Everything that is in excess could do more damage than good. And water, like everything else should be moderate and controlled in order to provide and maximize its potential necessity. However, too much water has a disastrous effect since it could reduce natural and other elements into their basic components and form. Hence, restoration of property and other valuable possessions affected by water damage must be done quickly, thoroughly and affordably.
In order to attain service efficiency in drying structures, proper and appropriate scheduling should be done by the service contractor or company hired to do the work. Scheduling of work, achieving the required objectives and finishing the job at a timely fashion, which is required and convenient for the building owner or household owner must be done.
Water damage restoration professionals initially start at defining the extent of water damage. The damage should be assessed in three aspects which are:
1. Water always seeks its lowest level, thus a wet normally dries up in time.
2. Just looking at the extent of water damage on the floor is not sufficient since the service contractor must take into consideration the height of the water damaged on the wall and how far down has the water damage gone into the substrate. This generally includes inspection of crawl spaces located at the foundation of the affected infrastructure or house.
3. To be able to effectively determine the degree of damage done by the water, a water damage expert or professional should have specialized inspection tools and meters to gauge the damaged incurred.
In relation to the preceding statements, a water damage contractor must have knowledge about the “science of drying”, which is likewise called psychometry. A homeowner has the prerogative of asking the water damage contractor about the standard dryness of each structural part that suffered water damage. By having the appropriate water damage experience and equipment, the water damage contractor or professional should be able to say on a range of one hundred (100) points about the moisture content of non-water damage and water damaged materials. If the present contractor cannot offer any information regarding the moisture content of the materials, it is advisable to call or locate another water damage professional who can. Aside from this the water damage contractor must be able to sketch a map regarding the moisture that fully presents the extent of the water damage. The map must be updated on a daily basis to demonstrate how the structural drying activity is making headway.
In a likely manner, the water damage professional contractor should inform the homeowner of the potential secondary damages or problems that could arise as a result of water damage on the house structure. Such secondary damages are attributable to increase of vapor pressure and contamination of bacteria and molds (fungi). It is imperative that the hired water damage contractor notes down and uses a thermo-hygrometer to project the potential drying of the environment. And since water damage is a continuous occurrence that may worsen unless acted upon immediately, a 24/7 service should be provided by the contractor.
The drying method and technique applied by the water damage contractor should be scientifically based on the porosity of materials involved, the area/size of the water damage and the category of inflicted water damage. It is recommended that the water damage contractor be able to present a certification on structural drying/water damage restoration and mold remediation. Because knowledge of water and mold damage correlation is compulsory.
Materials which are affected by sewage water or any other outside effluent water damage, must be removed and or disposed off accordingly in consistent with the acceptable procedure for water damage restoration. Also the best extracting tools must be used to remove carpets and any other floor padding such as sub-surface extraction tools. If wall-to-wall carpet must be removed, the trained water damage contractor/specialist has the option to “float” it. But this is the last resort that must be done since there are new technologies that could be employed to dry the carpet without the need to float it. Floating weakens the attachment of the carpet’s primary and secondary backing. Should the contractor choose to float a wall-to-wall carpet, the cost of replacement must be shouldered by the contractor. Unless of course if the household owner or the customer instructs him to administer the floating.
Every homeowner should be aware or familiar with the classes of water losses and categories of water in order to understand the extent of losses and degree of damaged bought about by water into the household structure. Below are summarized descriptions on classes of water losses and categories of water:
Category 1 – refers to clean water at source.
Category 2 – starts with contamination and may cause sickness and other human
discomforts once ingested.
Category 3 - means highly unsanitary (since the source is from the sewage) and
could cause illness or death once consumed by humans.
*Water category 1 or 2 will eventually change to water category 2 or 3 when left unprocessed for a certain period of time.
Class 1 – losses which are limited caught in the nick of time and contain few materials that are porous or absorbent.
Class 2 – losses that involve high quantities or very absorbent materials like carpet and pads.
Class 3 – involves water that comes from overhead, wall frames, ceilings, drywall, insulation and floor materials that are highly absorbent.
Class 4 – is the special drying of materials in the form of concrete, stucco, hardwood, masonry, plaster and saturated ground soil.
There are actually different techniques that are used for structural drying. One of these methods is the “in-place” drying technique which was used and taught in the early 1980’s. The “in-place” drying method during the past decades allows the drying of structural components without major taking away of furniture and fixtures. However, there were some limitations in the employment of equipment for extraction, evaporation and dehumidification. But in recent years, the “in-place” drying system has made great leaps and advances due in part to the better understanding of psychometry; making the aforementioned technique more practical and safe for all concerned.
The use of ‘in-place” drying will depend on several factors that must be meticulously appraised should insufficient drying and secondary damages in the form of microbial growth are to be prevented from occurring. This includes but should not be limited to the following:
- Qualification of the contractor or technicians who were hired to do the job. This would include experiences and academic training.
- Availability of equipment that are technologically advanced.
- The water damage contractor’s knowledge and implementation of the Four Principles of Drying, the Classes of Losses and Categories of Water.
- Proper documentation of drying conditions and all activities therein, which should include illustrations of work progression.
For a successful drying project and reduction of any probable microbial growth, a homeowner must be aware of the four significant principles of drying, which a water damage contractor must do in the following order:
1. Excess Water Removal
This pertains to draining, pumping, absorbing and vacuuming methods applied to remove the presence of visible water. It is said that the excess water removal principle is the most abused principle since some contractors are not willing to invest in proper equipment and time to extract surplus moisture sufficiently. In general, water removal could be done in minutes or seconds as compared to evaporation and dehumidification of the same water quantity that actually takes hours and days to finish. Proper water removal or extraction could cut down the Category 1, Class 2 drying activities by a number of days.
The second structural drying principle is evaporation, which entails changing the physical aspect of water from liquid to vapor. The fast movement of air from any professional drying tools or equipment heightens the rate of moisture evaporation into the air. Thus, minimizing the moisture or dampness on the surfaces, which aids in microbial propagation. This likewise incorporates evaporative cooling of structures and components to further prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.
Upon evaporation of moisture from the structural materials, the specific humidity (SH), relative humidity (RH), and vapor pressure of air increases. Vapor pressure coerces the evaporation of moisture within cavities, structural materials and contents that results in having considerable secondary damage that increases the cost and scope of water damage. The dehumidification process speeds up drying by lowering vapor pressure and raising moisture out of materials into the air.
4. Temperature Control
The last but not the least principle of drying is the proper control of temperature within a given environment. For this influences the efficiency of evaporation, dehumidification and the ability of microorganisms to thrive.
A water damaged home requires a professional service from a highly experienced and trained water damage contractor who will be able to provide the needed details and information if the damage is a result of a flood or not, giving the homeowner the leeway to act appropriately as the situation requires. As a true professional, the water damage contractor must not provide less service value just to save on insurance money. And neither does a professional water damage contractor provide more service for the benefit of the insurance policy holder. Service must be done according to what is required, which must not jeopardize quality.