Water Damage Restoration: The Dangers Of Water Damage

A bicycle is parked in a flooded parking lot, illustrating water damage.

Anyone who’s ever had to cope with water damage needs to know that it can be a frustrating experience. When it comes to dealing with it, the inconvenience is only the tip of the process, and there’s much more to that. As a matter of fact, water has surpassed all other types of risks to become the most significant threat (read more) to property owners today. In recent years, most homeowners file three times more likely for water damage than they are to file a claim for theft and twelve times more than for fire damage. Most likely, these issues may not be apparent until it’s too late.

In most cases, water damage can cause extensive property damage. It wreaks havoc on carpets, flooring, walls, electronics, and other personal belongings. Even worse, when you have no time to deal with water damage restoration, mold, for example, will begin to grow in as little as 24 hours, even with the—smallest—standing water present. As a result, there are a variety of potential dangers and structural problems that can arise.

A house is reflected in the water of a pond.

1. Rampant Formation Of Mold And Mildew

Let’s start with these culprits of all hazards: bacteria, mold, and mildew. As mentioned, mold can begin to grow on water-logged items, possibly in as short as 24 to 48 hours after a flood has taken place. This can harm everything from carpets to clothes and dry walls to ceiling. The presence of mold does not only cause destruction to the structural integrity of your home and to your valuables, but it can also be hazardous to your health. 

It may bring a breeding ground for mold to lay their eggs since the only thing they require to develop and thrive is a damp, moist environment. These can cause a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, worsened allergies, and chronic headaches, to name a few.

2. Weakened Structure

Moisture has always been the most common cause of structural degradation. Whether it’s ice, snow, wind-driven rain, or vapor, they can all harm building materials, let alone because of water damage caused by floods or leakage. Hence, if you need water damage removal in Los Angeles, it might be helpful for the prevention of further structural damage. Especially since masonry units and mortar can crack because of unwelcome moisture intrusion, it immediately leads to weakened structure. 

As a result, when liquid penetrates brick, concrete, or natural stone, the surface temperature can cause your home’s structure to peel, pop out, or shave off. Simultaneously, excessive moisture can also lead to wall rot, which can be eyesore-looking and unhealthy. It can also cause the insulation to collapse and interior finishes to become stained.

3. Damaged Electrical System

Any unwelcome fluid that enters your home can be hazardous. Water damage combined with electrical wiring can pose a serious safety hazard— particularly a fire hazard, especially if electrical equipment is re-energized without conducting a thorough evaluation.

4. Musty Odor

It is one of the first signs of mold or a persistent leak in your home when your home begins to smell musty after an event like flooding has occurred. It has a smell similar to something old, rotten, or stale, and it usually emanates from dark, humid, and warm environments. Most of the time, the odor is caused by water damage, which can be found in crawl spaces, under sinks, in the bathroom, in the attic, or in the basement.

Identifying The Source Of Water Damage

A view of a canal with colorful buildings alongside water.

It is recommended that you do everything you can to prevent or slow down liquid entry into your home or office building. It can often avoid severe destruction if it is detected early enough. 

Water damage doesn’t only happen due to natural events like floods or hurricanes. In fact, it can also occur due to pipe leaks, or any leaks—even the smallest ones—can cause damp areas or standing liquid to form, hence, causing further damage. 

Aside, the liquid may be sourced from other locations. In most homes, there are three different types of flowing liquid. 

Category No. 1: Clean Water

This category is the easiest to restore/repair because they’re considered “clean.” Hence, it is doubtful for them to contain harmful bacteria and is likely to have come from a relatively sanitary or natural liquid source. It is typically caused by a faulty appliance, a malfunctioning sprinkler system, a leaky pipe, melting snow, or rainwater.

While they are considered the safest and cleanest, they must be adequately removed as early as possible. Otherwise, mold and mildew may develop. They can be removed by yourself, but you can also seek help if it is left unaddressed for a long time (check here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_damage#:~:text=Class%20of%20water%20damage%20is,to%20dry%2Ddown%20the%20structure).

Category No. 2: Greywater

Greywater damage is considered dirty and unsafe because it originates from an unsanitary source or has been left unattended for a longer duration. Greywater can include things like toilet water and washing machine water, among other things. Hence, they contain biological or chemical hazards such as urine, cleaning agents like detergent and dishwashing liquid, blood, and so on. 

When cleaning category 2, you must protect your hands by wearing gloves. Otherwise, you may become ill or experience irritation. Wearing protective gear prevents your skin from coming into contact with the liquid and aids in preventing the disease from spreading to others. While greywater may not be much of an issue, it can still be considered hazardous, especially to small children and pets. 

Category No. 3: Blackwater

Blackwater is the most destructive type of water damage, as you can see here. Chemicals, pathogens, pesticides, and other harmful biological and/or chemical bacteria are commonly found in the contaminated fluid after a natural disaster or when raw sewage is present. Blackwater does not appear “black” in color, but it contains unknown contaminants from floodwater or ocean liquid. 

In this category, it is a must to seek professional assistance. They are detrimental to your health, especially when you’ve come in contact with them. Since they are already dirty, they are already susceptible to the formation of bacteria, mold, and mildew. It is crucial to have them removed as early as possible. 

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