Google fonts script burst pipes Archives - Langlois Insurance Agency

What to Do After Your House Floods

I love being an Insurance Agent. It truly gives me great happiness ensuring that my customers are properly protected in the case of an insurance claim.

But, a few weeks ago, I was not only the Insurance Agent, but also the customer. During the polar vortex, a pipe burst in one of my rental properties. And, I felt all the sorrow, pain, and unhappiness that one of my insureds feels when they have a claim. But, along with all those negative feelings, I also had the sheer relief that I was properly insured.

And, this incident reminded my of why insurance is just so important! Thank goodness I was properly protected on this building.  Here are the “before” pictures of the building:

 

Now, please take a look at the disaster that occurred due to a burst pipe:

 

Aannnddd….this is what the building looks like after demo:

Because of this incident, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog to remind all of us 1) why insurance is so important and 2) what do to if you have a flood incident.

There are a number of ways that your house can flood, whether it’s due to heavy rains, sewer backup, or a pipe burst. While a house flood can be devastating, here are some tips on how to respond if it were to happen to you.

Put Safety First

The first step in any major home disaster is to remain safe. You may be forced to leave your home if the flooding is bad enough. Make sure you are also safe when you return to your home to begin dealing with the aftermath. This may include turning off the power, as water and electricity obviously do not mix. Be sure to wear protective clothing such as rubber boots and gloves when you re enter your home. Not only will you be dealing with the water itself, but also whatever else the water has been in contact with, namely debris or even sewage. It is best to protect yourself against whatever harmful chemicals and items the flooding may have washed in.

Also, never eat food that has been contaminated by flood waters, or even been in close proximity to the water for an extended period of time. If the water was high enough to reach your refrigerator or any of your pantry cabinets, it is best to go ahead and throw the food away and just buy more. In addition, you should thoroughly wash any dinnerware, glasses, or flatware that might have been caught in the house flood before you use it again.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Your homeowners insurance will vary depending on what policies you have, but many insurance companies cover flooding due to storms, backed-up city sewers and storm drains, broken sump-pumps, or bursted pipes. Your insurance company will send an adjuster to look at and assess the damage to determine if it is a covered loss. If your losses and damages are covered, the sooner you call your agent, the sooner they will pay out. Repairs can become costly, but the insurance money will help get your home back in order quicker with less of a financial burden on you. So, if this ever happens to you, please call me so I can walk you through all the details of dealing with this type of claim.

Stop and Remove the Water

One of the first things you should do when your house floods is stop the source of water coming in if at all possible. If your sump-pump is broken or malfunctioning, replacing it will help keep up with any continuing rains and may prevent further damage to your basement, garage, crawl space, or main floor. Calling the city to remove debris from storm drains may also be necessary in order to help stop flooding.

If your flooded home was caused by a bursted pipe, fix the plumbing as soon as possible to lessen water damage. The sooner you stop the water from coming in, the sooner you can get to cleaning up and repairing any damages.

Once no more water is coming in, you can work to remove the water from your home. Depending on the level of flooding you have experienced or even the rooms in your home that have been affected, your process might change. You may need to bail water out using buckets and bins or use hoses to drain large amounts of water from your basement. As the water begins receding, you can use a wet vacuum to suck remaining bits of water and moisture from carpets and floors. If you’re lucky and the damage is minimal, you might be able to simply mop the mess up.

Dry Out Your Home

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home.

Dehumidifiers are also a big help, especially in closed off spaces such as basements or crawl spaces. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. This is the easiest way to dry out your home and minimize the potential water damage you might be dealing with, as it does not require you to actively clean. However, in the case of a house flood, dehumidifiers are only supplemental and you are likely to need multiple methods of action. Dehumidifiers are recommended for anyone who lives in a damp climate or an area that experiences longer rainy seasons, as they can prevent some of the problems associated with this type of weather, both for you and your home.

Clean Up

Once the water is gone and you have called your insurance company, it’s time to begin post-flood care. You can call in a professional clean-up crew or do the work yourself. This may involve determining what is salvageable and throwing away anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use. If the flooding in your home was widespread, you may have to bring in a roll-off dumpster for easy disposal of larger damaged items, as you will find your trash bags filling quickly.

Be aware that you may need to remove flooring, drywall, and insulation to prevent mold and mildew from spreading in your home. Furniture may also need to be dried out, cleaned, or thrown away depending on the level of water damage. Unless you are exceptionally handy, it is probably best to call in a professional company that specializes in mold removal. Mold can begin developing within the first 24 hours after a flood, and once it has started growing, it can be difficult to fully remove. The quicker you remove items from water and begin drying them, the less likely they are to be lost to mold, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional assess the situation.

If you’ve experienced flooding for any reason or want to be covered against possible floods in your area, please call Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-2106 to make sure you are protected against the unexpected. We always love hearing from our customers!

Warmest Regards,
Matt Langlois

Frozen or Burst Pipes? How to Prevent (and Fix) this Common Problem.

One of the most common homeowners claims that Langlois Insurance Agency receives during these cold, winter months are from frozen or burst pipes.

The words “frozen or burst pipes” can strike fear with any homeowner (and insurance agent!).

Why is this? It’s because when water freezes, it puts pressure on your pipes, which can then burst, releasing damaging water into your home. And, even after you repair your home and clean up the mess from the burst pipe, your home is at risk for rot, mildew, and mold.

So, how can you prevent frozen pipes? There are definitely steps that you can take to prevent frozen pipes, most of which are simple undertakings for any homeowner.

Take care of outdoor water hoses and faucets first
Drain your hose, detach it, and store it indoors for the winter. If you can, shut off the water source to any outside faucets, then turn the faucets on to empty the pipes of any remaining water. Cover your outdoor faucets with an insulated cover.

Use foam insulation
For indoor pipes in cold areas of your home, wrap the pipes with foam pipe insulation. We suggest using heat tape, which can help keep your pipes warm in freezing weather.

Leave your faucet dripping
You may already know to leave your faucets dripping during a freeze. This is because it makes the water less likely to freeze; a small trickle also helps prevent a buildup of pressure. So even if your pipes do freeze, that little flow of water can help prevent a crack.

Open your cabinet doors
Most of your plumbing may be along uninsulated outer walls. Opening your cabinets and letting warm air into the space underneath your kitchen and bathroom sink can help keep the water in those pipes from freezing.

Keep the heat on
Leaving your heat set at 55 degrees (or warmer) whenever you aren’t home is also recommended. Turning your heat down below 55 degrees puts your pipes at risk of freezing and bursting. The cost of heating your home is worth it compared to the cost of fixing burst pipes. I always tell my customers that this is one of the most important things to do if you ever leave your home for a long extended period of time, for example a winter holiday.

Now the big question – What do you do if your pipes do freeze?
If you turn on your water, and you only get a small drip, or worse, nothing at all, there’s a good chance you have a frozen pipe. Make sure you know where your main water cut-off valve is in case a pipe does burst. If the frozen section of pipe is exposed, you can usually locate it by looking for frost or feeling for especially cold sections.

Insurance Fact of the Day: Did you know that a pipe with even a tiny crack can unleash 250 gallons of water in a day.

It is also recommended that you turn on your faucet and use a hair dryer or space heater to thaw the frozen section. Langlois Insurance Agency advises against using a propane torch or other open flame, as that could boil the water in your pipes and cause a crack…and, it just isn’t safe!

Once your water begins flowing, allow your faucet to run for a few minutes to clear out any remaining ice. It is also recommended that you check the water line for leaks and call a plumber if you do happen to notice one.

OK – So Your Pipes Burst. What Now?
If you take steps to prevent frozen pipes but you’re still faced with a burst pipe, immediately turn off the main water valve right away. It is also a good idea to turn off the electricity in that area of your home to prevent electrocution.

And, should you ever be unfortunate enough to experience an incident from a burst water pipe, please call Langlois Insurance Agency immediately at #815-485-6676. We can provide a recommendation for a reputable restoration company to ensure your home is back to its former self as quickly as possible. As always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of us at Langlois Insurance Agency with any questions or comments.

We always love to hear from our customers!

Sincerely,

Matt Langlois

Langlois Insurance Agency
matt@langloisinsurance.com