Water Removal in 7 Steps

You Called For Help With Drying Your Flooded Home – Now What?

DRS explains damage and how to restore return your home to pre-damage condition.
Disaster Restoration Specialist assesses damage and explains plan for mitigation of damage.

You just made the horrifying discovery of water creeping, spraying or flooding into your home. Then you made the call to your disaster restoration company. Now they’re on their way to perform an initial inspection. But there you are waiting for water removal with soggy carpet and no running water. You probably wonder what happens now? What will they do? How long will this take?

You were wise to call quickly. Your certified Disaster Restoration Specialist (DRS) will assess your situation and ask questions. How bad is it? How long has it been wet? What materials are wet? Here’s a general picture of mitigation and restoration of most water losses.

1. Address possible dangers

Water in the home doesn’t only damage building materials. It can also present dangerous conditions to your health and safety.  A few possible risks could be electrical shock and gas leaks, compromised ceilings and floors, and asbestos containing materials. Other threats are pathogens in sewage and airborne mold. Each of these and other possible dangers can be an even greater issue than the water flooding your home.

2. Find the water and identify the source

There are many types of water losses. Maybe you have sewage covering the whole basement. Or possibly you had an upstairs bathroom sink overflowing for the entire tenth inning. Where did all that water go? Water migration follows certain habits, but a good technician seeks out the not-so-predictable. Sophisticated instruments find and measure moisture levels in materials such as drywall and wood. These tests define the line between wet and dry materials. An effective drying strategy can now begin.

3. Control mold and microbial growth

DRS applies anti-bacterial product to stop mold growth.
Anti-bacterial applied frequently throughout job process discourages mold growth until materials are dry.

Mold spores were already present in your home (and everyone else’s home) before this disaster. They may have been dormant. But now, those spores have the moisture needed to begin growing and does so at an alarming rate. Timely application(s) of professional grade antimicrobial products are applied to keep mold at bay during the drying process.

4. Manipulate contents to access affected areas

Your DRS needs access to floors and drywall to remove water and dry them. The goods you live with everyday like furniture, cabinets and appliances must be moved. Depending on your situation, they can be moved to another part of your home or packed and stored off-site until restoration is complete.

5. Demolition of water damaged materials and contents

Crew removing vinyl plank flooring.
Vinyl plank flooring may need to be removed in order to dry sub-floor.

A responsible DRS always considers saving your home’s materials and contents first. However, not everything can be salvaged. Non-salvageable items are sorted from salvageable items.Unfortunately, items tainted with sewage can absorb pathogens and therefore cannot be cleaned and dried.

6. Water removal process

A Disaster Restoration Specialist uses many types of equipment to address a water emergency. There are many choices available to the DRS: Water extractors, fans, dehumidifiers, mat systems, and “dragons”. Generally, heaters warm the air, air movers stir up water droplets and dehumidifiers pull that moisture out of the air and drain it away. The amount of water and wet materials determine how long this process takes. Choosing just which pieces of equipment to use – including the size and placement – makes a big difference in how quickly things dry out. You can trust your DRS to choose well and make adjustments as necessary.

7. Monitor progress of water affected materials

Nick uses a hammer probe to read moisture levels in subfloor beneath carpet.
Moisture meters help answer the question “Where is it wet?”

Once equipment is running, your DRS will visit your home daily in most cases, to assess the drying progress. They do this by taking multiple moisture readings to gauge drying progress. The equipment is monitored daily so it can be adjusted and removed as soon as possible.

You made the right choice! A certified, experienced Disaster Restoration Specialist is your best first call when water threatens your home. They’re there for you.

Mold or Mildew – How Do You Know?

Mold growth is more likely than mildew in your house

Mold on interior wall.

As a young parent, one morning I pulled back the curtain in my baby’s newly decorated nursery to find black furry spots covering the window frame. The question of mold or mildew did not apply here; this was definitely mold growing undetected on the wood frame of a damp single pane window. The warmth of the sun on the window and moisture from my too-frequent use of a humidifier provided its favorite conditions. It couldn’t have been happier.

I was staring in disgusted shock at what is commonly referred to as “black mold” (Stachybotrys Chartarum).  But not every patch of mold or mildew encountered is so easily identified. There are in fact thousands of types of mold in the United States and hundreds of thousands of types worldwide.

Mold grows on dead organic materials

Heavy mold growing in wallboard.
Drywall contains cellulose, a plant fiber, which is a favorite food for mold.

The difference between mold and mildew is best determined by the substance on which it grows. A general rule of thumb makes for easy determination:  mold grows on dead materials that were once alive. These materials include wooden framing or sheathing in the attic, drywall under the sink, underneath bathroom vinyl or just about anywhere in your home. It can grow on dead leaves in a crawl space, leather furniture left sitting on a damp carpet and even on natural fibers such as cotton and wool garments.

Powdery mildew on the other hand, generally grows on living organisms – plants. Powdery mildew looks like its name: it has a white appearance and spreads in a flat pattern. It’s not typically found indoors except on houseplants.

Mold and mildew growth should not be allowed in your home

Mold growth discovered on wall and floor after moving appliance.
It’s possible to have mold growing behind cupboards and appliances and not be aware of its presence.

Of course, whether it’s mold or mildew isn’t usually critical to determine. Both have the same undesirable characteristics of maturing to the point of releasing viable spores. When these spores are inhaled, they may cause negative effects on those allergic to the substances they emit. Both will spread if proper conditions continue. And both should be removed to maintain the health and integrity of your home. Click here to read more about mold’s effects on your home and health.

Mold requires specialized cleaning techniques

Crew member in hazmat suit applying mold serum to interior sheeting
Large areas of mold removal require professional equipment and safety gear.

For more information on mold and how to clean mold yourself, The Centers for  Disease Control and Prevention provides excellent information. Or, if you already know you have a bigger job than you can handle and are wondering how much it costs to get mold removed, contact us. We are mold and mildew removal experts.

If it is necessary to determine the type of mold or mildew present in your home, or how to test for mold toxicity, ServiceMaster by Roth can help. Contact us.