Health Risks from Water Damage

Water Damage Health Risk and How to Avoid It

To avoid health risks and damage to the structure the clean up after water damage needs to start within 24-48 hours after the damage. Obviously floods due to burst pipe or basement leaks is not a pleasant experience. Moreover, on top of the damage to the property, it has potential risk for you and your family’s health. Here are some tips for those who had their house flooded or still have items that were soaked.

Clean Up

Make sure to clean the flooded area as soon, as possible. If items that have been in contact with water are not cleaned properly or trashed, it can affect the quality of air. Indoor air can be contaminated by microorganisms, which may result in allergies or breathing issues. Water may contain viruses, bacteria or mold. In worst case scenario there may be some dead animals or sewage.

Damage in the Long-Run

Make sure do dry anything that was soaked with water including carpet, drywall, furniture and cabinets. If you don’t dry everything within 24 to 48 hours water may cause long-term damage. The hardest part of drying the area is making sure nothing was missed, as moisture may be hiding in your subfloor or drywalls. Dehumidifier may be very useful in this situation. Mold and odour are signs of the moisture. In some extreme cases there is a need to remove parts of walls and floor to get rid of the moist and mold and avoid mold spreading.

When to Call a Professional?

Flood water can be divided into three categories: clean water (comes from a clean source, i.e. bathtub overflow), gray water (comes from a source that can have contaminants, i.e. rain, melted snow, dishwasher or washing machine overflows) and black water (can be sewage, river floods or ground water, which could potentially contain heavy metals, fungal and other dangerous microorganisms and elements).

In cases when you have a clean water issue, it is not always necessary to call professionals. However, when the flood is caused by gray or black water, it’s best to call professionals like Tornado Plumbing. In case you live in Toronto and your basement is at risk of a flood, you may apply for subsidy from the City.

What Can You Do?

To get rid of the water:

  • Remove furniture and all the other items from the room or area that has been flooded
  • Drain, sweep or pump water from the building
  • Remove all debris

To get rid of the moist:

  • Open windows and doors to improve circulation of the air
  • Use dehumidifier and/or fans to dry the area, if it’s safe to have electrical devices in the area
  • Possibly, there may be a need to remove drywall, insulation, floor or even ceiling to get rid of the moisture
  • Keep the drying process on, until the humidity is down to 40% – 50%