Inspect damaged materials for mold and mildew. Mold can start to grow in the right conditions in as little as 24 hours. For long-term issues, like mold caused by attic condensation, the mold may have started growing a long time ago. And if you find mold and mildew issues, you need to be very careful. Some mold is toxic to humans, and all mold is very damaging to the materials it infests. For small mold issues, cut out the material, bag it, and throw it away immediately. For serious mold issues, get out of the area, shut down any airflow (to avoid spore contamination) and call a professional. And keep in mind that mold can show up in hidden areas like inside walls or under floors, so this inspection and water damage repair will be ongoing.

Wanna keep things really cheap? Do it yourself! In some cases, minor mold problems (less than about 10 square feet of mold) in places like a bathroom corner can easily be handled by a handy homeowner with a free weekend afternoon and a few basic supplies from the hardware store. For more information, see our previous post on the subject: Do I need a Mold Remediation Professional?

Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, flood waters and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks.[3] On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.[4] According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim[citation needed]) costs in the US.[5] Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator icemakers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.
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