Water Damage and What to Expect
Most people will never have a large water loss at their home. Since you are reading this, you may be one of the few that is experiencing one of the most stressful things that can happen to homeowners. Water damage is often handled improperly, leaving one’s home with long-term damage that may have been preventable. This is why it is so important to choose the right contractor for your job.
Water can create an incredible amount of damage in a short period of time. After the water is discovered, the stopwatch starts. The objective is to properly dry the affected areas of your home before the mold can propagate. Mold can start to grow within 24-48 hours.
Many insurance policies have limits on mold coverage with some offering none. The cost of dealing with water damage is typically covered to the extent of your general insurance policy. Therefore, the water mitigation and drying process must begin immediately after discovering the water to limit mold growth and ultimately, remediation work. Once you discover the problem, call us immediately! Dealing with insurance is not always smooth. The information you provide when opening a claim can result in denial or limitations of coverage.
Common water sources listed by category of water:
Category 1 Water – Clean or “blue water”
- Supply line to the toilet bursts.
- Angle stop valve blows off.
- Water heater rupture.
- Clothes washer doesn’t stop filling (if no soap is present).
Category 2 Water – Minor contaminants, called “grey water”
- Discharge to clothes washer becomes displaced and empties on the floor.
- Dishwasher leaks.
- Roof leak (possible category 3 if the roof has contaminants).
- Shower drain line leaks.
Category 3 Water – Major Contaminants, called “black water”
- Break in the sewage line.
- Back up of sewage line.
- Long duration clean water loss where atypical mold damage present.
- Flood water.
The following are basic procedures for water mitigation:
- Start dehumidification immediately, unless it is warm and dry enough outside to keep windows open. Removing water vapor is important in preventing secondary damage from condensation on surfaces outside the water travel area.
- Remove all furniture and personal property from the impacted areas. Make sure wet items are not put in boxes where they can create mold and damage other dry property.
- Extract as much water as possible. Solid flooring can be done fairly quickly, though sometimes requires removal. Extracting water from carpet can be done if the water source is category 1, and the water does not cover a large area. When multiple rooms are impacted by water, the carpet will typically need to be pulled up and the pad removed. In the past, it was common to float carpet by blowing air under it. This should only be done with the pad removed and water extracted from the carpet and subfloor below. If the carpet is old, damaged or has been wet for more than 24 hours, it typically needs to be disposed of unless it can be racked, dried, and cleaned.
- Baseboard trim on walls that got wet should be removed to get air movement to the bottom of the wall where moisture can persist and mold can hide.
- Removal of drywall may be necessary if the wall is insulated or has been wet for an extended period. If wallboard becomes soft, it is structurally compromised and needs to be removed.
- Wet insulation should be removed and disposed of.
- Finally, dirt and debris are removed with vacuums, preferably HEPA vacuums, and air movement can begin. Place air movers to help with evaporation and speed up drying times. This often can require multiple air movers per room.
- Drying mats, injection, and heat drying systems can help to reduce the required demolition by drying construction materials in place.
- Provide adequate heat to keep temperatures above 65*F.
- Ensure adequate dehumidification is available. Air movement and heat will increase the evaporation rate resulting in large amounts of water vapor that need to be removed from the environment.
- Regular moisture and psychrometric readings should be taken until all materials register dry.
- Now you can begin rebuilding!
After-hours – nonemergency calls will be returned the following business day.