When you notice water damage in your West Hartford CT home or business, stop the source of the water immediately, remove standing water and dry off those damaged materials and much as possible, and then quickly arrange for professional water damage and mold remediation services.
To better understand how to protect your home from water damage in West Hartford CT and what to do if this damage has already occurred, note a few common causes of residential water damage, and why even a small amount of moisture is so damaging to your house.
What Causes Water Damage in a Home?
The most common causes of water damage and resultant mold growth in a home include:
- Leaking pipes. Drywall and the wood that makes up a home's framework can absorb even a small amount of water coming from a cracked pipe or plumbing connector, leading to water damage and future mold growth.
- Burst pipes. Drywall, carpeting and carpet padding, timber subflooring, and other such materials in your home quickly absorb water from cracked or broken pipes.
- High humidity levels and trapped humidity. Excess moisture in the air doesn't always dissipate, but humidity in your home may be absorbed by walls, carpeting, ceilings, and other surfaces and materials, leading to water damage. Mold is also likely to grow in spaces that don't get much light, such as an attic or crawlspace.
- Roof leaks. Rain, snow, and morning dew make their way through even the slightest cracks and holes in a roof. Roof rafters, as well as attic walls and flooring, then absorb this moisture.
- Leaking or damaged appliances and household items. Water can leak out of a cracked clothes washer or dishwasher hose, or a toilet, window air conditioner, old water heater, refrigerator, and the like.
- Flooding. Your home doesn't need to be under a foot of floodwaters to suffer severe water damage! Even a small natural flood in your area or a flood from a broken aquarium, waterbed, or other such household items can cause a tremendous amount of damage to the home's drywall, baseboards, carpet and padding, timber floors, and all other materials.
What to do About Water Damage in a West Hartford CT Home
The first thing to do when you notice water damage in your home is to stop any continuing source of that water. For example, if your home has a burst or leaking pipe or a leaking toilet, shut off the water valve connected to that pipe or fixture. If there is flooding in your area, put rolled-up towels at the base of entryway doors to block those floodwaters from coming into your home.Your next step is to remove as much water from the damaged area as possible:
- If a burst pipe has caused a basement flood, use a sump pump to pump that water outside the home, or into a utility sink or bucket you can empty.
- If carpeting has absorbed floodwaters, pull up the carpet to fully expose the padding underneath. Use a commercial dryer or heavy-duty fan meant for such floods and keep it trained on that damp area.
Put a powerful dehumidifier in attics, a basement, or other such areas of trapped humidity.
Why Call a Professional for Water Damage Remediation in West Hartford CT
After doing everything you can to remove standing water or humidity from your home, you need to call a professional to inspect your home for water damage and potential mold growth as soon as possible.
- Building materials may not be structurally safe even after having dried out. Water absorption can soften wood framework, timber subflooring materials, and drywall, and this lack of structural integrity can lead to eventual cracks, splits, and other such damage.
- A water damage specialist can look for potential water damage in areas or along materials you might overlook, such as a home's insulation, grout or caulk under tile flooring, or under carpet padding.
- A professional inspection will also examine electrical wiring, sockets, outlets, and other connections, to ensure they're safe or to note if they need replacing because of water damage.
- Wiping down condensation on windows or along walls is not enough to remove trapped humidity in a home. Drywall and other building materials need to be cleaned and dried along the home's framework or structure and not just on their visible side. Replacing these materials may be necessary if they've gotten very soft and already show signs of cracking.
- Replacing carpeting or carpet padding before those materials or the home's subfloor are thoroughly dried can trap water and humidity against the floorboards. In turn, mold and mildew might develop under the carpeting, and the subfloor might suffer even more water damage.
Patching over water damaged areas of drywall and other such building materials or trying to brace up a subfloor with shims is not typically sufficient. Patching materials and shims are not strong enough to restore the structural stability of these materials, so that cracks and other damage may then spread along a home's walls, floors, and ceiling.
Professional water damage remediation to a West Hartford CT home may involve cutting out entire sections of drywall, baseboards, or crown molding, and outright replacing those materials. Replacement of damaged carpet padding might also be needed.
Vacuuming water damaged carpeting is also typically very ineffective at removing mold spores or mildew along the base of carpet fibers. Professional carpet shampooing will thoroughly clean those fibers and kill hazardous mold and mildew. Residual dirt, grit, silt, dust, and other debris that may have gotten deposited onto carpeting during a flood also require a professional shampooing to remove thoroughly.
What to do About Mold Growth in West Hartford CT
Never try to address mold growth in your home by yourself. You can clean small areas of mold along shower tile with a bleach solvent, but mold that is growing along drywall, baseboards, ceiling tiles, and other such areas will need professional remediation.One reason to call a professional for mold growth removal in West Hartford CT is that mold may be growing on the underside or inside of walls and other such surfaces. Cleaning just the mold you see won't remove spores from inside the walls! In turn, you can often spray lots of cleansers along a wall or ceiling and assume you're eliminating mold while those spores are just continuing to grow and spread in your home.
Mold spores are also very hazardous but difficult to avoid when cleaning water damaged areas of your home. Scrubbing at molded materials can allow those spores to become airborne, and they can then escape through cracks and crevices in walls, ceiling tiles, and other such surfaces. Breathing in those spores can lead to damage to your sinus tissues and lungs. Professional mold remediation will ensure that all traces of mold are removed from your home so that it's safe for you, your family, and your pets.
Preventing water damage and mold growth in West Hartford CT
Note a few tips for preventing water damage and resultant mold growth in your West Hartford CT home:
- During winter, leave a faucet just slightly dripping so that the water in your home's plumbing pipes keeps moving and won't freeze. It's good to choose a tap that is away from the home's water heater; a faucet in an upstairs bathroom, for example, can be a good choice. Open cabinets under sinks so that the surrounding warmth in the room will help keep those pipes from freezing.
- Have your home's pipes and water heater inspected for potential leaks on a regular basis.
- Avoid making your plumbing repairs, as even a small mistake can lead to significant water leaks and other such damage!
- Use a dehumidifier regularly in areas that trap moisture and humidity, such as an attic, crawlspace, back room of the home, or basement. Check your home's roof vents as well and ensure they're clear of obstructions and are allowing out that trapped humidity.
- If you cannot safely hook up an electric dehumidifier in specific areas of the home, opt for products that absorb moisture in the air. Humidity-controlling products will contain silica, clay, and other such substances that naturally attract water around them, preventing that humidity from being collected by your home's drywall and other building materials.
Avoid shampooing carpets on your own. Not extracting all traces of water and steam used to clean carpets can lead to water damage under the padding and along the home's subfloor, as well as resultant mold and mildew growth.