Water Damage Los Angeles can have immediate and long-term effects on a property. If a problem is ignored, mold and mildew may grow, and other issues, such as warping and rotting, may develop.
Regular home inspections can help identify potential problems early, such as when the wall or ceiling feels soft or mushy. This is a sign that there is a hidden leak.
The damage to building materials caused by water can be both slow and subtle such as the formation of water spots on a surface or more rapid such as swelling and delamination of composite woods, corrosion of metal components and short circuiting of electrical devices. The damage may also be evident in structural failures such as sagging drywall or warped flooring.
The most obvious sources of water contamination are flooding from storms and burst water pipes, and sewage overflows from appliance failures. However, less obvious causes include faulty waterproof membranes on balconies and roof areas, leaky taps, sinks, tubs and shower enclosures, washing machines, driers and dishwashers, excessive condensation in subfloor areas from underfloor heating and cooling systems and the effects of rising damp on timber flooring and structural framing.
When moisture reaches unacceptable levels, a wide range of contaminants is produced including actinomycetes (fungi) which are associated with hypersensitivity pneumonitis and lung infections; mycotoxins (microbial volatile organic compounds and secondary metabolites) which cause headaches, nausea and other inflammatory symptoms; fungicidal agents that kill fungus but can also damage a human host; sulfates, nitrates, chlorides and phenolic acids which damage paints, coatings and plastics; aldehydes which damage varnishes and lacquers; and ethylene glycol which damages adhesives and paints. These contaminants are emitted into the air and can become embedded in dust, contaminating surfaces, furniture and clothing.
As the water deteriorates building materials, it can leave behind unpleasant odors and unhealthy mold and mildew growth. These can exacerbate allergy and asthma problems in occupants of the building and decrease its value in a property market.
The damage to building materials can also exacerbate existing structural problems such as rot, mould and structural instability. Regular inspections can help to detect problems and allow early intervention. This can save occupants the cost and inconvenience of having to vacate the building until repairs are completed. This can be especially important for commercial and industrial buildings where the loss of revenue due to a temporary closure can be very costly. This can be particularly costly if a building is used to house expensive machinery or equipment.
Water damage can ruin a home or business’s furnishings, electronics and other valuables. Items affected by water damage often require a thorough cleaning and sometimes must be discarded altogether. The emotional and financial stress caused by water damage can also be significant for a family or business.
Water-related property damage can be a result of various factors, including floods, broken pipes, overflowing toilets and malfunctioning appliances. It can also be caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornadoes, or by human error, such as leaving a faucet running or forgetting to close a garage door.
When a property is damaged by water, the owner must determine whether or not they have insurance coverage for the repairs. It’s important to check the terms of a homeowners insurance policy to see what types of damage are covered and if there is a deductible. If the damage is caused by a third party, such as a contractor or neighbor, it’s likely you will need to hire an attorney to obtain compensation from them.
It’s also important to keep in mind that even if you have insurance, the cost of restoration services may not be fully covered. This is because most policies only cover up to a certain dollar amount, so it’s important to document all of the damages caused by water damage to ensure you receive full compensation from your insurer.
If you find yourself dealing with water damage, there are several things you can do to minimize the damage and save as much of your belongings as possible. Start by taking pictures and videos of the damage to record the incident for your insurance claim. Also, make sure to keep a list of all of the items that were damaged and their value and projected replacement costs.
The sooner you act to resolve the issue, the better. This is because mold thrives in damp and dark environments, so it’s crucial to dry the area quickly to prevent any mold growth. Keeping an eye out for signs of moisture, such as discoloration, warping and musty smells can help you spot water damage early on and take the necessary steps to fix it.
Water damage is more than just a nuisance, it can create hidden dangers that affect your health and safety. Whether the water damage is from a burst pipe in the ceiling, poor waterproofing in a bathroom, or even just a flood caused by a storm, it needs to be dealt with immediately. If left untreated, the hidden dangers from water damage can become severe and cause even more problems to your home or business.
Mold thrives in damp environments, and if it isn’t dealt with quickly can spread rapidly and be extremely difficult to remove. When people are exposed to mold for long periods of time, they can develop a number of health issues including respiratory problems, headaches, skin irritations, and even more serious diseases like pneumonia or AIDS. Mold also produces microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOC) which can irritate the mucous membranes of people who are sensitive to them.
Bugs such as cockroaches, silverfish, and carpenter ants are attracted to moist areas and can quickly grow into a problem. They can damage surfaces and leave behind a rotting mess, as well as leave dangerous bacteria in their wake. Fungus and mildew are another problem which often arises from water damaged areas, and can spread throughout the house.
Leaving water damage untreated can cause accidents. Stairs, railings and balconies that have been affected by water can easily break or collapse, endangering anyone who uses them. Water can also affect the stability of walls and floors, causing them to fall apart when exposed to moisture.
Mycotoxins are toxic compounds produced by mold, which can be breathed in when water is present. These toxins can be very harmful to health, and can result in a variety of symptoms including chronic fatigue, poor memory, and depression. Exposure to mycotoxins can be especially dangerous to infants, the elderly, and those with a suppressed immune system.
While it may be tempting to ignore minor signs of water damage, it is essential that it is dealt with immediately to protect your property, your health, and the health of those who live or work in your building. Water damage can lead to a number of hidden problems, which can be expensive and hazardous to your health. By acting quickly and hiring professionals for proper restoration, you can avoid these dangers.
Water damage can lead to myriad problems, some incredibly serious. The resulting deterioration of walls, doors, windows, and appliances can leave the property structurally compromised and vulnerable to additional problems like mold and dry rot. Such damage can also spread to adjacent properties, causing destruction to structures and belongings quite remote from the initial point of entry.
Homeowners insurance routinely includes legal liability for water damage in the form of a special coverage option or in a separate rider to the personal liability section of the policy. This type of coverage typically covers damages caused by unforeseen and unavoidable accidents, such as the sudden bursting of a water heater or leaking air conditioning unit.
In many cases, however, the insurance company might not cover the loss if it is determined that the claimant could have prevented the resulting damages through proper maintenance and upkeep. This might include a faulty sprinkler system, clogged drains, a leaking roof or continuously dripping faucet.
The law imposes an obligation on property owners to minimize damages when reasonably possible, and this is particularly important for real estate that is subject to repeated incidents of damage. This is especially true of recurring problems that might be discovered and prevented through careful inspection and routine maintenance, like watching for drips during rainstorms or checking on the condition of a dripping toilet after each use.
It is also important to keep in mind that the deterioration of a structure due to water damage may be ongoing, even after the initial repairs are made and the affected area is dried out. This is particularly common when mold or dry rot are allowed to continue spreading into previously undamaged areas of the building. Such a progression can ultimately lead to expensive and lengthy restoration and reconstruction projects for the affected homeowner. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider the purchase of legal liability protection for water damage. It is often available as an add-on to commercial general liability insurance policies or can be purchased in a business owners policy (BOP) policy that provides property and liability coverage to small to medium-sized businesses.