Wednesday, March 20, 2019

emergency water damage restoration

emergency water damage restoration

Water damage a reality for many homeowners - Fenton Tri County Times

Posted: 25 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

 Pipes burst, roofs leak and sump pumps fail. There are many ways that water can damage your home, especially during the cold and transitional weather months between January and May.

 "Every spring when it rains, I panic," said one local homeowner who asked to remain anonymous.

 She is not alone in her fear of water damage to one's home or property. In fact, water damage and freezing is the second most common home insurance claim, behind wind and hail damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).

 Locally, there doesn't seem to have been many residential water damage claims so far this winter, even though the Cornerstone building condos and businesses in Fenton have certainly made headlines with their water issues.

 "People are more educated," said Linda Hathaway, owner of Brad Hoffman Insurance Agency in Fenton. "Technology has helped, too. People can remote control their home's thermostat from their smartphone."

 However, winter into spring is the big season for water damage with burst pipes, leaky roofs, ice damage and melting snow. This water damage is No. 1 when it comes to weakening your home's foundation and all that holds your home together. Damp wood invites termites and carpenter ants, and causes mold and mildew — one of the worst byproducts of water damage.

 Not only are mold spores hazardous to your health, they also cause discoloration of your home's walls and ceilings, and rot wood and ductwork. Mold can also cause a foul odor and reduce your home's value.

 Kevin Marsee of Fenton Township, co-owner of Zion Restoration in Brighton, said that the most important thing to do with any water damage is to act fast. "Mold really becomes a problem after 72 hours," Marsee said.

What to do

 Shut down the water source and assess the damage quickly. "Clean" water from rain, condensation or leaky pipes is relatively harmless and may be easy to clean up on your own, depending on the scope of the damage.

 "Gray" water, slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, etc., may have some contaminants, but you can clean it up if you use proper safety gear to protect yourself.

 "Black" water, such as sewage or serious flooding from nearby rivers, contains waste, bacteria and other serious contaminants. This water damage cleanup requires water damage repair pros.

Who to call first

 You can call either a damage restoration company right away, or your insurance agent, who may offer a referral of a reputable expert to mitigate your problem, Marsee said. "If it's a small cleanup job, we can come out to let you know if it may be worth making a (insurance) claim," she said.

 Kristen Steele, owner of AAA The Steelman Agency in Linden, advises homeowners to do what they can to stop the damage, and then reach out to their insurance agent if they feel the damage might warrant a claim.

Will insurance cover the damage?

 "Things like burst pipes, a plumbing failure and roof leaks are covered under your typical homeowner policy," Steele said. "But a water backup from a sump

pump failure isn't covered unless you have a water-sewer-drain endorsement. Homeowners need to have an open conversation with their agent, before a water emergency happens."

 Depending on your insurance rating, this endorsement will cost between $50 and $120 per year, she said. "Having this endorsement will also increase your personal property endorsement, meaning you may have more funds available to replace your furnishings," she said.

 It's important for homeowners to understand they need to have a policy with replacement cost coverage. Otherwise, your insurance company's claim department might factor in the age of materials and appliances.

How to prevent water damage

• If you're going to be away from home for a weekend or longer, shut your water off.

• Have someone check on your home while you're on vacation or if you own a vacant home.

• Have a backup sump pump or generator if your sump pump runs a lot.

• Preventative maintenance and periodic investigations can help prevent problems. Take a walk around your home to look out for issues.

• Check your basement for signs of trouble. Just like a car, houses start sending signals early on that trouble might lie ahead.

• Check insulation. Many frozen pipe issues occur because of inadequate insulation.

• To protect stored items in your basement, make sure they are stored in tightly sealed plastic tubs and kept off the floor.

SOURCE: Kevin Marsee of Zion Restoration

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