Water damage to your home is one of most homeowners’ worst nightmares. Water can come from the outside or the inside. For example, rain can seep through the foundation, or a pipe or water heater may burst. It can come in quickly or build up slowly. If it is allowed to sit, however, it can become stagnant and dangerous regardless of depth, and the longer it sits, the more hazardous it becomes. For this reason, you need to move fast to get the water out and repair the area when you have a leak or a flood. Read on to understand the risks associated with standing water.
What Is It?
Standing water is any water that sits without moving. It is also known as stagnant water. The source of the water (whether it is clean or contaminated) is not what causes it to become stagnant and dangerous. Even clean water, once it stops moving, can become contaminated with bacteria, mold, and even insects. If the source of your flood is already contaminated, like a sewage backup, the standing water poses an even more immediate danger.
What Are the Health Risks?
Whether it was initially clean or contaminated, standing water quickly becomes a breeding ground for all sorts of things. Mold can appear in as little as 48 hours, even in clean water. Bacteria will also multiply rapidly, and even more so in contaminated water. Its presence is what gives standing water a foul, sulfuric smell; if it doesn’t smell, though, that does NOT mean it is safe. Parasites can also be an issue. If you come into contact with standing water, you should always wash thoroughly and immediately to be safe. If you know the water is contaminated, you must be even more vigilant about cleaning everything that had contact with it, including skin, shoes, and clothes. Flood water can spread diseases, such as Legionnaire’s, malaria, and dengue. Never drink or cook with stagnant water for this reason.
Are There Other Risks?
There are, of course, other risks to having standing water in your home. Flood water welcomes insects to multiply, especially mosquitos, which is at best annoying and at worst another health hazard. The water can also pose an electrical hazard if it reaches outlets or if you have sop lights that might fall into it (especially in workshops or basements). Finally, the longer the standing water lingers, the more time it has to do substantial damage to your home and possessions, increasing the cost of cleanup and restoration.
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