Chatsworth, CA -- One of the most common reasons for an insurance claim in a commercial or residential property is due to water damage. Water damage can be caused by many factors, including natural flooding events, leaking roofs and windows, indoor plumbing leaks and even sewer backups.
The presence of water indoors can damage or destroy building materials, furnishing and belongings, and in some circumstances can even result in structural damage. Depending on the source of water, it may contain bacteria, mold, viruses and chemical contaminants.
“Even water damage due to clean water can result in the growth of mold indoors in less than 48 hours if materials are not properly dried,” said Franco Seif, President of Clark Seif Clark. “Once mold begins growing indoors it can quickly cause air quality issues for building occupants. Mold is a known allergen, respiratory irritant and an asthma trigger. Some molds produce toxins, known as mycotoxins, and some types of mold can cause infections in people, especially anyone with a weakened or suppressed immune system. The dose-reaction relationship is not known at this time and for that reason, it is best to cleanup mold as soon as possible.”
While there may be limited things property owners and managers can do in flood prone areas to prevent a natural flood, there are precautions that can be taken to prevent water damage from many other sources. They include the following:
- Check basements and crawl spaces for signs of leaks, moisture and elevated humidity levels.
- Inspect any exposed plumbing for signs of condensation, corrosion and leaks.
- Consider having the property’s sewer line inspected for signs of failure and existing blockages to prevent a sewer backup.
- Regularly check washing machine hoses and be sure to replace them if there are any signs of cracking or bulging.
- Inspect ice maker connections for signs of damage and replace when necessary.
- The water heater should be regularly inspected for signs of leaks and corrosion. Drip pans installed below the water heater that drain to the outside can prevent costly damage. Check the life expectancy of the water heater and consider replacing it at the end of its useful life.
- If the property has an air conditioner, be sure the drain lines are not clogged.
- Check under sinks, garbage disposals and around tubs and showers for any signs of leaks.
- Inspect around drinking fountains and toilets and check the toilet’s internal components for any signs of leaks, wear or damage.
People who have experienced water damage or suspect it may have occurred in the past can turn to the building science and indoor environmental quality professionals at Clark Seif Clark. Their staff of experts can identify, resolve and help to prevent water damage, mold growth and indoor air quality issues. Clark Seif Clark also recently sponsored an educational video about common interior sources of water damage that can be seen at: http://youtu.be/amCCFegjIcs
About Clark Seif Clark (CSC)
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address environmental, IAQ, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.