The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Damage
Mold damage behind tiled walls in a Norman, OK home's bathroom
When waters flood your home in Norman, Ok, you may not worry about how the resulting damage was caused. However, understanding the difference between secondary and primary damage can help you make smart decisions about the cleanup process. Black mold, for example, may not grow in your flooded home if you act quickly.
Primary damage is anything that happened at the time of the flooding. This can include the following:
- Broken pipe
- Damaged building materials
- Waterlogged furniture
Many residential water cleanup professionals consider primary damage to be anything done at the time of the flooding before the waters stopped flowing.
Secondary damage, therefore, is anything that happened once the initial flood stopped. Often, this type of destruction takes place when flooding is not noticed for days. Black mold can start to grow if stagnant water is left unattended, for example. Slow reaction times aren't the only thing that could cause your home to continue being damaged after flooding has stopped. A poor cleanup technique can also attribute to this destruction.
For example, if your home is not completely dried out, there may still be a higher-than-normal humidity level. This high humidity can degrade fabrics, warp wood floors or encourage the growth of mold spores.
If you want to avoid problems after water damage, you need to make sure to address the flooding as quickly as possible. This quick reaction time gives the water and high humidity less time to wreak havoc on your home.
As a homeowner, you may not care if your home was damaged during a flood or after. After all, you have to repair all of the issues caused, so who cares how they came about? However, understanding that there is a difference between damage caused during a flood, such as the breakdown of ceiling tiles, and damage caused after, such as the growth of black mold, can help you and your residential cleanup crew make smart, fast choices right after a disaster.
Secondary Water Damage Explained
Supply line in a bathroom burst causing water damage in an office in Etowah, OK
If you've had a burst pipe, toilets backing up, or other flooding problems in your Etowah, OK, business, a call to the plumber is only the beginning of clearing up the mess. Significant damage may occur due to the water and excess moisture. It's important for this to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Failure to do this can lead to secondary damage, which can include hidden structural problems and black mold. These can be extremely expensive to eliminate.
What is Secondary Damage?
In a nutshell, secondary water damage is any damage that's not caused directly by the flooding incident. This damage can manifest in a number of ways, including:
- Vinyl and other types of flooring pulling up from the floor
- Finish damage and buckling of wooden floors
- Mold growth, such as trichoderma and stachybotrys chartarum (black mold)
- Sagging and cracking sheetrock or drywall
This secondary damage occurs when the primary damage is not addressed properly, or the damage isn't found for a long while. Lingering high humidity may also be a culprit; if proper dehumidification techniques aren't used, moisture can remain to cause big problems.
How to Prevent Secondary Damage
If you are able to enter the building, you can take some immediate steps to help contain the damage. Ventilate the area as well as possible with AC in the summer, or by opening windows and turning on the heat during the winter. Remove as much water as possible by mopping and moving saturated rugs outside or to another dry area. Remove any items such as furniture, electronics, and documents as well.
The only way to be certain that you won't have to deal with secondary damage is to call a professional water damage restoration company right away. They will immediately do an inspection to assess the extent of the damage, then use specialized equipment to make sure everything is completely dried and disinfected to prevent any spread of harmful pathogens such as bacteria or black mold. They will also be able to make any necessary structural repairs and get your building back to its former condition. Armed with the information outlined above and the help of a professional restoration service, you can make sure that secondary damage is avoided.
Surviving the Rising Waters: Basic Flood Safety Tips
Rainstorm blew off the chimney cap causing storm damage in a Hall Park, OK home
Floods are intense and dangerous. While waters may look calm, don’t be fooled. A mere 6 inches of water can take down a full-grown man, sweeping him into the often unrelenting currents. If you are ever caught in a flood, you should be aware of basic flood safety, and review the five safety tips below.
The first safety tip is to listen to warnings and evacuate if so ordered. Never assume to know better than the government agencies that are warning you. Also, keep in mind that when areas are evacuated it likely means that emergency services will not be available in those areas for the time being.
2. Turn around. Don’t Drown!
If you are unable or unwilling to evacuate your home, then whatever you do avoid areas that are flooding around you and attempt to stay on dry land. The adage of “Turn around. Don’t drown!” is not to be taken lightly. To remain safe during the flood, it is essential that you avoid rising water for as long as possible.
3. Avoid Bridges
While bridges may appear to be dry and stable, if there is fast-moving water directly underneath them, it is basic flood safety to avoid them because they can be washed away with little warning.
4. Listen to Emergency Broadcasts
If you have a radio or cellular service during the flood, be sure to stay tuned into NOAA Weather Radio, EAS, or a local alert system to stay up-to-date on any further developments in your area. These stations can provide valuable information about rescue developments and any new storm surges.
5. Elevate Yourself
The most important element of surviving a flood is to elevate yourself. Try to remain above the rising water but do not allow yourself to get trapped in a room with no exits, like an attic.
While these flood safety tips cover the basics, you’ll want to check with the Hall Park, OK, emergency management office or other experts in your area to verify any other necessary safety precautions.
The Top 5 Hidden Places Mold May Grow
Mold damage on walls in a Norman, OK home
If you smell a moldy odor but see no signs of mold growth, you may need to hire professionals to look for hidden mold. Avoid searching for mold yourself, as you may risk exposure and spread spores. Here are five common places where mold multiplies out of sight.
1. Behind Walls
If moisture is present, mold can thrive behind walls where air circulation and exposure are limited. Never attempt to cut holes in the walls to check for mold. Hire a specialist to inspect the area and determine whether you are dealing with moldy drywall or other damaged building materials.
2. In the Attic
Roof leaks can cause mold to grow in an attic. Regularly inspect this area for visible mold on wood or other building materials. These leaks can also cause mold to grow behind walls.
3. Under Laminate Flooring
Concrete foundations can crack and be exposed to moisture from soil that can cause mold growth. Laminate flooring may not breathe adequately to prevent mold from forming.
4. Refrigerator Drip Pans
A drip pan under a refrigerator collects condensation. As these components are seldom cleaned and remain moist with low air circulation and the potential for spilled food to collect, drip pans are prime locations for hidden mold. Clean out drip pans and the floor beneath at least once a year.
5. Air Conditioning Units
Condensation may also cause mold to grow in air conditioning coils, ducts, or drain pans. This is particularly the case if the unit has not been used for a long time. To prevent mold from spreading throughout your home, it is best to have the HVAC system professionally cleaned.
If you suspect mold growth is occurring in your residence in Norman, OK, contact a certified hygienist or specialist to schedule testing. If mold is found, retain the services of a residential mold remediation company.
What To Do About Water in Your Crawl Space
A wet crawl space can occur even with the best prevention methods.
There are lots of ways a flood can affect your home. A crawl space is underneath your feet, making it easy to forget about. It’s meant to give you access to wiring, HVAC and plumbing, so a wet crawl space can be dangerous. Here’s how you can repair it and not let it sink your week.
Water from flooding can easily move into crawl spaces below thanks to any cracks in the foundation. A professional service can thoroughly repair cracks and ensure that the foundation remains sound. On your own, you can repair leaks and inspect gutters, drainage and grading to make sure they’re not part of the problem.
Clean Up and Take Care
Once you've established you have a wet crawl space, you should remove debris and replace wet insulation. You may also need to take some of the follow precautions to avoid future floods:
? Install a sump pump.
? Insulate cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation so condensation won’t form, as well as to prevent freezing.
? Apply a vapor barrier over the floor and up the wall; condition your crawl space to avoid heat loss, air problems, mold growth and structural and duct damage.
? If you have mold, a professional is equipped to safely and thoroughly handle those issues.
Unlike a home with a concrete slab foundation, with a crawl space, you don’t have to excavate in order to resolve a pipe leak. Being smaller than a basement makes it far easier to handle when there’s flooding.
However, improper ventilation can lead to moisture moving up into the home, rotting structures and a spurring a growth in mold and fungi. To get air moving, you should consider installing the following:
? An air vent leading from your HVAC system
? An exhaust fan to move the air outside
? A dehumidifier
A wet crawl space can occur even with the best prevention methods. A professional water cleanup and restoration service is best able to handle any mold or structural issues that you cannot resolve on your own. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com/.
Is Black Water Safe?
Water damage from a flood in Norman, OK, can wreak havoc on your business.
Imagine that you are exceptionally thirsty and someone offers you some water. This water, however, is full of bacteria and viruses. Do you drink it? Of course, you don’t. Now, imagine your business after sustaining water damage from a flood in Norman, OK. Do you let it dry and return to business as usual? Again, you don’t. Understand the dangers of dirty, black water below.
What Is Black Water?
There are three categories of water damage, including black, gray and clean water. Clean comes from a fresh water source and is not hazardous to your health. Gray is contaminated as it may contain dirt or detergent but does not typically pose a significant risk. Black, however, is the most dangerous of the three:
• Flood water or sewage are the most common sources of this highly contaminated water.
• Infested with bacteria and microorganisms, this type of water should always be avoided by humans and pets.
• Without protective equipment, it is not safe to be around.
How Is Black Water Cleaned?
If the water is so dangerous, you may wonder how your business will ever recover. Professional water restoration specialists wear protective gear including masks to guard against virus inhalation. The process may be time consuming as it needs to be thorough:
• The damaged area is contained, so the water and germs do not spread.
• Professional grade pumps and vacuums remove the excess standing water.
• Porous materials exposed to the contaminated water are removed from the property, including drywall and carpet padding.
• The area is dried, cleaned, disinfected and properly sanitized. Air filtration equipment is used to rid the air of viruses and odors.
Water damage from a flood in Norman, OK, can wreak havoc on your business. The contaminants in the black water can negatively impact your health and safety, therefore as soon as a possible, partner with a professional restoration expert to return your business to pre-disaster condition. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com/.
Dealing With Water Damage From a Commercial Fire
It's an unpleasant fact, but if you've had fire damage your place of business, you're almost always going to have to deal with water damage as well.
If you're dealing with a fire to your Norman, OK, business, chances are you've sustained significant water damage as well. Pipes or water heaters may have burst, and most likely more than one fire hose was used to subdue the blaze. Carpets and upholstery are probably saturated, and there's a looming threat of mold if the situation isn't taken care of right away. You'll need to call a professional fire restoration company as soon as possible to see to the water and fire damage. They will do the necessary emergency cleanup right away to make sure that further problems don't occur.
The restoration company will follow these steps:
• Damage inspection
• Water removal
• Drying and dehumidification
• Cleanup and sanitization
• Damage repair
Before any kind of fire damage cleanup can begin, the restoration company needs to know where exactly the damage is, and how severe it is. They will carefully inspect every part of the damaged structure before any water is removed.
To make sure that no further damage is sustained, any standing water needs to be removed as soon as possible. The restoration company will use industrial-strength pumps and vacuums to eliminate as much moisture as possible. At this point, air movers and dehumidifiers are brought in to purge any remaining moisture.
Cleanup and Sanitization
The next essential step is to make sure that no microbes or mold remain to pose a health threat. Any items that can be saved, such as furniture or office equipment, will be sanitized using a variety of specialized cleaning and disinfecting techniques.
When all the moisture is removed, and all surfaces have been cleaned and sanitized, the final phase of repair and restoration will start. The actual process can vary, from carpet replacement and drywall repair to large reconstruction jobs.
It's an unpleasant fact, but if you've had fire damage your place of business, you're almost always going to have to deal with water damage as well. But with the help of a reputable restoration company, you'll be able to quickly get your business back on track. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com/.
How To Begin Cleanup Before the Adjuster Arrives
Recovering from a flood in Norman, OK can be stressful, emotionally draining and physically demanding. Having flood insurance coverage can help to alleviate some of those burdens. However, waiting to start cleanup until after the insurance adjuster assesses your home could lead to more serious problems.
Why To Start Quickly
Here are a few reasons it is important to act fast:
• Stagnant water houses a variety of harmful bacteria.
• Mold damage begins to develop within the first 24 hours after flooding.
• Delayed cleanup could increase the risk of structural damage to your home.
What To Do
If you experience damage following a storm, there are a number of actions you should take:
• Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Explain the extent of the damage and ask if you can start work before an adjuster arrives.
• Document everything, including conversations with your insurance company. In this case, technology is your friend. Take pictures or videotape the extent of the damage before you remove anything from your home, including water. This will ensure that you get the best reimbursement from your flood insurance provider.
• Remove standing water. This can be done by purchasing a sump pump or dry vac from your local hardware store or by hiring a professional restoration specialist to do the work for you. If you decide to do the work on your own, be sure to wear appropriate protective clothing such as boots and gloves because you will be working with contaminated water.
• Remove saturated objects such as carpets, carpet padding, furniture and clothing. Since these items are made from porous materials, bacteria can remain even after the item is completely dry.
When a flood hits your home, recovering from it can be intimidating. Taking the proper steps early can help prevent more serious flood damage to your home and health risks to you and your family. Check with flood insurance providers in Norman, OK to find out what coverage is available to you.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com for more information on storm damage.
Toss it out: A Guide to Throwing Away Items After a Fire
It’s impossible to accurately depict how devastating a fire can be when it rages through a person’s home. If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of this tragedy, you know what a helpless feeling you can have. In the aftermath, you need to go through the cleanup process and decide what to keep and what to throw away. There are some things you can salvage, while others pose health hazards to hang onto.
You don’t automatically have to throw out all of your food following a fire. However, fire damage at your Norman, OK home can render some things unhealthy. Inspect your food supply carefully following a fire to determine what can say or go. You should toss the following:
• Opened containers or perishable foods.
• Food you stored in thin plastic bags or cardboard.
• Non-perishable food that was close to the heat.
High heat will wreak havoc with your medicine or cosmetics. You don’t want to risk ingesting anything that you know was either in or close to the fire. You definitely should throw away the items if they are charred or have other obvious defects or damage.
Though you hate the thought of having to replace your wardrobe, much of it may be unsalvageable. You may be able to save some items by thoroughly cleaning it. But if there are obvious burn marks, you may be out of luck. Use caution when deciding whether to keep baby clothes.
If a fire at home affected mattresses, your best bet is to discard it. You don’t want to sleep on something that was exposed to smoke damage and harmful materials.
It’s hard to throw away items, especially if they have intrinsic meaning and value. However, you’ll feel better knowing you’re providing a safer environment for your loved ones. Visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com for more information on fire damage.
How To Know If Your Facility Has Mold
No commercial building in Norman, OK is completely immune from developing a mold problem. Mold can occur any time there is excess dampness or condensation inside a facility. If you’re unsure whether there is mold at your commercial property, an indoor environmental specialist can perform a mold test so you can try to catch it early.
First, here are a few questions to consider:
1. Has there been any recent water damage? Moisture is the primary source of mold, so whether it’s a leaky roof or the effects of flooding, any kind of water inside your commercial facility can lead to mold growth.
2. Are the air ducts cleaned regularly? HVAC and other ventilation systems are commonly known to carry mold, so it’s important to find out when they were last cleaned.
3. Is there a strong odor in the building? Sometimes a musty smell means there is mold present. If your employees report an unpleasant odor, it could be the presence of black mold, which is often smelled before it is seen.
Mold can hide in many places indoors, such as under carpet, inside walls and paneling, and in piping and insulation. It has also been found behind wallpaper, but it’s important to be cautious about investigating it without an indoor environmental specialist present; once exposed, mold spores can spread easily. It only takes two to three days for mold to grow indoors. If you do suspect a mold outbreak at your commercial facility, stay away from suspected areas until experts can come and perform the necessary tests.
If a mold breaks out but goes undetected for a long time, the more damage it can cause. That could disrupt your operations and impact you financially. If your building has suffered any water damage, watch for mold signs. The sooner it’s discovered, the sooner an indoor environmental specialist can come in to clean it up.
Visit http://www.SERVPROnorman.com for more information on mold.