Sooner or later, nearly every building experienced water damage. Today is the perfect day to take proactive action and to step outside your home or business and identify potential dangers. Planning ahead can help reduce the impact a water damage loss has on your business. Preparing for a water damage event not only includes having a plan to handle water intrusion but should also include inspection and maintenance procedures to reduce the risk of water damage.
This safety guide suggests ways you can prepare to manage a potential water damage loss and provides some helpful tips you can use when inspecting your business for possible water intrusion areas. The Institute for Business & Home Safety, an initiative of the insurance industry to reduce deaths, injuries, property damage, and economic losses caused by natural disasters, offers the following recommendations.
Windows— Make sure periodic window inspections are part of your maintenance plan. Do the operable windows shut tightly? Are weather-stripping elements in place? Are the exterior joints and flashing systems in good shape? Are there broken panes of glass? Are any of the units “fogged,” indicating a seal failure? Can you feel air blowing through the window? If so, water can get in.
Roofs– Heavy loads of snow and ice can damage your roof, causing water to leak inside your building. This may be especially true for historic buildings because of age and dated construction standards. After a storm, check your roof from the ground. If there appears to be a heavy load of snow, check with your local snow removal contractor to see if he recommends removing it. Clearing snow and ice from your roof can be dangerous—don’t try to do it yourself. If your area experiences hail storms, it is a good idea to check your roof as soon as possible after a storm. You may need to contact a professional contractor to help you inspect these areas properly. Flat roofs require more frequent inspections than pitched roofs.
Foundations and Exterior Walls— Look for cracks in walls and gaps in expansion joints (flexible devices between bricks, pipes, and other building materials that absorb movement). Older brick structures may have aged brick joints that need re-pointing, sealants that may have disintegrated, damaged from acid rain, or cracks due to settling. Have a professional building contractor inspect significant gaps or cracks. The area where the wall meets the ground is high-risk for damaging water intrusion. Building components such as hose bibs, roof drains, and landscape irrigation systems can put a lot of water in the wrong place at the wrong time. So check the following:
Irrigation System and Landscaping— If water sprays against the foundation wall, hire a landscape or irrigation specialist to correct this problem. Consider the effect of a severe freeze, are the pipes well protected from bursting?
Almost every business will eventually suffer some sort of water damage loss. However, having a plan in place before such an event occurs will help you get back to business as soon as possible. You can also prevent some types of water damage by regularly inspecting your property, and making repairs as needed. Should a water damage event occur at your business, be sure to report it immediately to your insurance agent or carrier, so the claims adjustment process can get underway quickly.
At RestoreRite Idaho, we know better than anyone the dangers of water. It can weaken structures, destroy flooring, and without immediate attention, can lead to mold growth in as little as two days.