Water is a valuable commodity and resource as long as it remains under your control. If it leaks out from drainpipes, basins, sinks, or supply lines and invades the floors, walls, or basements, it can wreak havoc on your property. The same can be said about water intrusions following a storm or hurricane. In either case, you may experience water damage issues, a common occurrence for residential and commercial property owners.
In 2019 alone, water damage from floods and flash floods led to around $3.75 billion of property loss and crop damage in the US.
So, what should you do when faced with water damage? Your first course of action should be to seek professional water damage remediation services. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about water damage remediation. Let’s begin with what is water damage remediation?
What is Water Damage Remediation?
In simple terms, water damage remediation is the process of returning a moisture-damaged property to its original, pre-damaged condition. This may sound fairly simple, but the process of cleaning and drying out spaces can be extremely complex, depending on the type of water damage you’re dealing with, the scope of the damage, the level of contamination involved, the equipment you have, and various other factors.
Many property owners believe that water damage restoration involves nothing more than surface drying, so they should tackle the situation on their own. This is a common misconception that needs to be dispelled. Water damage remediation is a comprehensive process that begins with a thorough inspection of the damaged property.
Once the full scope of the damage is identified, the standing water is extracted using effective equipment. Once the water is removed, the surfaces and any affected belongings are thoroughly dried. The process doesn’t end here; to get rid of the contamination, the surfaces are decontaminated before you can start using the property again.
While this was a brief overview of the process, we’ll dig deeper into how water damage remediation works later in the guide. The point here is to show that water damage remediation is not something homeowners or commercial property owners can tackle independently. They need to find an experienced water damage restoration company to solve the problem.
Let’s now go through the different categories of water damage:
Categories of Water Damage
The water itself that’s involved can be categorized into different groups. As mentioned earlier, one factor on which the water damage remediation process depends is the level of contamination involved. The IICRC ANSI S500 standard classifies water damage into three main categories based on the amount of contamination present. Let’s examine the categories individually:
Category 1: Potable Water
This category of moisture damage involves sanitary water with minimal contamination, for the most part that isn’t harmful to occupants of a property. Since it’s not contaminated with pathogens and debris, typically it doesn’t pose any threat upon inhalation, ingestion, or other forms of exposure. Some common sources of clean water damage include broken supply lines, leaking faucets, failed ice maker line, compromised washing machine hose or a ruptured dishwasher supply line.
However, you can’t simply ignore this category of water damage just because it’s initially safe. If you don’t address the problem, clean water will quickly turn into contaminated water within hours.
Category 2: Gray Water
In this category, water is contaminated enough to cause discomfort or sickness upon exposure or ingestion. The amount of biological matter and microorganisms in gray water are enough to cause harm but for most healthy occupants it won’t prove life-threatening. For those with respiratory deficiencies, category 2 water damage can pose respiratory issues, resulting from contaminants becoming airborne. It can include matter from detergents, diluted urine, or seepage from ruptured storage tanks, or hydrostatic ground water pressure. A water damage restoration professional will use protective gear when dealing with this category of water damage.
Again, you must address the problem at your earliest. Otherwise, gray water can turn into black water, the most dangerous category of water damage.
Category 3: Blackwater
Blackwater is unsanitary water that’s grossly contaminated with toxigenic and pathogenic agents and can prove life-threatening or deadly. It typically originates from sewage backups, flood waters, brackish water from streams and rivers, and all other sources of moisture intrusions carrying contaminants from heavy metals, pesticides, and human waste.
It’s important to note here that contamination is not the only hazard with the three categories of water damage explained above. If not addressed, each of these categories can trigger more complex issues such as mold infestations, which can further jeopardize your property and its occupants.
No matter the category of loss the potential for health side effects will always remain. There is no level of contamination that can be predicted that will allow to clearly identify health side effects, mainly because each person occupying thestructure will experience varying degrees of discomfort, to include no side effects at all.
We’ll now look into how to prevent water damage:
How to Prevent Water Damage?
Effective water damage prevention requires you to be proactive and vigilant, conducting regular inspections and maintenance. Since basements, bathrooms, crawlspaces, attics, kitchens, and garages are more susceptible to water damage issues than other parts of a property, you should keep an eye on these areas for potential signs of moisture intrusion. Having the time to conduct these inspections can be problematic for many property owners, if this is you ask Restoration 1 of Middle Tennessee about their “Keep it Safe” program, designed to identify potential problems before they result in a property loss. Here are some valuable tips to prevent water damage:
Clear the Gutters
Gutters help move rainwater off your roof and away from home. If fallen leaves and other debris clog the gutters, water will spill over. High volumes of rainwater cause soil erosion around the home and seeps into the home through cracks in the foundation. Basement and Crawlspace flooding is a common occurrence due to this. The best solution to prevent all that water damage is to clean the gutters once a year.
Check the Downspouts
Downspouts are responsible for receiving water from the roof gutters and bring it down to the side of the house. If they end perpendicular to the ground, there’s always a risk of water overflow, which eventually piles up around your home foundation. To avoid this problem, add a 90-degree downspout elbow and extend the downspout to at least 4 feet away from the home foundation.
Seal Cracks and Missing Caulking
Before the arrival of the rainy season, look for leaks around the doors and windows and seal them with exterior-grade caulking. When inspecting the home’s exterior, pay particular attention to the top of the window casing because that’s where water tends to accumulate. Also, keep in mind that there’s no acceptable or good crack. Seal every crack that you come across.
When inspecting the home interior, look out for water damage signs such as bubbled paint or mold spots on walls, termite activity, or crumbly drywall. Seek professional water damage restoration services to address any issues that you detect.
Attend to the Roof
There’s no way your property will remain safe from water damage without a water-tight roof. Roof leaks are one of the most common household issues that need to be resolved. By the time homeowners detect and address the problem, a lot of damage has already been done. The most effective tactic is to prevent roof leaks from occurring in the first place.
Before the monsoon season sets in, inspect your roof and fix any shingles that may allow water to intrude on your property. When examining theshingles, look out from overgrown moss that might be hiding underneath and remove that too.
Level the Ground Around Your Home
The ground surrounding your home foundation should slope outward so that water is directed away from your property. In other words, it must incline as it meets the foundation wall.
If it slopes inward, water will pool around your home, increasing the chances of flooding. This doesn’t mean you need to relocate. All you need to do is re-grade the soil so that the ground directs water as far away from your home as possible. The farther the slope extends, the better it will be. When rendering this job, be sure to pack down the soil so that water doesn’t soak into it and runs off as it falls onto it.
Now that you know how to prevent water damage let’s look at how water damage remediation works?
How Water Damage Remediation Works?
While the above-explained tips are incredibly useful to prevent water damage, nothing is 100% certain. Sometimes, you’re faced with unpredictable natural disasters or hidden issues that make water damage inevitable. There’s no choice in a situation like this but to contact a responsive water damage restoration agency to tackle the problem. We’ll now help you understand how a typical water damage remediation process works:
The best water damage cleaning company will know how important timeliness in water damage restoration, so it will be available to attend your emergency call 24/7and will deploy its team of technicians immediately. The job, more or less, involves the following steps:
Step 1: Property Inspection
Upon arriving at the affected site, the technicians will inspect the property for water and mold damage to determine the full scope of the problem, as mentioned earlier. Based on their findings, they’ll develop a comprehensive restoration plan.
During the inspection, a professional restoration crew will evaluate possible safety concerns, such as electrical hazards or the possibility of materials containing asbestos or lead. If materials are questionable, samples will be collected for further laboratory testing to confirm dangerous substances. If needed, abatement plans will be included in the restoration plan.
Step 2: Water Mitigation
The restoration team will start with water mitigation. This is an essential step before the actual damage remediation is undertaken. The purpose of water mitigation is to prevent any further damage and contain the degree of the loss the property may suffer.
Depending on the type of water damage, the step may involve preserving the structural integrity of the property, tarping off other parts of the property where water damage can reach, and moving out belongings that can be salvaged.
Water extraction is also part of the water mitigation process. This, again, is meant to eliminate the risk of further damage. Standing water is removed using a commercial-grade, truck-mounted or portableextractors. For soft surfaces such as carpeting, water is removed using portable extractors. If a carpet is deemed unsalvageable, it will need to be discarded and replaced.
Step 3: Structure Demolition and Removal of Debris
In case of serious flooding, the property may be subject to considerable structural damage. Removing the drywall helps expose wall cavities, which eventually results in a more efficient drying process. This is the reason demolition and debris removal are undertaken before the drying process. If the restoration team determines that no structural damage has occurred, they’ll skip this step and jump to the drying process.
Step 4: Drying Out the Property
The next step is to dry out the surfaces and belongings using strategically positioned dehumidifiers, air movers, air scrubbers and heat sources. This way, moisture is not just removed from the surfaces but also from the air inside the property. When working with experienced professionals, the drying process shouldn’t take excessively long.
Step 5: Decontamination
When water damage is not immediately addressed, it often translates into mold infestation and fungal growth. With moisture, dust, and high humidity, mold can start growing in as little as 24 hours. An experienced water damage restoration company won’t take any chances and will apply antimicrobials and decontaminate the surfaces to destroy any mold spores that might be lingering around.
Step 6: Content Restoration
Today, home restoration companies leverage advanced technologies to salvageable not only the property but also the belongings present inside. Possessions that are considered salvageable are packed and moved to a safe storage facility, where they’re treated to return to their pre-damaged state. These might include items such as clothing, photographs, hard goods, electronics, etc.
By now, you should have developed a profound understanding of what water damage remediation is all about. Considering the health hazards associated with water damage issues, it’s best to leave the job to professionals.
If you’re faced with a water damage emergency, contact Restoration 1 of Middle Tennessee, an experienced disaster recovery company throughout Tennessee.Regardless of the type of water damage and the severity of the problem, our technicians are dedicated to restoring your property to its pre-loss condition in no time!
Click here to obtain a free estimate for your remediation project.