If temperatures tend to freeze in your area, be sure to protect your pipes. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes using heat tape or pipe sleeves available in your home improvement store. If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage door closed as often as possible. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate. If you plan to spend some time away from your home, leave the heat on and set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees. You can’t control the weather, but you can put up a good fight to save your pipes.

Mold can develop within 24 to 48 hours of a flood, says Ashley Small of FEMA, so remove wet contents, including carpeting and bedding, as soon as possible. If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, it may be salvageable. However, you’ll need to decide whether it holds enough monetary or sentimental value to try to do so. And notify your insurance company before removing items to ensure that you’re not affecting coverage. Always photograph the flood-soaked items.
Damage from long standing water falls in this class, like river flooding or storm surges from a hurricane. It has saturated materials such as stone, brick, and hardwood. These materials have low permeance — meaning they do not soak up liquids quickly. Time is the primary factor in this category. With a higher cost of cleanup and repair, it is important to get problems diagnosed and solved as quickly as possible.
Gray water contains a significant level of contamination and has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Gray water may contain chemicals, bio-contaminants (fungal, bacterial, viral, algae), or other contaminants. Examples include: discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from washing machines, overflows from toilet bowls with some urine (no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic pressure, broken aquariums, and punctured water beds. Gray water that remains untreated for longer than 48 hours may escalate to Category 3.
Category 3 Water - Known as "black water" and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affect the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color.[6]
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