What To Do If You Have Commercial Water Damage
Water damage to commercial space is scary. It can force you to halt services, poses a huge liability, can lead to a loss of revenue, and is a major ding to your reputation.
The situation may not be in your control, but the remedy definitely is. Here’s what to do if you experience commercial water damage to get back to business ASAP.
What Causes Commercial Water Damage?
To address the source of a problem, you need to understand it. Here are the most common causes of commercial water damage your business could encounter.
When protecting your property from water damage, it’s imperative your building has a sturdy, well-maintained foundational structure. Over time, the normal wear and tear of business can lead to cracks in your building’s foundation. Water can seep through these weak spots, exposing you to the risk of water damage.
A common issue businesses face is unclogged gutters. While cleaning gutters may seem like a small, menial task, water can build up and gradually leak through the roof or walls of your building. Without an intact, functioning drainage system, something as simple as a heavy rainstorm could lead to serious issues.
A clogged sewer line can also lead to commercial property water damage. Learning the signs of a clogged sewer is key to remedying the issue quickly.
If your toilet is gurgling or struggles to flush, this could point to a clog. Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for wastewater pooling in sinks or tubs.
Not only can this type of backup lead to damage, but it can pose serious health risks by exposing people to biohazards and pathogens.
While it may seem obvious, leaks are a primary cause of water damage in residential and commercial properties. But because not all leaks occur out in the open, they can be hard to identify. It’s common for hardware, particularly piping and sprinkler systems, to erode as they age. Cold temperatures can also lead to frozen pipes, which tend to burst.
To be on the safe side, your business should make a habit of regularly inspecting plumbing and sprinkler systems to ensure everything is in good working order.
HVAC systems are responsible for cooling and heating a space by moving air through various ducts. As the ducts age or become damaged, they might begin to leak. Plus, condensation can build up inside the system and needs to be manually removed. As a preventative measure, your HVAC system should be routinely cleaned and maintained.
According to the United Nations, most natural disasters are water-related. From hurricanes to tsunamis, water plays a critical and often deadly role in severe weather. And as the planet continues to heat up, these disasters won’t stop any time soon.
Commercial and residential properties alike can be majorly affected by natural disasters. If you live in a storm-prone area, investigate what types of damage your insurance will cover and prepare your property as much as possible.
What To Do if You Experience Commercial Water Damage
First, don’t panic. Detecting water damage can be overwhelming, but there are a few concrete steps you can take immediately to help.
Locate the Source of the Damage
If you’re unsure where the water comes from, step one is to identify the source. Leaky pipes, holes in the roof, or even poor insulation can lead to water damage. Start at the wet area and work backward to locate the source, if necessary.
Shut Off Water
Once you’ve located the source of the damage, you must prevent any new moisture from gathering. If the water comes from an internal structure, like a pipe, turn the water off.
If the damage, however, is from a flood or other natural disaster, you may not have any control over the onslaught of water. In this case, do what you can to prevent new water from entering your space. For example, you can put towels along doorways to soak up water.
Contact Your Insurance Company
It is common for insurance policies to cover the costs of water damage. The extent of coverage, though, differs. For example, some agencies may cover damage due to a natural disaster but not a burst pipe, while others may provide a set amount of money for repairs but nothing more.
Regardless of your policy, you must report the incident to your insurance agency. Take pictures of the scene and document the event as much as possible, in case this information is requested later.
Call in the Experts
Still feeling overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Commercial water damage can put a serious dent in business. To get your company back on track as soon as possible, it’s wise to call in a restoration expert, like us. We can ensure your property is structurally sound and safe to re-enter while fixing the source of the water damage for good.
What Are the Risks Associated With Commercial Water Damage?
Water damage is more than a nuisance: it can cause real harm to your business, workers, and customers. Here are some of the biggest risks.
Immediate Safety Concerns
While it may seem obvious, the immediate safety of workers or customers is at risk when water damage occurs. Wet surfaces can increase the likelihood that someone will slip and fall, while also diminishing the stability of workplace equipment. Structures, like walls, can also lose integrity when exposed to too much water, which can quickly make the building unsafe for occupants.
Long-Term Health Risks
Where moisture lingers, mold grows. Even if it seems like you’ve removed all the water from the damaged area, there’s still a chance that mold may begin to form. Mold exposure affects everyone differently. While some people have no symptoms, others may experience difficulty breathing, itchy eyes and skin, or fever. Children and people with asthma are especially vulnerable to the harmful health effects of mold.
If you notice a musty, damp scent in an area that has recently been subject to water damage, vacate the space and have a remediation expert come in to assess the situation. With human health on the line, you can never be too cautious.
Depending on the cause of the water damage, there could also be exposure to biohazardous water. For example, sewage water from toilets or even water with chemicals from a dishwasher or shower could pose risks.
Water damage can wreak havoc on your equipment and inventory. Water can devastate electronics, paper records, and furniture in the blink of an eye, requiring you to close up shop while you replace or repair any damaged items.
Additionally, water may harm drywall, tiling or hardwood floors, baseboards, and more. All of this can take extensive time to restore.
As your business repairs damaged structures, replaces equipment, and pauses services to mitigate health risks, your company will have to shell out a lot of money. This is all while your primary revenue stream has halted due to the damage. Substantial financial setbacks often accompany commercial property water damage. This is another reason it’s imperative to invest in quality business insurance and ensure you understand the ins and outs of your policy.
Dealing With Commercial Water Damage? All Dry USA Can Help!
All Dry USA began supporting clients with water damage restoration over a decade ago, and we’ve got industry-leading practices, equipment, and experts on our team. Things may seem bleak right now, but help is only a call away. Reach out today!