can seriously impact the value of a home. While the standing water itself will not decrease a home’s value, the challenges associated with standing water, such as termites, structural damage, and mold, can significantly affect the appraisal value of a house. Large growths of mold in a crawl space, especially if it is determined that the mold is black mold, can put you and your family at risk for health issues. Further, an overgrowth of mold in a crawl space can require a costly remediation process to remove the mold. If you suspect standing water, crawl space water removal is essential.

How to Fix Standing Water in Crawl Spaces

So how to fix water in crawl spaces? Fortunately, there are steps in the crawl space water removal process to fix water in crawl space issues and prevent future collection of standing water in crawl spaces. One of the first steps in addressing water in crawl spaces is to ensure there is proper ventilation. Dehumidifiers and crawl space ventilation fans effectively keep the level of moisture in a crawl space low enough so that water does not begin to puddle.

Another step for crawl space water removal to tackle water in crawl space is to ensure gutters and downspouts are installed and well-maintained. These systems are designed to direct the flow of water away from the home, therefore it is essential that they are kept in working order to prevent standing water in crawl spaces. If repairs are needed, they should be completed in a timely manner.

Additionally, to prevent standing water in crawl spaces, homeowners should equip the house with interior and exterior waterproofing, and install encapsulation systems to create a barrier between crawl spaces and the ground below. 

Taking the time for proper crawl space water removal and to adequately protect your crawl space from moisture can save you money on potential repairs, while also ensuring your home maintains its value over time. Contact a specialist today to discuss standing water under houses and learn how they can help fix existing problems and prevent future occurrences of standing water in crawl spaces.

Water Removal Services for Your Atlanta Home After a Toilet Overflow

3/19/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Removal Services for Your Atlanta Home After a Toilet Overflow Toilets can easily overflow causing a great deal of damage if it is not caught quickly. Contact SERVPRO right away after an event for best results.

Team SERVPRO Arrives on the Scene With Equipment to Dry Out Your Water Damaged Home

An overflowing toilet is one of the leading causes of water damage in homes in Atlanta. The damage can be immense, whether the tank malfunctioned or there is a clog in the bowl. The damage can be even worse when the bathroom is on an upper floor of your home and water flows down to lower levels of your home. You could be looking at damaged insulation, ceilings, flooring systems, and water inside wall cavities as well.
 
A water damage emergency in Atlanta such as this requires immediate attention. Not only do you need water removal services to get rid of the water, but you need help restoring your damaged home as well. Our SERVPRO staff has all the needed training, experience, and professional tools to do the restoration work for you in a timely fashion.
 
We identify the scope of the damage after arriving at your home, both seen and unseen, by using hygrometers and moisture detectors. We also help you as the homeowner overcome your feelings of helplessness by explaining the whole remediation process to you before we begin and as we go along.
 
SERVPRO staff then extracts all the excess water with heavy-duty, truck-mounted pumps. We remove as much of the water as possible so that the drying process is easier. Once this is done, professional strength dehumidifiers and air-movers are used to finish the drying process. Depending on how much damage the water has created, some materials like subfloors, flooring, drywall, and ceiling materials might need demolishing and removing so that we can salvage the substructure and framing. Doing this also helps prevent mildew and mold from growing, and we can dry the structure out more thoroughly as well. We also separate and store your personal property and salvage what is possible.
 
Once everything is dry, we also clean and sanitize the affected areas to keep bacteria and mold from growing. We can then do any rebuilding that is necessary. We work alongside professional contractors when this step requires a good amount of construction. When this is complete, we can then put all your personal belongings back in place.
 
SERVPRO of West Atlanta/Downtown wants to ensure that your home in Mechanicsville, Downtown Atlanta or Reynoldstown is thoroughly dry again after a water disaster. Give us a call at (404) 835-0200 as soon as you experience any water damage emergency so we can get your home back in order.

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Sewer Back Ups Can Create Substantial Water Damage in Your Atlanta Home

1/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Sewer Back Ups Can Create Substantial Water Damage in Your Atlanta Home When a sewer backup causes damage to your home you can rely on SERVPRO to quickly and safely restore the affected areas.

SERVPRO Can Restore Your Home Safely after a Sewer Backup

Every homeowner can likely express their gratitude for having indoor septic plumbing for their house. While these systems can go for years without the slightest hint of trouble, they are by no means impervious to damage and malfunctions. Most homeowners do not fully appreciate the fragile nature of the necessary flow of the pipes leading out to your area’s main sewer lines or septic system for older homes throughout the region. When this avenue of discharge becomes blocked or plugged off, you can end up with quite a mess on your hands.

Sewer backup is one of many scenarios that could cause water damage to your Atlanta home, yet this is not a little restoration that you should undertake on your own. Given the condition of the water pouring over the sides of your toilet, traditional cleaning efforts might only scratch the surface of what needs to happen to restore the damage. When you become faced with an emergency situation like this one, you should know whom to call to get the job done quickly and correctly.

This kind of situation is not one that you can afford to wait around with, as it will only inevitably get worse the longer that it is allowed to go unrepaired. Our SERVPRO restoration specialists have the right PPE (personal protective equipment) and equipment to handle all kinds of hazardous waste and help to efficiently remove any excess water from the area using wet vacs and portable pumps.

Drying efforts consist of using air movers concentrated on the presence of remaining moisture in the area. This equipment continues to dry out the affected area until all of the moisture and wetness have gotten evaporated.

Since deodorizing and disinfection plays a critical role in officially restoring the affected bathroom and adjacent rooms, our IICRC certified technicians bring ozone machines or deodorizing dense fog machines. This equipment, when used with skill and precision, can neutralize foul scents on a molecular level and remove germs and bacteria that might be present on surfaces touched by the backup.

In an emergency situation, our SERVPRO of West Atlanta / Downtown team can be there quickly to keep the damage from getting worse and work to restore your bathroom and all of the affected regions of your home back to their original conditions. All you have to do is give us a call; we are available anytime at (404) 835-0200.

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Specialized Services For Atlanta Water Loss

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Specialized Services For Atlanta Water Loss Water Damage from a Sink or Broken Pipe in Atlanta Can Always Count on SERVPRO for Restoration and Cleanup

Professional Water Restoration Has Many Levels of Options

The harm done to building structures and contents varies in its intensity and requires a variety of different strategies to resolve. If all articles, surfaces, and materials are not completely dried, you run an almost certain risk of secondary damage such as mold growth or disintegration of materials like drywall. Our comprehensively trained crews manage just about every water loss circumstance imaginable.
 
A frustrating and devastating consequence of water damage in an Atlanta office or storage area is the soaking of papers and documents. A homeowner’s first impulse may be to dispose of all the wet records, pictures, and paperwork. The likelihood of restoring these types of items may seem very remote to a layperson. Our technicians have the resources to dry many of these articles using advanced technologies and the training received from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC). This service is a great relief to our customers who may never have heard that effective methodologies exist to dry and preserve otherwise irreplaceable items.
 
The techniques used to halt the damage water does to paper, and paper-like products include vacuum freeze-drying and gamma irradiation to sterilize items saturated with contaminated water. Deodorization is also an option. HIPPA Master-certified individuals provide these services, with the added peace of mind of 24-hour surveillance for the security of sensitive documents. SERVPRO employs the same steps used by the Library of Congress and approved by the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) and the General Service Administration (GSA). Your valuable papers are in good hands.
 
An additional service SERVPRO offers is the digitization of your essential documents and treasured pictures and family records. This option is available before a disaster or after we complete the freeze-drying, sanitizing, and deodorizing so that you have a second copy of items nearly lost to water damage.
 
The list of articles that profit from our document restoration services includes papers, books and magazines, manuscripts and files, parchment, blueprints, and maps. Photographs, film, negatives, microfiche, and x-rays all can be saved in digital form. Your important documents and memories are safe from water and fire when you take this opportunity.
 
SERVPRO of West Atlanta / Downtown has the answer for all your water damage needs. Consult with us at (404) 835-0200 to review the options available to save your documents and keep them secure into the future.

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