Water can be extremely destructive when it finds its way into places it shouldn’t be.
When it enters a property, untreated water can cause a wide range of issues, from structural damage to severe health problems.
The impact of water damage can be devastating, so it’s crucial to remove standing water and other moisture from a flooded property as soon as possible, as the experts at Pride Cleaning And Restoration, Inc will now explain.
Dangers posed by standing water
Those have just experienced a flood in St Louis, MO, should take precautions when reentering the property.
Not only can the water itself put an individual’s safety at risk, it also creates a number of often hidden hazards and other consequences that might be difficult to detect.
1) Electric shock
It goes without saying that water and electricity don’t mix. After a flood, the risk of electric shock is particularly high in areas where the floodwaters have reached electrical outlets, appliances or electrical equipment.
The first course of action should always be to turn off the mains electricity (but never stand in water to do so).
Standing water itself could also be energized and could shock or electrocute anyone who enters it.
Electrical appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers, fridges and freezers that have been damaged by floodwater are highly unlikely ever to be safe to use again and will need replacing. The same applies to electrical wiring which may have come into contact with water. Once hit by water, these are much more prone to sparking and can lead to electrical shock or even electrocution.
If a property has become flooded and the water has gone above the electrical sockets, a water damage restoration expert should be called in to check everything before switching the power back on.
2) Hidden dangers below the waterline
Standing water can also hide many dangers below the waterline.
Floodwater not only displaces items inside a building, it can also bring in debris and sharp objects from outside.
In order to avoid injury, it’s therefore essential when entering a flooded property to watch out for these hidden hazards and uneven or slippery surfaces.
Category 3 floodwater often carries various contaminants, including sewage, chemicals and bacteria, which can cause infection and disease.
Floodwater can be breeding grounds for germs that cause various nasty and potentially fatal conditions such as cholera, typhoid, leptospirosis, scarlet fever or dysentery. These can enter the body through open wounds, ingestion or inhalation.
Exposure to dirty water also increases the chances of having diarrhea, vomiting, headaches and fever.
Flood cleanup professionals have the personal protective equipment (PPE) and other tools necessary to clean up contaminated water and make a property safe again in accordance with regulations.
Long-term dangers caused by water damage
Even once all of the standing water has been removed, water damage can continue to affect a property in the long term if it’s not fully dealt with.
1) Mold growth
Mold thrives in wet environments and can start to form colonies in a flood-hit property in as little as 24 hours.
Airborne spores attack nearly any type of surface and can contain neurotoxins that cause allergic reactions, some very severe respiratory disorders and other health issues. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions may be especially vulnerable to the effects of mold.
Mold can weaken and damage the surfaces it grows on, including walls, floors and ceilings, which can lead to costly structural damage over time.
It can also damage personal belongings, such as clothing, furniture and electronics, and create an unpleasant, musty odor that can be difficult to eliminate.
To avoid these nasty effects, it’s vital to dry out a property as quickly as possible before mold has a chance to settle. Industrial fans and dehumidifiers can help to achieve this.
2) Structural damage
This is perhaps the most expensive consequence of untreated water damage.
Floodwater can cause significant structural damage to a building in several ways. Firstly, floodwater can saturate the soil around a building’s foundation, causing it to shift, crack or settle. This can lead to structural damage to the entire building.
Secondly, water can penetrate and weaken walls, causing them to bulge or crack.
Thirdly, heavy rain and flooding can cause roof damage, including leaks and weakened structures, which can result in collapse or significant damage.
Finally, water can seep into floors and walls, causing the framing and subflooring to weaken and rot.
Drying out water-hit structural elements can save a lot of expense if it is carried out immediately. If not, to preserve the structural integrity of a building, they may have to be replaced.
Moisture in a property can also attract a number of pests which thrive in wet environments.
Wet insulation and carpeting are prime locations for bugs such as cockroaches, earwigs, moths, silverfish, carpenter ants, beetles and drain flies which can enter through newly formed cracks and crevices.
Rodents may also enter a building if they think there may be water inside.
Removing the moisture as quickly as possible will stop pests such as these in their tracks.
Call in water damage restoration professionals
Flood cleanup specialists understand the risks posed by untreated water damage. They know that quick and targeted action is the best way to limit damage and overall repair cost.
Pride Cleaning And Restoration, Inc are the leading water damage restoration professionals serving communities in the St Louis, MO, area.
Give them a call now on (314) 668-1223 to tackle any untreated water damage.