When balancing your seasons between your Floridian condominium with your house up north, things are bound to wear and tear, as structures do. Your house up north may be in top shape, but what about your condo? The Sunshine State can prove to be not so sunny during the summer months, so if you are up north during the hottest months of Florida, be sure to protect your condo before you leave! But from what? Many condos in Florida can be negatively affected by the rainy hurricane season, which can cause leaking. Leaking leads to water damage, and water damage can lead to mold growth. Mold growth, in turn, can cause you or your loved ones many symptoms of respiratory sickness. This chain of events can cost you time and money, and you do not want to pay more than you have to! By learning about how to protect your condo from the leaks of Florida’s rainy season and how your insurance company is involved, you can stop that tedious chain of events before it even starts!
Florida’s Rainy Season
Florida’s rainiest season is from June to late August or early September. The temperate climate mixed with the humidity and tropical rains merge together and can form a hurricane season. Autumn and winter get little to no rain while spring gets little rain. With this drastic change of weather between seasons, water can become an unwelcome guest in your condo. While going up north for the winter leaves you with little fear of leaking, leaving your condo unattended over the summer can leave you with unexpected surprises upon your return, including water damage to your furniture, walls, ceiling, floor, tile, and carpet. Water damage can stain and cause your wooden furniture, floors, or even your drywall to rot. If left untreated, water damage and the moist rot it leaves behind becomes the perfect home for mold. Various molds love damp areas, especially environments from leaks, since leaks usually happen in darker or more remote areas. The bacteria washing in from intruding rainwater only increases the danger of the breathing air inside your condo. As mold grows, it releases spores, causing respiratory symptoms which can be dangerous as well as fatal. Mold does not stop growing, so it can completely destroy the chair, wall, floor, or ceiling that it is growing on. By removing water from the affected area, the problem of mold can be avoided and you can enjoy your Florida escape.
Popular Areas of Leaking in a Condo
Condominiums are similar to houses and apartments, but the similarities only go so far. While all exist for the basic purpose of shelter, condos have that little something extra – that smaller, more intimate space. Within that small and intimate space, there are places in your condo that are more prone to leaking. While the common areas of leaks in any living residence include the roof, windows, and sometimes even doors, the bricks at the base of your condo may prove to be a vulnerable area against incoming water, which can damage the structure underneath your condo.
Leaks do not happen exclusively because of weather; plumbing can also be problematic in regards to leaking. In the kitchen, the sink and the dishwasher are prime plumbing suspects. Any settling or pipe movement can lead to a slippery kitchen floor. The bathroom is another room that can cause plumbing issues. The sink, the toilet, and the shower or bathtubs are high-risk areas of leaking. It is recommended to get your condo checked for leaks by a professional, as well as checking for leaks yourself. When you get your house regularly checked, you stop the threat of any leaks before they begin to cause extra damage.
Insurance Policy Over Time
The insurance policy of your house may increase due to the likelihood of leaks while you are away. Sudden water damage is described in full in your insurance policy, so be sure to understand exactly what your policy states. Not all water damage can be covered by insurance. While flooding cannot be covered by homeowners’ insurance, accidental leaks can be. To get your condo covered by flooding, flood insurance policies are separate but often times worth it, especially in areas that are prone to flooding. Be sure to check with your insurance agent to all the specific details of your coverage. Be sure to know and understand the flood zones around your condo, or if your condo is in a flood zone. When away for long periods of time, be sure to call in trusted professionals to check your condo. That second pair of eyes around your condo when you are away can mean the difference between a happy vacation and coming back to a wet condo.
Increase Your Odds of Getting Insurance
You can increase your odds of getting insurance by getting your house checked for leaks on a regular basis. Keep the paperwork from the transactions and be sure to show them to an insurance agent as you are looking for insurance. Checking your condo on a regular basis can mean anything from getting it checked once a year to a maximum of every few weeks. This is where the professionals come in; they have the tools necessary to be prepared for leaks, and they know areas to check for leaks that may not be common areas.
Of course, you can also check your condo for leaks on your own. Common leaking areas are in the plumbing, which means that rooms that often fall victim to leaking are your kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom. Since leaks can also happen naturally, it is recommended to check your windows to see if they can protect against incoming water.
If you think you have a leak due to plumbing, check the level of the water gauge. Do not use any water for two hours, and check the level again. If the meter has changed in those two hours without you using any water, you have a leak. Call a professional if you cannot find the source.
What To Do in the Event of a Leak
When your house falls victim to a leak, many questions or scenarios can pop into your head. How big is the leak? What damage, if any, will it cause? If there is damage, how will my insurance company be involved? With all these questions racing through the situation, the first thing to do during a leak is keep calm. Assess the situation, find out where it is coming from, and keep it contained until a professional can use the tools necessary to fix the leak.
When a leak originates from the plumbing system in the kitchen, it can usually be fixed with a wrench or even a bandana to hold it together for a more temporary fix. In the bathroom, be sure to use a bucket for any falling water and cover the floor with towels to soak up excess water. Use the towel strategy when leaking water penetrates your doors and windows until the professionals arrive.
Before a leak, prepare your home by getting it checked regularly, and pinpoint possible problem areas. Take pictures of the leak and any damage made before fixing, if you feel that the leak has been harmful to your household. During a leak, gather the water and make a temporary fix before calling a professional. After the leak has been fixed, keep an eye on that area in the future while preparing other areas.
By working with your insurance company and being prepared for leaks, you can focus your southern holiday more on Florida’s great weather instead of anguishing over water damaged furniture or structure. Remember the key tips of preparation: get your condo regularly checked for leaks by a professional, and seal all popular areas of leaking. When you stay at your condo, keep an eye on your water gauge, but rest easy knowing you can enjoy your time in Florida. If you are there to experience a leak, call a professional and take pictures of any lasting damage. Extra help and assistance is always a phone call away, so you can focus more on your condo, your loved ones, and your vacation.