Water Damage

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Water Damage

Water damage?

After your company experiences water damage from a leaky pipe, rainstorm or flood, you naturally want to have things back to normal as soon as possible.

If you’re dealing with anything other than a huge incursion, you reluctantly might be considering tackling the cleanup and drying yourself to save money or time. The problem is that cleaning up and recovering from water damage isn’t necessarily as straightforward as it appears. This post highlights 3 important things you want to be aware of when addressing water damage from a small clean water (or Category 1) incursion. 

1) Know What You're Dealing With

If you read our recent post on understanding the risks of water damage, then you know that water damage can be caused by three different types of water, for example: |}

  • Clean water (Category I)
  • Gray water (Category 2)
  • Black water (Category 3)

It’s important to see the differences because Category 2 and Category 3 water pose health risks to your employees and customers and have to be handled differently. The most likely sources of fresh water would be water from a pipe, water heater, steam lines or even rainwater. The basic rule of thumb is that it should look and smell like tap water.

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2) Be Sure You Investigate All the Damage

The challenging thing about recovering from water damage from something such as a broken pipe or rainwater incursion is that you can typically only see a small part of the actual damage. The majority of the moisture is often hidden in walls, and it’s vital to recognize and dry all the affected areas to reduce mold.

The methods for dealing with damage to walls depend on the type of materials and also what’s behind those materials. Drywall can frequently be salvaged, when you respond quickly to damage. You can buy moisture meters that permit you to assess structural integrity. If the integrity checks out then your drying strategy will be dependent on wall contents. If the wall has insulation, you will have to use flood cuts. If there is no insulation, then usually the best way is to create weep holes. And if you’re dealing with a firewall, you’ll want to use staggered cuts.

You will also want to pull and assess your base molding and flooring materials. If you the floors are carpet, you may be able to pull back the wet area and dry it (and the flooring materials using a fan).

3) Establish Proper Airflow and Maintain the Windows Closed When Drying

Once you discover moisture, your first instinct may be to open windows to help with the drying process, but it may not be your best move. For example, if your building is mechanically ventilated, the systems require constant pressure levels to work properly. You also want to avoid excess coolness or heat and humidity, or you may end up complicating the drying procedure.

Once you’ve pulled away wet materials and established holes or cuts in the wall as needed, you’ll typically need 1 air mover for every 15 — 25 square feet of floor, unless the moisture load and density is especially high, you might need more. To prevent mold, make sure each the layers and materials are dry before putting everything back together. {

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