What to Do if There’s a Flood in Your Apartment
Apartment flooding is always a nightmare scenario. In many situations, this flooding can cause extensive damage to your apartment and your personal possessions as well as adjacent units. It’s important to know what to do in the event of flooding so that you can minimize the damage to your apartment and reduce the risk of health issues associated with mold growth.
Common Causes of Apartment Flooding
Flooding occurs anytime there is an excess overflow of water in your apartment. There are a variety of potential causes. Some of the most common include:
- Clogged pipes – When your pipes become clogged, water isn’t able to drain properly. As a result, it may come back up into your sinks, toilets, or shower, causing flooding to your apartment.
- Burst pipes – Pipes can burst for a variety of reasons. Your pipes can become corroded over time, resulting in a leak that may gradually cause the pipe to break. In addition, cold temperatures during the winter can cause pipes to freeze and when they eventually thaw, they can potentially burst. Burst pipes can quickly fill your apartment with water, especially if you are not home. In some instances, you may even experience flooding when an upstairs neighbor’s pipes burst, as the flood water in their apartment will enter your unit through the ceiling.
- Severe storms – Severe storms can result in heavy rains that cause water to enter your apartment through doors, windows, or other openings. In extreme cases, they can cause the sewer systems to overflow. When this occurs, your drains may back up, causing your apartment to flood.
- Leaky roofs – If there is roof damage to your apartment building, water can leak through during a severe storm. This can result in flooding in top floor apartments located near the leak.
- Broken appliances – Old appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dishwashers may have leaky hoses that can result in flooding to your apartment.
Who Is Liable for Water Damage from Upstairs?
Sometimes, the source of water damage may not originate in your apartment or condo. This water damage can also occur when water in an upstairs neighbor’s unit seeps into your place. In these situations, it’s important for condo owners to read over their HOA agreement to find out what insurance protections you may receive from their master insurance policy. If the water damage originated in a common area, it’s likely that your HOA’s master insurance will cover repairs.
However, when the water damage is caused by flooding in an upstairs neighbor’s apartment, reimbursement will likely need to come from either your insurance company or your upstairs neighbor’s insurance company. Often, your best course of action is to file a claim with your insurance company to cover the cost of the associated water damage from upstairs flooding. If your neighbor is liable for repairs or replacement of your personal property, your insurance company can then file a claim with your neighbor’s insurance to recoup the money they laid out.
Preventing Flooding in Apartment Buildings
While it’s not always possible to prevent flooding in your apartment, such as when the water originates in your upstairs neighbor’s apartment, there are steps you can take to prevent floods from starting in your unit:
- Check for signs of water damage on a regular basis – Look for dark spots on walls and ceilings as well as signs of mold growth. These are some of the most common indicators that there may be water getting into your apartment.
- Check your pipes periodically – Every few months, check the pipes in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry area (if you have laundry in your unit) for leaks. A slow drip can result in significant water damage over time and in some cases, the leak can turn into a burst pipe that causes serious flooding to your apartment. If you see a leaky pipe, call a plumber at once to have the problem fixed.
- Be on the lookout for musty smells – Sometimes, you won’t see visible signs of water damage, but you may detect a smell that indicates water damage may have occurred. Water that has seeped into floors or walls can leave a musty smell that permeates through your apartment.
- Watch for water seepage during severe storms – Be on the lookout for water buildup on windowsills or leaks coming from your ceiling (if you have a top floor apartment) during heavy rains. You will want to address the leak immediately.
Steps to Take After Flooding in Your Apartment
The actions you take immediately after a flood occurs in your apartment are critical. The following important steps should be taken to ensure everyone in your family is safe and the water damage is addressed properly.
Make Sure Everyone Is Safe
The first step you should always take is to make sure everyone in the apartment is safe. If possible, get everyone, including pets, away from the area that has sustained flooding. In situations where flooding is extensive, you may need to leave the apartment and find a place to stay temporarily until all repairs are completed.
Try to Identify the Source of the Flooding
If it’s safe to do so, try to identify the source of the flooding. This can help you take actions to address the cause and limit additional flood damage. For example, if you determine that the flooding has been caused by a burst pipe or an overflowing toilet, you may be able to shut off the water supply to prevent the flooding from getting worse.
Contact Your Landlord or HOA
If you rent your apartment, contact your landlord or property manager immediately. In most instances, your landlord will be responsible for making repairs and protecting the property from additional water damage. The sooner you contact your landlord or property manager, the sooner they can reach out to the proper water damage restoration professionals to begin repairs.
If you own your apartment, contact your HOA, and ask for a copy of their insurance policy to see whether any of the flood damage will be covered by their insurance.
Talk to Your Downstairs Neighbors
If you have downstairs neighbors, you should notify them and let them know you’ve experienced flooding. Depending on the severity of the flooding, water can potentially leak into their apartment so alerting them to be on the lookout for water damage is important.
Contact a Professional Water Damage Restoration Company
You should contact a professional water damage restoration company as soon as possible to prevent additional damage to your property. At Cousino Restoration & Environmental, we provide emergency 24/7 assistance and can send a team of water damage restoration experts to your property right away to minimize the damage.
Protect Your Belongings and Try to Dry Out the Apartment
If it’s safe to do so, try to protect your belongings from water damage. Move whatever you can out of the flooded area and place these belongings either in a high location or in a room as far away from the flooding as possible.
While you’re waiting for the water damage restoration company to arrive, try to dry up as much water as possible on your own using towels. Always prioritize safety when trying to dry out flooded areas. Avoid spaces where electrical outlets or wires have come into contact with water to avoid the risk of electric shock.
Document All Damage and Contact Your Insurance Company
Once it’s safe to do so, go through your apartment and document the damage. Take photos of all flooding and any items or structures that have sustained water damage. In addition, take notes of all damage you notice, including the date and time the damage occurred.
After documenting the damage as best as possible, contact your insurance company to file a claim. Depending on the cause of the flooding and the terms of your policy, your insurance company may help with restoration costs.
Cousino Restoration & Environmental Can Help After Flooding to Your Apartment
If you’ve sustained water damage from a flood in your apartment, Cousino Restoration & Environmental is here to help. We’ve been the leading provider of water damage restoration services in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan for over 45 years. Our team provides 24/7 emergency response services and will arrive fully prepared to begin the water damage restoration process immediately. We can handle any flooding you may have, no matter the size of the apartment or the scope of the damage.
Damage from flooding can be devastating. Severe water damage can threaten the structural integrity of your building, destroy personal property, and threaten the safety of your family. In addition, mold growth stemming from water damage can create health issues for individuals with mold allergies. For these reasons, it’s critical to have all restoration services performed by a professional who can make sure the process is handled properly. When you work with Cousino Restoration & Environmental, you’ll have peace of mind that these important repairs will be performed right the first time, and your apartment will be restored to its pre-damaged condition.
Contact us to schedule an appointment. Cousino Restoration & Environmental serves customers in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.