Have you recently experienced water in your house that shouldn’t have been there?
Maybe the kids put the wrong soap in the dishwasher causing it to spill out water all over the floor. Or maybe the hose to your washing machine came out of the drain in the wall and dumped water all over your laundry room. These are both common sources of water damage that we at All Nation Restoration see every day. If left uninspected by a water damage restoration company, these types of water losses cause serious damage to your home and property even if you acted quickly in mopping up the water. Below are some tips that might be helpful if this has happened to you and what to expect if you do have water damage.
Have you cleaned up all the water?
Even if you have cleaned up the surface water and have no visible damage, you may still have a problem. Almost immediately following a water spill or leak, water makes its way under the baseboards or cabinets and into the drywall and walls cavities and remains there leaving the area wet for months. A sign that water is trapped behind the baseboards is when the baseboards begin to separate from the wall at the caulk line or begin to show signs of swelling. These areas now become a prime breeding ground for mildew, mold, structural rot, and bad odors, turning what seemed to be an unfortunate water spill that was easily cleaned up, into an issue that requires mold inspectors to write mold protocols and licensed mold remediation companies requiring you to move out of your home, setting up containment barriers and removing harmful mold from your home. These situations are hard for homeowners because most times their insurance companies will deny any chance of a claim due to negligence or simply because most insurance policies don’t cover mold. This is something we at All Nation Restoration wish to spare all homeowners or businesses from experiencing.
What do I need to do if I had a large water spill?
The first step you are going to want to take is to call a reputable water damage restoration company right away to do an inspection of the area using moisture detecting equipment. Most restoration companies can arrive in about 30-45 minutes during an emergency situation and the next day for non-emergencies. You can ask yourself, neighbors, or friends for recommendations or search online and read reviews. Please don’t call just any company, it is very important that you do a little research first so that you know you are getting a company that will be honest with you and not just try to sell you a service you don’t need. While you are waiting I would recommend you make sure that no more spills happen and make an attempt to clean up as much water as possible. Also, be sure to take pictures of the area before you clean it up and document the time you spend cleaning up. This could be helpful should you need to file an insurance claim.
What should I expect if I do have further water damage that needs to be remediated?
What to expect heavily depends on how large of an area is affected, which rooms are affected and what materials, salvageable or non-salvageable, need to be removed in order to dry and treat the structure. When I line my customers out on the scope of work I like to break it down to them by days.
- Day 1(24 hours): Call the insurance company and file a claim if the damages are estimated to be above your deductible. Normal deductibles are about 1% of the value of your home. The water damage restoration company should document the affected area by taking pictures of the damaged structure and contents, extract water if water is still standing or soaked into the carpet, begin filling out their dry logs, manipulate furniture out of the affected area or secure it in the area, remove any non-salvageable carpet and padding and place drying equipment. The drying equipment used in most cases are air movers and dehumidifiers. The fans make a lot of noise and blow a lot of air. The dehumidifiers don’t make a lot of noise, but they do let off a good amount of heat. Some fans on the market are quieter than others but either way, the affected area will no longer be a pleasant place to be. In some cases, the insurance company will pay for a stay at a hotel while the remediation work is taking place if living in the house becomes unbearable. If you are left without a functioning kitchen and/or bathroom then you may be covered for an extended stay. Always check your insurance policy and talk to your insurance agent if you have questions about your coverage.
- Day 2(48 hours): About 12-24 hours after the equipment was placed, the water damage restoration company should come back and check the moisture content in the affected materials. Normally day 2 is when removals take place. If you had non-salvageable carpet and pad, then that should have been removed on day 1. The most common removals are baseboards, toe kicks (the lower portion of your cabinets), laminate or hardwood floors, drywall, and insulation. Other items may also be removed if they impede the process to dry, such as cabinets and vanities. In most cases, drywall and insulation can be dried in place. Once the baseboards have been removed then small holes about a ½” in diameter will be drilled under the baseboard line to allow air movement into the wall cavities. After the removals take place, then the technicians should clean up really well to avoid getting dust blown around your home. The drying equipment is set back up and airflow is now being focused on the wet salvageable materials along with the main structure of your home. By structure I mean the wood framework of your house, such as studs, joists, headers, and beams.
- Day 3 – 6 +(72 – 144+ hours)By this time during the project you should be well on your way to getting things dried out! The average time it takes to dry a structure out completely is about 72 hours. Expect a technician to arrive at the job every day to check on the equipment and how well things are drying up. There are times that it does take longer to dry, it just really depends on the environment of the project. Some variables that can extend the dry time are temperature, multiple levels affected, and equipment. The ideal temperature for the drying environment is between 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit, at this temperature water will evaporate at just the right speed so as to not cause secondary damage to your home or business. When you’re dealing with multiple levels affected by water, then there are more cavities where water can become trapped. We dry out these cavities by injecting dry air into them and it can take longer than 72 hours for the dry air to completely dry out the space. Also, if at all possible you want to make sure the restoration company you hire has up-to-date drying equipment. Restoration equipment is continually becoming more efficient every day. The older equipment that is still being used takes longer to dry out your home and consumes a lot more electricity.
What do I need to do once my house is dry?
Finally, the time has come for the technician to inform you that everything is dry and he can now pull the equipment. I’m sure that you have been eagerly awaiting this news for days! But before he pulls the equipment, be sure to ask the technician if he can show you with his meters that everything is dried out properly. We have seen where technicians want to move on as quickly as possible and they will leave areas wet in order to do so. This is not common, but it does happen. If all is dry and the equipment is powered down, you will experience a quite unlike any other time in your life! The day that the equipment is pulled is normally the day that the affected area gets treated with an antimicrobial agent. This is a secondary treatment method that is applied on porous surfaces and into wall cavities to help kill mold spores and decontaminate the affected areas. The chemical should be safe and non-toxic, but it is applied using a fogger which can be just a bit uncomfortable to breathe in. You should expect to leave the home for a couple of hours after the treatment to allow the antimicrobial to dissipate. The most common antimicrobials are Sporicidin and Microban. The technician should clean up really well before the application to avoid blowing dust all over your home. Also, you should do what you can to put up any exposed food and put out any pets in your home.
This is just a summed version of what to expect during a water-damaged job. Every job is different and not all companies are the same, but the process of mitigating damages does have its protocols for each situation, and finding a company that understands and follows these protocols is a company you should hire. Hang in there and always remember it could be worse!