A water damage prevention checklist for businesses in the Bay Area
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers tips on how to avoid a water damage disaster at a Sunnyvale, CA, business.
SERVPRO® of Palo Alto offers businesses the rapid response and quick cleanup and water damage restoration needed to recover from a roof leak, burst water pipe, or flooded basement or underground storage garage.
Water: A business’ friend and foe
Water can be a friend and a foe to a business. The liquid may be used in the production process. Water spraying from a fire sprinkler system can prevent the building from burning to the ground. Water from a burst water pipe in the ceiling can do untold damage to the data center or copier system.
Causes of water damage in a business or commercial setting
Knowledge of the common and uncommon causes of water damage in a business can raise awareness when threatening or hazardous circumstances arise. An increased level of alertness should be initiated if the following situations occur:
- Heavy or sustained periods of rain, which can overwhelm roof drains, gutters, and the landscape drainage system and catch ponds
- Freezing temperatures, which can cause pipes to freeze and burst
- Extremely hot weather, which can overstress the HVAC system and overwhelm the condensate drain system
- A documented lapse in adequate maintenance, replacement, and repair protocols
- A spate of related and unrelated water intrusions and releases that may indicate similar aging and wear patterns in pipes, joints, seals, and valves. (This simultaneous grouping of failures and malfunctions may signal an impending catastrophic failure.)
- An earthquake and anticipated aftershocks
- An extended drought followed by heavy rain (The contracting and expanding soil can cause severe cracks in basement and underground garage walls, resulting in a water intrusion.)
If water intrusion occurs, walls, ceilings, flooring, the foundation, the roof system, mats, electronics, computers, machinery, raw products, inventory, and company vehicles can be damaged or destroyed beyond repair.
The economic impact of a water damage disaster
A water damage disaster can shut a business down for hours, days, and weeks. The economic impact can be challenging, if not impossible, to overcome. A water damage disaster can interrupt the business's flow of goods and services, disrupting the revenue cycle. A missed payroll can accelerate the flight of valuable employees to competitors. Customers, too, will migrate to more dependable vendors when customer service lags. Customer re-acquisition and market share recovery can choke a business's life. The water damage can be quickly cleaned up and repaired. Brand damage from the disruption may be irreparable.
A water damage prevention checklist
A business owner or property manager can reduce the risk of water damage with regular inspections, proper maintenance, scheduled replacements and repairs, and a posture of informed anticipation of looming property damage events. Any single item on this checklist can save thousands of dollars in water damage cleanup and restoration, and a full-orbed water damage prevention strategy can save the business.
1. Begin by checking the plumbing system
Repair every faucet, supply line, connection, and pipe with leaks and drips. Identify aging and deteriorating pipes, chronic drain clogs, and malfunctioning water-drainage systems. Create an action plan to resolve these issues, and include an inspection of the fire sprinkler system in the action plan.
2. Assess the structural integrity of foundations and exterior walls
Cracks, crevices, and bowing may signal problems in the foundation and walls. Look for signs of water intrusions where these issues are discovered. Have a foundation specialist evaluate the situation and make recommendations.
3. Visually examine the gutter systems
Observe water flow patterns during a significant rain event. Properly functioning gutters should not overflow; water should flow freely through the downspouts.
4. Survey the ceiling and interior walls for water stains
After an extended wet spell or heavy thunderstorm, survey the ceiling and interior walls for brown, bronze, or green water stains. If possible, trace the water intrusion to its source and stop the leak at its source.
5. Access the roof to inspect for damage and maintenance issues
Properly maintain the seals and flashing around roof perforations such as vents, exhaust fans, electrical and water lines, waste removal ductwork, and ingress/egress hatches. This simple maintenance can prevent unnecessary and avoidable water intrusions. Carefully and safely inspect the roof during or just after heavy rain. The pooling water may indicate a blockage in the roof drainage system, and excessive water weight on the roof may lead to catastrophic roof failure.
6. Include windows on the checklist
Signs of a leak include stains, steaks, bubbling or peeling paint, swollen or warping trim, difficulty raising and lowering the window, spongy flooring directly beneath the window, and a musty, mildewy smell. Check to ensure the weather stripping provides a tight seal against any water intrusion.
7. Hire licensed, reputable professionals for inspections
Hire licensed, reputable professionals to inspect water heaters, the HVAC system, fire sprinkler systems, and plumbing. Schedule needed repairs and maintenance where required.
- One of the most important actions a business owner or property manager can take is pre-qualifying a dedicated property damage cleanup and restoration professional to handle any water damage disasters. When disaster strikes, one phone call sets the water damage cleanup and restoration process in motion. SERVPRO of Palo Alto has one of the quickest response times in the industry. The rapid response and quick cleanup get the business back up and running as soon as possible. Limited business interruption keeps products and services flowing and the doors open.
For more information about water damage restoration services in Sunnyvale, CA, and the surrounding area, email SERVPRO of Palo Alto at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com or call (650) 800-3448.