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Water Damage FAQs

First, make sure you and your family are safe. This may require evacuating the home or contacting local authorities for assistance. If the flooding is from a broken pipe, find the main water valve in your home and switch it off. If you can reach the electrical panel without walking through water, switch off all the breakers. Once this is completed, you can begin the process of drying out your home and restoring damage with help from water restoration experts.

A water restoration company uses water extraction equipment to remove standing water from your home. The next step involves drying whatever got wet, meaning waterlogged floors and walls using large dehumidifiers and fans over the course of a few days. Specialized equipment, such as moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras will determine when the property is completely dry. Next, the damaged drywall, floors, and electrical systems are removed and replaced, and any broken pipes are repaired.

While repairing your home varies depending on the amount of damage caused by the water, removing water and drying out a home typically takes three to four days with the right equipment. It’s important to keep in mind that the longer standing water is left in your home, the more damage occurs and thus the time to repair increases too. The water damage could also result in mold and mildew which could require additional remediation services and reconstruction resulting in the extended length of time for repairs.

Premier Restoration Hawaii employees are Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certified water damage restoration technicians.

You'll want to look for a company that is properly licensed and certified for the services offered and uses modern equipment and water restoration techniques as observed by the IICRC. It is also helpful if this company aids with the insurance claims process.

The cost to repair water damage varies widely depending on a number of factors: the type of water associated with the damage (clean water vs. water coming from a supply or return line), building materials affected, year the property was built (if built in 1980 or prior, the building is likely Asbestos containing), and the degree of personal property damaged. The fact is, NOT drying or repairing a property affected by water damage is more costly than addressing the water damage quickly; the longer you wait to address the damage, the severity of the damage and thus the cost to repair the property increases. On the low end, mitigating water damage in a single-family home can cost from $1,500 to $5,000. On the higher end, mitigating water damage from a return line (Category 3 Water also known as sewer or water with potential bacteria, viruses and other harmful microbials) can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars. Normally, material affected by Category 3 water needs to be removed to return the property back to a safe and healthy space. Costs are compounded if there is asbestos containing materials identified during the mitigation process and if any reconstruction of the property is needed.

Types or categories of water can have a direct impact on mitigation and restoration techniques. Category 1 Water isn’t dangerous and normally comes from a plumbing supply line. Examples of Category 1 water include: water from a leaky faucet, bathtub overflow, leaking “O” ring from an appliance. Category 2 Water may contain bacteria or microbials that can be harmful. This generally occurs when Category 1 Water comes into contact with building materials or flooring… Keep in mind that what started as a Category 1 water lost from a leaky faucet for example, if it seeps through building materials can become a Category 2. Category 2 water can generally be extracted and contacted materials dried without removal or demolition of property. Category 3 Water is generally defined by “anything below the pee trap” and commonly plumbing return line leaks (think broken pipe). Category 3 Water potentially contains pathogens, bacteria, viruses… Common sources of category 3 water include: sewer water, sea water and ground water. The category of water will determine the method of mitigation and restoration. Best practices are outlined in the IICRC Water Mitigation Manual.

All water damage has the potential to lead to mold growth, especially when you're living in an already moist or humid climate like we do here in Hawai’i. Wet floors or walls and standing water can lead to microbial growth within 24 hours. Avoid mold growth by calling a water damage expert right away to extract the water and establish that affected materials are dry.

There are many sources of water damage in the home. The most likely sources are typically infrastructure related such as a broken pipe or toilet overflow. A leaky or damaged roof allowing water to enter during a rainstorm or rising ground water from a flash flood can also lead to standing water in the home.

Water damage can be detected visually or by smell. You may see moisture or water on walls, floors and other affected areas; previous water damage can take on brownish /yellowish, circular stains on the walls and ceiling for example. Warped floors, peeling or bubbling paint, or soft, crumbling drywall are other visual signs of water damage. Another sign of water damage is mold and mildew growth, white or black patches of fuzz or specks on the walls, floors, ceiling, and even on clothing or upholstery. The growth of bacteria such as mold results in a strong, musty smell which is another common indicator of water damage.