Month: August 2020

What To Do After a Water Leak In Your House

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It all starts when you notice a brown spot on your wall or ceiling. Then, you start to notice an odd odor you’ve never had in your house before. Suddenly, you start to notice water pooling around certain areas and spreading around your home. Then, you realize it: you have a water leak in your house.

Water leaks happen from time to time in every house. Roughly 10% of United States households have leaks in their plumbing that can waste up to 90 gallons of water per day. These leaks have the potential to become bigger and cause a large water leak to happen in your home. When you do have a larger water leak, time is of the essence when fixing it. If you’ve never had to deal with a leak before, it can be stressful and overwhelming to deal with. However, if you take it one step at a time, you can get through it. Here’s what to do after a water leak in your house, and how taking the right action at the right time can save you from a lot of headaches.

Step 1: Turn Off Your Water

When thinking about what to do after a water leak in your house, the first thing to do is to shut off the water right away. The less water that leaks, the better, so be proactive about turning off the water as soon as you discover the leak. Find the water valve in your basement and turn the knob clockwise to shut the water off. If you have water that flows to your house via well drilling, the shut-off process may be different so make sure you know how to turn the water off properly.

If you don’t know how to turn the water off, make sure you call someone who does know right away. The longer your water runs, the more damage can be done to your home. Be careful when turning the water valve, too. It could break if you turn it too hard, which means you won’t be able to turn off the water at all. Be quick but intentional when turning off the water during a leak.

Step 2: Shut Off The Electricity

There could be a lot on your mind when thinking about what to do after a water leak in your house. As a precaution, shut off the electricity in your house until the damage has been assessed. You may think the leak only impacts a certain spot in your home, but you never know where that leak could spread. If the water drips into your electric line at all, it could fry your electric or spark a fire.

To prevent this from happening, shut off your electricity right after you shut off the water. Locate your circuit breaker and flip the switch or pull out the fuse box to shut off power to your entire house. Once you identify the source of the leak, you can make a plan for restoring power to your home.

Step 3: Identify The Source of The Leak

The most important step to do when figuring out what to do after a water leak in your house is to identify the source of the leak. This is an essential step to getting the leak fixed as quickly as possible. Look for signs of water damage in rooms that generally use a lot of water, such as the bathroom or kitchen. Examine the floor and walls for dark or wet spots, cracking, bubbling, and puddles of water. The more water damage you notice, the closer you could be to the source.

There could be other areas where the leak could be. For instance, if you have pipes running in your basement there could be a leak you didn’t realize was there. Always check your basement and attic when looking for the source of a water leak. If you don’t, you risk missing the source and damaging your home further. Also, make sure to check the ceiling for signs of water damage. This could indicate that the source is on an upper level of your home.

Once you identify the source, see what caused the source to leak in the first place. Did a pipe burst? Is there a crack in the pipe? Did something become disconnected? This is essential to figure out, as it’ll tell you what the root of the problem is.

Step 4: Evaluate The Damage

As you make your way through your checklist of what to do after a water leak in your house, make sure you take the time to evaluate the damage. Water damage is often obvious, but there could be signs of damage you aren’t aware of. If you notice a foul smell coming from a certain area, brown spots forming along the walls and ceiling, or bubbling along the walls and floors, then you likely have water damage.

You should also evaluate the damage to fixtures and appliances. Check your kitchen appliances to see if any of them short-circuited due to the leak. You should also check your flooring for signs of damage such as swelling and cracking along the boards. If you’re evaluating a basement that has epoxy flooring, look for pooling water and signs of cracking. If you aren’t sure how to evaluate the damage on your own, hire a professional to help you do the assessment.

Don’t forget to check your furniture for damage, either. Water could have dripped down from the ceiling and onto your couches, chairs, kitchen table, or other pieces of furniture. If they are damaged, make sure you record the damage in case your insurance policy covers the replacement of furniture.

Step 5: Talk To An Insurance Agent

The next step in the process is to talk to an insurance agent about the leak. If you have homeowner’s insurance, your policy could cover water leaks and water damage. It may even cover the costs of any emergency plumbing you have to do to fix the leak. To be sure, talk to an insurance agent about your policy so you’re crystal clear on the coverage.

Tell the insurance agent everything that happened during the leak, from where it started to how much was damaged. The agent should be able to pull up your policy and discuss what is and is not covered through your policy. If you don’t have water damage on your policy, you may want to consider adding it on in case a water leak happens again. You don’t want to go through the entire process of fixing up your home just to have a leak happen again and not have it all covered.

Step 6: Contact a Plumber

The next step in going through what to do after a water leak in your house is to contact a plumber. If your pipes are messed up due to the leak, you’ll need plumbing experts to get them fixed. Call a few plumbers in your area and see how they can help you fix your pipes. Some of them may also be able to do backflow tests to make sure your drinking water hasn’t been contaminated.

Be as specific as possible when you’re talking to plumbers about your leak. The more they know about your leak, the better they’ll be able to help fix the issue. Plus, you could save some money by clearly outlining the issue before the plumber comes to your house. The more they know upfront, the less time they have to spend figuring out the issue when they get to your home.

Hiring a plumber is essential when dealing with water leaks. They can fix your issue with one trip and you won’t have to worry about it in the future. If you try to fix the pipes yourself, you could end up making the problem worse. Save yourself the hassle and hire professionals in the plumbing service to do the work.

Step 7: Repair The Damage

As you think about what to do after a water leak in your house, you can’t forget to make arrangements to repair the damage it caused. The water damage may seem cosmetic, but it could be more serious than you think. It may look like a brown spot on the wall, but there could be structural damage to the wooden beams underneath the wall. Contact professionals who can evaluate the damage and help you make a plan to repair it.

Research companies who can do wall repairs, water damage repairs, flood damage restoration, and floor repairs. The more you can get done at once, the better. Don’t procrastinate on getting the damage repaired, either. The damage will only get worse if you wait to get everything repaired. Plus, having a leak or severe water damage in your home can cause a moldy odor to circulate throughout your home. Repair the damage as quickly and efficiently as possible to prevent this from happening.

Step 8: Document Everything

There are a lot of moving parts to keep track of when planning what to do after a water leak in your house. Make sure you keep track of those moving parts by documenting everything. Write down when you first noticed the damage, when you discovered the source, what the source was, and all the damage associated with it.

This documentation is important for a number of reasons. For starters, the plumbers and repair crews will likely ask these questions so it’s important to give them accurate answers. It’s also important for your home insurance company to know this information for policy reasons. And if you ever decide to sell your home, the buyers could ask if there was any previous damage to the property. If document everything properly, you’ll be able to tell them exactly what happened and when it happened. The better you document this leak, the easier it will be to explain why it happened in the future.

Step 9: Clean The Area

One of the most important tips for what to do after a water leak in your house is to clean the areas impacted by the leak. The water leak could cause mold or mildew to form, so be proactive and start cleaning the area when you can. Use the proper cleaning solutions to disinfect the area and scrub out any dirt you see.

If you do notice mold starting to form, call a professional mold removal service. If left to grow on its own, mold can cause health issues such as allergic reactions, shortness of breath, and other severe breathing issues. If toxic mold forms, you could develop even worse reactions. Clean the areas impacted by the leak thoroughly to reduce the chances of mold and mildew forming.

Step 10: Put Preventative Measures In Place

Having a water leak in your house is not something you want to experience twice. That’s why it’s important to put preventative measures in place to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again. Make a pipe and water wellness checklist and use it every couple of months. Evaluate the condition of your pipes, the amount of water you’re using, and how the spots that sustained water damage are looking. The more you check on this, the better chances you have of catching another issue before it gets big.

You can also look into replacing old pipes to prevent a leak from happening again. Leaks can happen if pipes are too old or too rusty, so if you replace them you’ll decrease the chances of a leak happening again. Sealing the leak can temporarily fix the issue, but it won’t do much in terms of prevention.

Home water damage cleanup can be a nightmare to deal with because it always happens at the most inappropriate times, especially when you are on your way to meet up with friends. However, as the saying goes “prevention is always better than cure”, this is the reason why it is always best to know how to avoid it completely. You can detect water leaks in your home before they occur by doing things like ceiling water leak detection, detecting water behind walls, and ask yourself questions like “can a clogged drain cause a leak?”

If you are the kind of person who is skeptical about trying out DIY hacks and would rather call a plumber instead to detect water leaks in your home, then be sure to ask them to show you how to thoroughly do ceiling water leak detection and the best ways for detecting water behind walls before you find yourself swapping your Friday night plans for some good ol’ home water damage cleanup. Besides, getting a professional to teach you how to assess your home will save you from hours of research that might not help you fix that leak, after all.

As you think about what to do after a water leak in your house, remember that while this event is stressful, it will pass. The key is to remain calm, be proactive, and focus on getting everything fixed properly. Take deep breaths throughout the process and remember that it will get fixed. Once it does, focus on making sure it doesn’t happen again so you don’t have to go through it twice. As long as you remain diligent about your plumbing system’s upkeep, you’ll increase your chances of not having to deal with a burst pipe again.

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What You Need to Know About Summer Home Repairs

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summer home repairs

Summer home repairs are often necessary to ensure that your home stays in top condition and you are doing what you can to protect your investment. Summertime can be a prime time for necessary repairs.

Some summer home repairs are unexpected like roof repair after a bad summer storm. Other summer home repairs are done to help improve your home. In all cases, summertime is a great time to update your home, and take care of what needs to be taken care of.

The Most Common Summer Home Repairs Are Actually Not Repairs

Many summer home repairs are less “repairs” and more maintenance that is exclusively needed during the warmer months of the year. A good example of summer home repairs that are more maintenance than repairs is residential mowing services .

Hiring a professional landscaping company to manage things like tree service and lawn care, can be an easy way to pass off some of the maintenance around your home so that you will have time to manage other projects.

Ant control and other pest control services are also one of those things that is more maintenance than repair. Most insects are dormant in the colder months so you really do not have to think about pest control, especially outdoors. You could hire a professional to handle for you, so you are freed up to do other summer home repairs.

There are a lot of activities around the house that are exclusively summertime repairs and maintenance. Getting some professional support with the mundane maintenance that is required during the summer months can help you to have time to design and install those custom patios that you have been hoping to build this summer.

The Most Common Summer Home Repairs that Are Actually Repairs

One of the most common summer home repairs are heating and cooling repair. AC systems are really put to the test during the hot summer months, and if something is going to go wrong, it usually happens on the hottest day of the year.

summer home repairs

There are things you can do to help ease the stress and strain on your system, and avoid having to make that emergency repair call:

  • If your system has filters change them regularly. Changing your filters regularly is one of the easiest ways to keep your system from working overtime. How often should you change your filters? That depends on the size of your household, your manufacturer’s recommendations, and whether you have pets. A good rule of thumb is at least monthly.
  • Get your AC system “tuned up” before the season starts. Good maintenance can help your system to endure the rigors of the demands during the summer.
  • Be kind to your system. If you have a heat pump system, keep in mind that your AC can only lower your indoor temperature by about 10 degrees lower than what the outdoor temperature is, if your system has not been run in a while, move the thermostat down in 2-degree increments.

While you can not control everything that happens with your cooling system, you can take the steps that you need to, to ensure that it is well maintained which can reduce the risk of problems.

Make sure you keep the area around your outdoor unit clear of any debris. Grass clippings, leaves, and other debris can cause problems. Using a water hose, gently spray around your unit to move debris away from the area.

Plumbers are typically busy this time of year as well. Septic issues, clogged drains because the kids are home more, and other plumbing repairs see an uptick this time of year.

Your local roofing contractor also sees a spurt in business during the summer storm season. Taking the steps that you need to, to avoid some of these summer home repairs can include things like:

  • Regular drain and septic maintenance year-round.
  • Have trees that are overhanging the roof removed. Have a regular roof inspection done to help remove any loose shingles and have them replaced.
  • Prepare ahead for storms by securing any lawn furniture, and move other items out the way that can cause damage.

A little prep work can help you to stave off any emergency summer home repairs. Of course, you can reduce risk but it can be nearly impossible to avoid all risks. There are things you can do to help offset some of the costs of unexpected summer home repairs.

Keeping the Cost Down for Summer Home Repairs

Let’s say you have done all the maintenance that you can, and yet you are still in need of unexpected summer home repairs. How can you save some money on those repairs? The answer is pretty simple: shop around for pricing comparison.

It can be stressful when that AC stops blowing on the hottest day of the year, and your desperation to get some relief can mean seriously overpaying for service. Don’t make the mistake of overpaying out of desperation.

Before you pick up the phone to call for service, call friends, family members, and neighbors to get some referrals. Ask who they use, and what the costs and results were the last time they used them. Then call at least three services in your area to do some price comparisons.

summer home repairs

You can save hundreds of dollars by just calling around, and taking the time to collect some information. Another way to save on summer home repairs is to do what you can yourself. Many repairs do require experts like adding electric service to your shed or making repairs to your roof, but there are quite a few repairs you can do on your own like:

  • Repairing fencing
  • Repairing, replacing window screens
  • Replacing indoor and outdoor faucets

There is actually a litany of repairs you can make without having to have a lot of skills. Luckily YouTube and other online channels can deliver a wealth of information and how to’s that can talk you through a lot of simple repairs.

Of course, the big things like asbestos clean up needs to be left to the professionals. You have to find a balance between what you can do and what you will need to rely on a professional to get done. However, you may surprise yourself at how much you can take on, on your own.

Most people are able to carry out simple repairs on their own, and some people are so dedicated they can manage even the big repairs. Find out what you can do, and get busy doing it. The cost savings can be tremendous if you learn how to make at least some repairs on your own.

Don’t Put Off ‘Til Tomorrow What Can Be Done Today

Summer time is normally reserved for fun in the sun, and it can be hard to plan summer home repairs because you want to be outside enjoying life, but you should never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.

One of the easiest ways to keep summer home repair costs down is to address problems as they arise. It can be tempting to put repairs off so you can spend the weekend at the beach, but in almost all cases, necessary repairs only get worse with time. The longer you wait to address repairs the more likely the cost will rise. So invest in those garage door repairs sooner than later.

summer home repairs

Let’s use roof repairs as an example. Let’s say the last storm came through and you noticed some roofing materials in your yard. That is never a good sign. You quickly picked up the parts and went about your day.

A few weeks later while in the attic you notice a wet spot that is seeping through the ceiling. If you would have acted as soon as you noticed that there was roof debris in the yard, you could have avoided damaging the interior of the home.

The longer you wait to make repairs, the more damage you are likely to experience. Of course, the more damage the more cost is associated with the repairs. Never put off a repair. Address the problem head-on, then there will be plenty of time to enjoy the summer fun.

Summer Is an Ideal Time for Certain Repairs

There are some repairs that just cannot be done any other time of the year. A good example is having new windows or a new roof installed. Any type of exterior repairs or improvements are best to be done in the summer.

Why are some repairs best done in the summer? The weather. When you have to make exterior repairs other times of the year, the weather can be a huge consideration. For example, roofing in the winter, or even in the spring can mean being up against inclement weather that keeps the roofers down on the ground.

Exterior repairs in the summertime are easier. The daylight is longer, the weather is more cooperative, and of course, you get to enjoy the fruits of the labor immediately. Repairs like painting, paving, and more just work better during the summer months when there is less chance of bad weather.

There is another benefit of doing summer home repairs. It can actually be more cost-effective. Everyone gets busy around the house in the springtime, which can make it a prime time to hire contractors, and buy materials. As the spring unwinds into the lazy days of summer, the costs may start to dip.

Of course, there are some costs that skyrocket in the summer like the cost of AC installation and repair, or anything having to do with the cost of a pool, but other repairs can be made more cost-effective by having them done in the summer.

Here are some summer home repairs that can be cheaper in the summer:

  • Roof repairs and roof replacement.
  • Concrete paving.
  • Interior repairs and upgrades.

You may be surprised how much savings there can be during the summertime when it is “off-season” for many contractors.

Repairs vs Upgrading

Some summer home repairs are not really repairs but fall more under the renovation or upgrading category. In some cases, fixing what you have is not the best option. For example, an old worn-out air conditioning unit that is running up your energy bill may not be worth repairing.

summer home repairs

Sometimes it is just better to replace what you have. Upgrading to a new unit may cost you more than you want to spend during the summer, but it will pay you back in energy savings and comfort. How do you know when it is better to replace instead of repairing? There are some signs that repairing is not the best choice including:

  • It is not your first rodeo with similar repairs. If you have tried your best to patch your roof together over the years, and have had to have it repaired more than 3 times, it may be time to replace it. At some point, you are throwing good money after bad.
  • You are dealing with outdated appliances. If your AC unit is 10 years or older, and you have had it repaired more than 2 x’s, upgrading to a newer model may be the right answer.
  • If the cost of repairs is very close to the cost of replacement. Sometimes it can be a better option to just go with new.

Summer home repairs should be balanced against upgrading and replacing to figure out what the best value is. If you have to keep fixing similar issues, it may be the better value to just go ahead and replace or upgrade.

Sometimes replacement just makes more financial sense especially when the cost of replacement and repairs is not too far apart. When you choose replacement you get worry-free operation for years to come, so next summer you will not have to worry about repairs.

There are a lot of great ways to save with summer home repairs, but you have to make sure that the savings are going to be worth it in the long run. Now that you know the ins and outs of summer home repairs, it is time to start looking around the house and see what needs to be done.