Angie's list

SHREVEPORT, La. - Water damage is the second most-common reason homeowners file an insurance claim, which costs insurance companies about three-point-five billion dollars every year. Broken pipes and overflowing tubs and toilets are the main culprits. A quick reaction is key to the clean-up effort.

“You want to take action right away, so as soon as you realize it, start removing any items that can be removed and get fans blowing in the area so you can start to dry it out," said Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie's List.

“Optimally, we will dry out a structure in three days," said Jennifer Mauck from Langenwalter. "So we come out, extract the water, place drying equipment and then we check back the following days to make sure it’s drying properly.”

Three days is a best-case scenario. If cabinets or drywall gets wet, more gear and labor is required to prevent the possibility of mold.

“We drill holes in the wall and then force air into the area behind the wall," said Mauck. "Mold likes to grow in dark, no-air-movement, warm places.”

 If there’s significant damage, Angie’s List strongly recommends hiring a certified restoration professional with the equipment and experience to get you dried out, but check credentials carefully before hiring. A reputable pro will be available any day of the week – even in the middle of the night – and they should help you document all items to aid your insurance claim.

“We take a lot of pictures, said Mauck. "We talk through things with the homeowner as we’re pulling stuff out of a basement and putting it upstairs or in the garage. We go through and catalogue things with the homeowner.”

Angie says if you have carpeting that gets saturated, toss it and buy new. Also, if you store items in the basement, use plastic tubs instead of cardboard boxes or paper bags, and opt for area rugs instead of wall-to-wall carpet. If you don’t have a sump pump, get one and check it regularly to make sure it works properly.

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