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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Does Water Damage Happen Immediately?

5/26/2021 (Permalink)

Water is one of the most destructive forces on Earth

It only takes a small amount of water to cause extensive damage, but just how quickly does that damage occur?

While some of the effects of water are immediate, there are other effects that may take days or even weeks to become apparent.

The extent of water damage depends on how long the water is allowed to stand or accumulate, but even after you stop the immediate cause there can still be lingering effects.

For this reason, it is imperative that you recognize exactly how water can affect your home and how to properly clean up after a water related emergency to prevent further damage.

Water Damage Within Minutes

The first signs of water damage will be to carpeting, fabrics and furniture items that come in contact with standing water. Porous materials like carpeting, fabric and paper will soak up and retain water, causing them to become discolored and begin to swell. 

Furniture that is standing on carpeting will begin to leech and stain the carpeting.

The first step in repairing the damage is to identify the source of the water and resolve it if possible.

In the case of a burst pipe or leak, shutting off the water supply to your home should do the trick.

If the cause is flooding from a storm then you’ll need to wait until the storm is over and begin removing the standing water as safely and quickly as possible.

Water Damage Within Hours

Even if you are able to quickly cut off the source of the problem, damage can still occur within hours of first contact with water.

As the humidity level rises, odors become apparent and fabrics that are not colorfast will begin to bleed, potentially staining other materials they come in contact with. 

Furniture and other wooden objects begin to chip, peel and swell.

In order to mitigate the damage to furniture and other wood surfaces, steps should be taken to remove the items and begin drying them out as soon as possible. 

In most instances, you’ll want to proceed cautiously, allowing the items to air dry to prevent the damage from getting any worse.

If the damage is too severe, items may not be salvageable.

Water Damage Within Days

By far the biggest risk related to water damage is the growth and spread of mold and fungi.

Mold requires moisture to grow, so as soon as surfaces become wet they provide the perfect environment for mold. 

Mold will begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours after water exposure occurs and once it begins to grow it can spread rapidly and may cause health effects.

After flooding occurs, you’ll need to confirm that conditions are safe in order to begin cleanup, which includes checking for signs of mold growth.

The EPA has guidelines to follow in order to determine the safety of any structure for flood cleanup. 

Other damage that can occur within days of flooding includes severe warping and cupping of wood floors, blistering of paint and peeling of wallpaper as adhesives start to release.

Wood structural beams and other underlying parts of your home may also begin to swell, warp and split.

Water Damage Within Weeks

The damage caused by flooding can take as long as several weeks to become apparent and may be severe if immediate steps are not taken to thoroughly dry and clean the affected area.

To prevent spread, you should have your home’s HVAC system thoroughly checked and treated as this is the primary way that mold can infect an entire house.

Structural beams, floors, and ceilings may be drastically affected, making the home unsafe for occupancy.  

The Red Cross recommends carefully checking your home for any structural damage after a flood before you begin the cleanup.  

Trust The Pros To Make Repairs

Water damage can be devastating and it can continue to be a problem long after the immediate emergency is resolved.

To protect your home and family against the lingering effects of water damage, you need to ensure that the affected area is completely dried and cleaned.

While you may be able to handle some of this process yourself, you don’t want to take risks and that’s why it’s important to hire water mitigation professionals to ensure that the job is done right.

At SERVPRO, we’re prepared to respond immediately and we have the expertise and equipment necessary to get the job done right every time.

We’ll remove any badly damaged items and make structural repairs to ensure that your home is safe.

As devastating as flooding can be, not all water damage is immediately apparent.

To keep your home safe, stay one step ahead of water damage by trusting cleanup and restoration to the professionals.

Call (484) 841-6669

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