The water damage restoration specialists team at SERVPRO of Palo Alto wants to alert homeowners and business owners to the connection between water damage and a pest infestation. Spring can increase the risk of water damage due to increased rainfall and a higher humidity level.
Besides weather-related water damage, there are also other causes of water damage. Burst pipes, ruptured supply lines, leaky appliances, and poor ventilation can cause or contribute to water damage. The immediate consequences of a water intrusion include:
- Musty, moldy odors, or worse, the smell of sewage
- Stains on walls, ceilings, baseboards, and flooring
- Buckling and warping drywall
- Warping and swelling wood
- Structural wood rot
Water wastes no time in carrying out its destructive effects. Ceilings, walls, flooring, furniture, and personal belongings can sustain heavy damage in only a few hours. If the removal of bulk water and excess moisture is delayed for a day or two, the home’s structural integrity can be compromised.
A cleanup and restoration project in a situation where the damage is extensive is disruptive, inconvenient, time-consuming, stressful, and expensive. Quick action on the homeowner's part and a rapid response from the property damage restoration company create a best-case scenario in a situation that is already fraught with difficulties.
Another often overlooked motivation to take prompt action to begin the water removal and applied structural drying is the threat of a pest infestation.
Water-Related Pest Issues
Insects, like humans, require water to survive and thrive. A case in point is the mosquito. As recently as September of 2021, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus were discovered in Palo Alto and Mountain View, resulting in efforts to reduce the health risk by strategically spraying insecticide to kill the pests. Infestations are more likely where moisture and dampness provide a suitable environment for the insects to lay their eggs, such as over-watered lawns and house plants, settling ponds, wetlands, and stagnant kiddie and pet pools. Clogged or unlevel gutters with pooling water facilitate the spread of mosquitoes.
Other moisture-seeking invaders include ants, termites, cockroaches, earwigs, millipedes, and silverfish. The pests mentioned above may quench their thirst by chewing on the water-soaked wood in a water-damaged home. If left unchecked, the tiny insects can become a considerable nuisance.
Steps to Stop Water Damage and Moisture-Seeking Pests
Step #1: Reduce moisture in the home.
By keeping moisture to a minimum, the homeowner can also keep moisture-seeking pests to a minimum in the home. Efforts can include:
- Operating a dehumidifier in moisture-prone areas
- Opening windows in the kitchen and bathrooms bring in fresh, dry air
- Installing ceiling exhaust fans in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room
- Quickly mop up small, manageable spills and run a dehumidifier or fan to dry out the water-soaked area
- Immediately repairing faucets, plumbing connections, toilets, tubs, showers, and leaking appliances
Step #2: Identify and reduce unnecessary moisture around and under the home.
Look for potential outdoor breeding grounds for insects. Ground moisture and condensation can lead to dampness in the crawl space resulting in mold, wood rot, and mildew issues. An HVAC condensate line that evacuates too close to the foundation of a home can facilitate pest infestation. A leaking spigot is a watering hole for mosquitoes.
Moisture trapped in mulch beds and bedding straw is a prime location for thirsty Palo Alto pests. Water in flower beds, flowerpots, and rain barrels provides an oasis for water-loving pests. Faulty caulking around shower surrounds, and the kitchen backsplash can create a moisture problem for the homeowner.
Insufficient slope away from the foundation can lead to excess water around the exterior of the foundation. Eventually, the moisture can seep through cracks in the foundation, flooding the crawl space or basement. Overgrown shrubs near a home's surface can encourage the buildup of water, and the dense branches hinder the sun from evaporating the moisture.
Step #3: Call on a property damage cleanup and restoration professional when a water damage disaster strikes.
Water damage is stressful, and uninvited pests only make the situation worse. In case of a property damage disaster in a residential or commercial setting, SERVPRO of Palo Alto offers a quick response, 24/7, 365 days a year. Rapid remediation sends uninvited pests packing before they ever have a chance to settle in.