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Waiting to Dry Your Home Out After a Water Damage Event – Why Every Hour Matters
Article by David Selter
With water damage clean up and dry out, time is of the essence for preventing further damage to keep costs down, and to ensure that your insurance claim is not denied. Water damage restoration companies know that the first 24 to 48 hours are critical to preventing microbial growth and what is called secondary damage.
The nature of water damage is that “wet goes to dry”. So, although it appears that the water damage in your home is limited to specific areas, the water is actually continuing to migrate toward other dry materials. If you dip a sponge into an inch or two of water and stand it on end on a counter top with the wet side down, in a short while the entire sponge will be wet. Even though the water has to overcome gravity, it will wick up the sponge as it seeks out more dry material. In the same way, the water in your house will migrate under walls and cabinets, and wick up walls, insulation, the wood in the framing and cabinets, and your furniture. The longer the moisture remains in your home, the further the water and the damage spreads, and the more likely it is to promote microbial growth including mold.
The moisture in your home will begin to evaporate and cause humidity levels to rise beyond what your air conditioner can handle. It is very important to get the humidity levels down to 40% or lower as soon as possible, which is why high capacity dehumidifiers are critical to water damage restoration. High humidity levels mean that the air in your house is holding nearly as much moisture as it can, and that moisture will begin to condense on the surfaces in the home. An example of this is when you raise the humidity in your bathroom during a shower. You can see the moisture that condenses on your mirror. The moisture condensing on the surfaces in your home will cause damage to those surfaces, and along with the natural amounts of dust in the air, will produce optimal conditions for the growth of mold. The longer the moist conditions exist, the higher the risk of this additional damage to your home and its contents.
Also, if you look at your homeowner’s insurance policy, you will see that you agree that if you suffer a loss, you will take immediate steps to prevent further damage. Failure to do so could result in the denial of your claim because insurance companies don’t want to pay to repair more damage than is necessary. The first thing an insurance company will tell you is to get a restoration company to begin the dry out. They don’t tell you that because they like to spend money. They tell you that because they know it will cost less in the long run to take care of the water damage as soon as possible.
Waiting to dry out your home after a water damage event can be very costly. The water will continue to migrate to dry materials, causing more damage to walls, flooring, cabinets, and your contents. The excess moisture in the air will cause damage to other surfaces in your home including your furnishings, and will also promote microbial growth. And finally, failure to take immediate steps to mitigate the water damage could result in your insurance claim being denied.