In this day and age where every transaction and change that occurs in the world is being reduced into writing, documents have become an important part of people’s lives. Documents can symbolize and represent a person’s status, career, relationships and other important dealings. They can give birth to rights and responsibilities. They can be a source of liberty and of the lack of it. They can make or break a person and can affect many lives just by their mere existence. This is the reason why most documents go through rigorous processes before becoming valid and irreplaceable copies. This is necessary in order to make documents authoritative. People usually put a lot of effort into gathering the information needed to complete important documents. When these documents are validated and certified as public records, they become costly and impossible to replace.
These are the most important reasons why documents must be preserved at all costs. The most common cause of document destruction is water damage. Nowadays, water damage is easily becoming a common occurrence in any home or office. Any building may experience flooding, pipe leakages and excessive water drips. These may be caused either by natural or manmade factors. Natural calamities such as heavy rainfall or the rise of water levels in rivers and streams can occur unexpectedly. The home may be completely flooded by these flood waters in a matter of seconds and there is little time for the residents to salvage everything. The same thing may happen when there are leaks in the household’s water system. The leaks may continually take place overnight without the homeowners noticing. When the leaks are left unattended, water may seep into furniture, desks and drawers. The waters, whether caused by flooding or leaks, can easily reach important documents which were not safely kept or put in waterproof cabinets, thus causing more damage than meets the eye.
When important documents in the house suffer from water damage, it is crucial to attend to the restoration of such documents at once. Otherwise, the damage will become irreversible and homeowners will be subjected to the high costs of replacing them. Homeowners should be very careful when dealing with these water-damaged documents. They have to carefully study the various ways of doing water damage restoration when important documents are involved.
The most basic form of water damage restoration is air drying. This is simple and easy to do. All that the homeowner needs to do is to put the documents in a safe surface and in a room with low moisture levels. The documents can also be dried outside if they are kept safe from being blown away by the wind. The important thing to consider when doing air drying is the drying space. This will determine the speed at which the documents will be dried and restored. The documents may also be fastened up in clothes strings in order to hasten drying. This will allow both sides of a document to get air-dried at the same time. The homeowner must however make sure that the documents are secure when this is done. Otherwise, the documents may be blown off by the wind and eventually get ripped and torn.
But although air drying is the easiest and least expensive method to dry water-damaged documents, it is not always the most efficient process available. Air drying is only advisable when there are only a few documents that are damaged and when the damage is not very extensive. This includes documents that have only become damp or slightly wet. However, when the damage is great and the documents have been completely submerged in water, homeowners must resort to dehumidification and document freeze drying techniques.
Homeowners can resort to such dehumidification procedures when performing document drying. This is possible when the necessary dehumidifiers are available in the home. It is very important for the homeowner to cordon off the area where the water damaged documents will be treated. The area must be kept free from moisture and air movement must be encouraged in order to hasten the drying of the documents. Dehumidification is usually resorted to when the moisture levels can no longer be controlled by mere water extraction. Most state-of-the-art dehumidifiers work by removing the water in the documents, taking in the moisture and allowing the water vapor to compress. The dry air in the atmosphere of the room where the documents are kept is heated in the equipment and subsequently released. The cycle is repeated again and again. The moisture-rich air is absorbed, reheated and released as dry air continuously.
While homeowners can resort to the above-mentioned procedures, the best and safest way to dry documents is still document freeze drying. This is the process that homeowners should resort to if they want to be certain about salvaging important documents. Freeze drying is the most effective way of restoring documents that have come in contact with water. Freezing arrests the spread of the water damage and allows more room for restoration. It also prevents splotching and blotting. It safeguards the document prints and therefore makes sure that the contents of the documents are still readable. Freezing makes retrieval of water damaged documents a possibility. It also halts the spread of the ink to other parts of the paper. This is very important in preserving the original form of the document.
But before resorting to freeze drying, homeowners must take extra care in handling the damaged documents. If the said documents have been submerged in water for a long time, they will be very fragile. They can be destroyed if too much pressure is applied in handling them. The ink will also smear if the documents are handled the wrong way. Homeowners must therefore take extra caution in putting them inside the freezer in order to avoid damaging the documents.
Document freeze drying is a complicated process so if homeowners decide to resort to this process, they must seek the help of companies offering freeze drying services. These professionals are equipped with the expertise and modern equipment necessary to perform efficient document freeze drying techniques.
These companies usually execute vacuum freeze-drying on water damaged documents. This method involves the removal of water from such documents in order to hasten the drying process. The documents are frozen until they become very hard. This is to make sure that the structure of the document is preserved. Thus, restoration will be easier since the document will stay in shape.
Vacuum pumps are also utilized in freeze drying. The purpose of pumps is to remove the vapor of excess moisture from the document. This will ensure that the document is completely free from moisture and thus ready for complete restoration. After the moisture vapors are removed, the documents will be heated through the use of light or coils of heat. The heat will remove any remaining water in the documents. When all these steps are undertaken, the documents will most likely be perfectly restored and the concerned homeowners will have peace of mind.
Another advantage of freeze drying is that it helps prevent the spread and reproduction of molds in water-damaged documents. Mold spores which are transported through the air are quick to land on surfaces which are moist or damp. Molds may initially be invisible until they have gradually spread all over the documents. When molds can be perceived, it is usually a signal that the documents are speedily deteriorating. Molds can be very destructive to paper and wooden surfaces. Restoration is more challenging when molds have already invaded the material of the documents. Document freeze drying is also a way of doing mold restoration. When the moisture is completely removed from the damaged documents, the growth and reproduction of molds are also put to a stop. This increases the chances of the documents being restored to their original state.
It is also important for homeowners to know that documents which undergo freezing for restoration purposes are put in special packages before being frozen. Otherwise, the documents may get damaged when moisture leaks into the packages. When this happens, the documents may get distorted and may come off worse than before. This requires the practice of informed caution as companies may also be negligent when it comes to freezing packages. It will be helpful if homeowners themselves are vigilant about this.
Documents are a very important part of people’s lives. We now live in a society that is structured on the organization of data and information. Rights and responsibilities are often derived from the information contained in records. It is therefore very important that homeowners are well-equipped with the knowledge of how to immediately attend to important documents that have been exposed to water damage. This can save homeowners the high costs of reproducing and replacing the documents. It can no longer be denied that procedures such as document drying and document freeze drying are just as important as authoring the documents themselves. These procedures are not only curative but are preventive as well.