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Water Damage

content derived from eHow.com

Water in your home can mean serious problems. Even the smallest of leaks can do great harm to your structure, your furniture and your belongings. Major water damage problems usually require professional clean-up companies who can quickly and properly take care of the problem. Routine maintenance checks of appliances and your home’s structure, from the basement to the roof, will help protect you from having major problems.

Causes

Water damage in homes may be the result of natural disasters, such as storms, which can bring on flooding. Trees and wind can crash through windows or tear up roof shingles and allow water to enter the house. Less obvious water problems can occur through household mishaps, such as appliance problems or structural leaks. Seepage through cracks in walls and foundations, burst pipes and a washing machine or dishwasher breakdown can also be culprits of a water problem in the home.

Effects

Wood damaged by water can warp, crack and require refinishing. Drywall can become discolored and soften. Carpets can be permanently ruined. In addition, dry rot, mildew and mold can flourish if water in the house isn’t completely dried within 48 to 72 hours. Removing wet items that can be salvaged and dehumidifying wet areas will help minimize the possibility that mold will grow after water damage.

In addition to structural damage, one of the biggest concerns is the growth of mold. Mold will damage your house, but it can also trigger allergic reactions and other adverse health effects. It can even lead to more serious ailments including runny noses, coughs, nosebleeds, sinusitis and serious upper respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma.

Considerations

If the water damage is so great that you need help with the clean-up, restoration and water damage professionals have the necessary industrial equipment, such as sump pumps, exhaust fans and wet vacuums, to get the job done quickly and effectively. However, no state or federal agency regulates the clean-up industry, so workers don’t have to be licensed. The Restoration Industry Association lists accredited companies on its website, restorationindustry.org, as does the Better Business Bureau.

Prevention/Solution

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, everyone lives in a flood zone, yet most homeowner insurance does not cover flood damage. The chances of having water damage from a flood are higher than the chances of having a fire in your house. Water damage is one of the most commonly-submitted home insurance claims.