Recent Water Damage Posts
The Importance of Moisture Meters
Why do we need moisture meters in water damage repair at every step of the job? The answer is quite simple. Moisture meters are used for moisture control to avoid mold build-up and to check moisture in floors, cabinets and other furnishings to avoid cracking, checking and warping. When disaster strikes, a pipe breaks, a roof leaks, or floods occur, we need to act swiftly and remove the excess water before mold builds up. Therefore, every responsible water damage repair company needs moisture meters and thermo-hygrometers to determine the extent of water damage,and later to check the drying progress, then last to confirm all excess water has been removed. Here, the challenge is to find the moisture from the surface to the depth of the absorption. Pin and pinless meters are helpful. Both meters have advantages and disadvantages, and it is not always an easy or clear choice. It is important to use a reliable meter because you do not want to replace materials unnecessarily, you want to replace only the damaged materials with a high moisture content.
The most important principle of drying is to understand the transfer of energy. No one can argue that drying at the correct temperature is the most effective way to restore a wet structure to it preloss condition. Dry too slowly, dry too fast, dry too little, or drying too long are all problematic. Humidity, airflow, temperature and time are four very important elements. Drying time is directly related to the temperature differential between water trapped in materials and the surrounding air, making heat, arguably, one of the most practical ways to dry. The exchange of heat and water vapor from a wet surface determines how quickly a surface will dry. This has been shown in numerous studies on various materials. When we are evaporating moisture we are changing water from a liquid to a gas and as our team of professionals understands, using a chart or calculator helps to make what is often invisible - visible.
Floods are one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether your home or business is near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, near a river or even in the desert, there is always potential for flood damage. Floodsmart.gov reports, in the last five years, all 50 states have experienced floods or flash floods. According to the American Red Cross (ARC), floods cause more damage in the U.S. every year than any other weather-related disaster. The ARC offers the following flood safety tips: Stay away from floodwaters. If you come up on a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around, and go another way. Six inches of swiftly moving water can sweep you off your feet. If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. Keep children out of the water. They are curious and often lack judgment about running water or contaminated water. Do you live in a potential flood risk zone? Check out FEMA's Flood Map Service Center by visiting msc.fema.gov, where you can easily enter your business, home, or other address to determine if your property is at risk for flooding based on a visual flood map.
When your home or business suffers a water damage, understanding what type of water you are dealing with is critical to ensuring proper cleanup. There are three types of water. Clean water is water from a broken pipe, or other water source; rainwater is also considered clean. The term gray water is used to classify slightly contaminated water. Clean water becomes gray water when it is left untreated allowing bacteria and other contaminents to begin growing, making the water hazardous. Black water is highly contaminated and filled with fungi, bacteria, chemicals, and more. Black water is typically caused by sewage damage, flooding or any type of natural disaster. Black water should always be handled by trained professionals. When dealing with black water, it is imperative to wear the proper PPE to insure proper safety practices.
Unexpected water in your basement can damage walls and floors, destroy carpeting, ruin furniture, and lead - pretty quickly - to mold. And perhaps the most upsetting of all: As these places are so often used for storage, a wet basement can ruin irreplaceable items like photo albums, antiques, and family heirlooms. When you experience a flooded basement for the first time, it's imperative to determine if the water problems are going to recur or if it was a one-time event. Can you safely leave your property downstairs once you've got the mess cleaned up? Or does everything need to come upstairs immediately? What's certain is that if water in your basement is a consistent problem, it's time to start making decisions. Determining where the water is coming from is the first and most essential step in solving this problem. Beyond observable flooding around your home and in your neighborhood, there are four common sources of water entering basements: Surface water running down foundation walls. Groundwater in water-saturated soils being pushed into the basement by hydrostatic pressure. Storm sewer water from the municipal storm sewer system backing up into the home's existing perimeter foundation drain and leaking into the basement. Sanitary sewer water from a clog in your home's sewer line, the municipal sewer line, or the combined municipal storm/sanitary sewer system backing up into the home's drain system, causing sewer water to come up through sink drains and floor drains on lower levels. Each source has its own specifics and requires it own course of action. Find out more about your home's drainage system by consulting a contractor or plumber.
What is Sewer Backup?
While floods are probably best known for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses, they can also cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes. These backups not only cause damage that is difficult and expensive to repair, but also create health hazards. Most homeowners and business owners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral-the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located under the street, and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that may extend into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the sewer backup problems. To prevent backups in your lateral and in the city main you need to do several things. One is to dispose of grease properly. Do not wash grease down the drain with hot water. As the grease cools off, it will solidify either in the drain, the property owner's line, or in the main sewer causing the line to constrict and eventually clog. Another is to dispose of paper products properly. Paper towels, diapers, and feminine products can cause many problems in the property owner's lateral as well as in the city main because they do not deteriorate quickly, as bathroom tissue does. Next, you may want to replace your line with new plastic pipe. One way to prevent tree roots from entering your line is to replace your line and tap with new plastic pipe. If you still have problems with tree roots growing in your lateral, you may have to have roots cut periodically. Shrubs and trees seeking moisture can make their way into sewer line cracks causing extensive damage. They may start out small, getting into a small crack in the pipe; but as the tree or shrub continues to grow, so does the root. Tree roots can enter the service pipe at joints and cause blockages. Sometimes a blockage is the result of a combination of city and private trees. In this case, costs are split between the city and property owner.
Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold areas such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the backflow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. To prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross: Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as, outside hoses. Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air circulate near the plumbing. When the weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes. Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night. And call SERVPRO of High Point if you do experience a pipe burst that results in a water loss.
What Not to Do If You Have Water Damage
Don't enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist. Don't enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrial equipment are exposed to water. Don't leave books, newspapers, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors to cause staining. Don't leave oriental rugs or other colored rugs on wet wall-to-wall carpets to cause staining. Don't use your household vacuum cleaner to remove water, possibly causing electrical shock or damage to the vacuum cleaner. Don't use tv's or other appliances while standing on wet carpets or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
What To Do If You Have Water Damage
Shut off the source of water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source. Turn off circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, when access to the power distribution panel is safe from electrical shock. Remove as much excess water from wood furniture after removing lamps and tabletop items. Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting. Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable and sensitive to moisture. Use wooden clothespins to keep furniture skirting off damp floors. Hang draperies and coated hangers to avoid contact with wet carpeting or floors. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips
Most everyone is aware that water problems can lead to mold growth…let’s look at some simple steps you can take to help prevent mold growth. We know that water is needed for the growth of mold, so I want to share with you the EPA’s Moisture and Mold Prevention and Control Tips from their website, www.epa.gov.
- Act quickly with water leaks or spills occur indoors. If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases, you can prevent mold growth.
- Clean and repair roof gutters regularly to keep outside water from penetrating inside your home and creating a moisture problem inside the walls and ceiling of your home.
- Make sure the ground slopes away from your home’s foundation so water cannot collect or enter at the foundation
- Keep air conditioning drip pans clean and drain lines unobstructed and flowing properly.
- Keep indoor humidity low (between 30 and 50 percent is ideal but anything below 60 percent relative humidity is good). Relative humidity can be measured with a moisture or humidity meter, a small, inexpensive ($10-$50) instrument available at many hardware stores.
- If you see condensation or moisture collecting on windows, walls or pipes, act quickly to dry the wet surface. Condensation can
be a sign of high humidity.
Ways to reduce humidity and prevent condensation include:
- Vent appliances (such as clothes dryers and stoves) to the outside of the house when possible.
- Run the bathroom fan or open the window when showering.
- Use exhaust fans when cooking or running the dishwasher.
- Cover cold surfaces such as cold water pipes with insulation.
Increase ventilation or air movement by opening
doors and windows (whenever practical) or using fan
Water damage can be costly and a big inconvenience. It can occur as a result of many circumstances and you cannot control all of the sources or situations that may lead to water damage. However, there are things you can do to reduce the possibility of water damages occurring. Today we are going to focus on Plumbing as the cause. Here are the most common reasons for water damage in your home or business as a result of plumbing:
- Faulty Construction
- Malfunctioning Water Filtration System
- Problems with Dishwasher Supply Line
- Sink Malfunction
- Problems with Ice Maker Water Supply Line
- Toilet Overflow or Back-up
- Malfunctioning Water Heater
- Frozen Pipes – Pipe Breaks / Leaks
- Problems with the Clothes Washer Water Supply Line
It is always good to keep a check on the plumbing areas you can see…toilets, sinks, refrigerators and washing machines to make sure they are in good running order. By routinely checking, you could find any small problem before it becomes a major problem. This could save you from having a major issue in your home.
Basement Waterproofing is needed anytime a structure is built at ground level or below ground. Waterproofing and drainage considerations are especially needed in cases where ground water is likely to build up in the soil and raise the water table. This higher water table causes hydrostatic pressure to be exerted underneath basement floors and against basement walls. Hydrostatic pressure
forces water in through cracks in foundation walls, through openings caused by expansion and contraction of the footing-foundation wall joint and up through floor cracks. Hydrostatic pressure can cause major structural damage to foundation walls and is likely to contribute to mold, decay and other moisture related problems.
Warning signs that you have waterproofing problems in your basement can include:
- Signs of Mold and Mildew Fungus - this can grow in damp or dark areas, and cause discoloration, or musty odors.
- Moldy Odors - This is the result of the decay process from mold, and dry rot.
- Peeling Paint – This is a sign that you have moisture problems and may have waterproofing issues.
- Damp Spots on Walls – Water has absorbed through your walls and you need to confirm the source of the water.
- White Substance on Basement Walls – This is a chemical breakdown of the bonding agent that holds your walls together. This white substance can be a sign of possible structural deterioration.
- Cracked Walls – These should be inspected to determine the exact cause.
- Rust on Appliances or Furniture Like furnaces – Rust is caused by a wet environment and can be a sign of waterproofing issues.
If you have on-going occurrences in your basement you may need to investigate on procedures to waterproof your basement. Mold remediation can be handled professionally but but if the source is not repaired you will be dealing with the various signs above over and over again. If any of these signs sound familiar please make sure you look into fixing the source of the water intrusion instead of fixing the affects of the water damage time after time. It may cost money up front but it will save you money in the long run and help to maintain the structural integrity of the home.
A Leaky Roof Can Lead to Trouble
If you see spots in the ceiling like this one it may be time to have your roof inspected for a potential leak.
If you discover that your roof is leaking it is extremely important to take prompt action to have it repaired. Not doing so may put your entire home at risk. If your roof is leaking, even if it only appears to be a minor leak, this could be an indicator of a much greater problem. Even a small leak in your roof can cause a great deal of damage if it persists long enough, so make sure you do not let it continue once a leak is discovered.
Usually a roof leak will be noticed from inside of the home when water rings or ceiling stains form on the ceiling. A leak of any kind can create an environment that can lead to ceiling instability, water intrusion through cracks or electrical receptacles, deterioration of the structure and even mold growth. Water Damage can really damage the structure of a home and the repairs can be costly. Early detection and proactive maintenance can greatly reduce the damage and cost of these repairs. It may be difficult to readily identify the source of the water intrusion, which is why water rings or leaks should never be ignored. Roofs are one of the biggest protectors of our home and over time they can become damaged due to bad weather, harsh climates and poor maintenance. The strength and longevity of a roof can also be compromised due to poor quality materials or improper installation so make sure you hire a professional company with experience who stands behind their work.
Once a roofing company is contacted, they should do whatever is necessary
initially to protect the inside of your home from more moisture. Usually, a roofing company will use tarps to protect the interior of your home from further damage until the roof is repaired or replaced. Fortunately, a roof assessment can reveal if the damage occurred due to storm damage and sometimes insurance companies provide coverage for this scenario. When it comes to protecting your home, investing in quality materials and workmanship is always worth the cost!
It's The Water You Don't See
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time. The key to avoid costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO of High Point has the equipment, training and experience to find and dry the unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters technology and equipment must be counted on to perform. We will answer your call with fast action and a full arsenal of drying equipment.
Here are just some of the tools we use:
Moisture Sensors which are used to detect moisture in carpets baseboards or walls.
Moisture Meters which are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materials. This allows us to monitor the drying process with accuracy.
- Thermohygrometers which are used to measure the temperature and relative humidity of a structure. This allows us to create an environment most conducive for drying.
There are many other tools and equipment used to make sure we can discover the water you don’t see and make sure it does not become a problem for you in the future. The bottom line is your SERVPRO professionals have the equipment, technology, training, and experience to help make your fire, water and mold problems “Like it never even happened.”