Posted by: Elite Restoration LLC on January 1, 2023

Water Damage after a Fire

When most people think of a fire damage they think of the flames and smoke and odor associated with the damage.  One thing that often gets forgotten is the ensuing damage from putting out the flames.  Water damage after a fire is incredibly common and should always be properly mitigate.

Water After a Fire

If a sprinkler system goes off to put out a fire, it releases approximately 8-24 gallons of water per minute.  A fire hose releases anywhere from 80-125 gallons per minute.  Needless to say, water damage after a fire is an issue.  The problem with water damage is that it’s often less immediately obvious than the fire and smoke damage that has occurred.  Water is tricky and likes to sneak into crevices and cracks and into other places that it can’t be seen by the naked eye which leads not only to direct water damage to the structure, but to possible hidden mold growth from the moisture. 

What to do for Water Damage after a Fire

Make sure the home is safe.  If the fire department was involved, they will let you know if and when your property is safe to enter.

Notify your insurance provider as soon as possible.  You’ll want to make haste with this step because any delays in mitigation will increase the likelihood of further damage.

Contact a restoration professional.  Your insurance provider may refer you to a company or you can look one up.  An IICRC certified professional will help evaluate the extent of the damage and can coordinate the restoration efforts with your insurance company.

A Couple Things to Avoid

Avoid using electronics and electric appliances until you’re sure that nothing is wet. 

Do not use a vacuum to suck up excess water.  If you have a sump pump available that can be used.

Do not enter the home or a room in the home that has structural damage.

A fire is a truly devastating event for any property owner, even more so when you realize the damage doesn’t end with the flames.  Call a certified restoration professional and give yourself a little peace of mind while your damage is being handled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most homeowner's policies cover most water damages, but not all water damages are created equal. There can be a lot of exceptions to coverage depending on the intricacies of your policy. This is why it's a good idea to be familiar with your policy and call your agent right away when damage occurs.

A good portion of water damage can be prevented by proper household maintenance. Routine plumbing maintenance, as well as sump pump and appliance maintenance, are effective ways to avoid preventable damages. If you live in a cold climate, preparing your home for the winter can also help avoid damage. Finally, it's a good idea to regularly check the exterior of your home, particularly your roof, for damage to ensure water isn't unexpectedly leaking into your home.

Identifying the source of the water damage is one of the first steps in both the insurance claim process and before beginning to dry out and repair the damaged areas. After all, if you replace a sagging, wet ceiling that was caused by a roof leak but don't fix the roof, too, the next rainstorm will start the cycle all over again. The buckling to your hardwood floor could be caused by a leaking pipe. We will pinpoint the exact cause of your water damage and make sure the source is repaired. We make sure your restoration job is done right the first time.

That depends on the types of materials that were affected by water. Drywall, carpet, and hardwood floors will take longer to dry than other materials in the space. We use moisture meters throughout the process and in many different locations to gauge the moisture levels and will continue to adjust our fans and dehumidifiers to achieve an efficient but effective dry time. The bare minimum of "three days to dry" may only produce a surface dry, but can still leave behind moisture levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow.

Water damage insurance claims depend on a few different criteria. Ultimately, that's a question you'll have to clarify with your insurance company. However, we can tell you that the viability of water damage insurance claims depends primarily on what caused the damage (storm, burst pipe, plumbing malfunction, localized flood, sump pump failure, etc.). Some insurance policies will outline scenarios that will NOT be covered without specific riders like flood insurance, or sump pump failure insurance.

Contacting a restoration contractor as well as your insurance adjuster at the same time is a good idea because the restoration contractor will help make sure that not only will the water extraction and dry out be covered but the rebuild process that should follow. If the full scope of the claim isn't outlined and agreed upon from the start, there may be issues down the line, and property owners may find themselves having to pay out of pocket to get the property completely back to normal.

Most homeowners start trying to remove the water themselves before they realize they'll need to contact their insurance company about a claim so they can call in a water damage restoration company. However, standing water around anything with a power cord or outlet or sagging ceilings make the area unsafe. Also, many insurance claims require documentation of the loss BEFORE any work is done, including removing the water. Always take plenty of photos of the damage you see before taking any action to start cleaning up the mess. Your restoration contractor will be able to back up your insurance claim scope with the necessary technical documentation as well.

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