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Can Electronics be Salvaged After a Flood?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Water inundating a home affects everything it comes into contact with to some degree. The quandary for the homeowner trying to sort things out is deciding which items can be saved and which must be discarded. This is particularly true of electronics, as these are usually very vulnerable to water damage and typically costly to replace.

First, be aware of some specific rules dealing with wet electronics:

  • Don’t turn on electronics that are suspected of exposure to water or high levels of water vapor. Leave them off and unplug the unit.
  • Don’t try to dry electronic components in a microwave oven or conventional oven.
  • Don’t open up wet electronic items yourself to let them air-dry. Refer that job to a qualified electronics technician. Your water damage specialist can usually recommend one.

Here are some ways water damage typically will affect electronics:

High Humidity

Water flooding a house raises indoor humidity into the extreme range. Water vapor in the air easily penetrates electronic devices and condenses on circuit boards and other components. As long as the device has not been powered on, a professional technician can usually dry and clean these components in a cost-effective procedure

Rainfall or Splashing Water

Rain may contact electronics inside the house if the roof is damaged in a storm, for example. If standing water is present, splashing may affect electronic components in otherwise dry areas near the water. If direct rain or splashing has contacted an electronic item, professional drying and cleaning can often restore them, as long as there was limited contact with water. However, note that this recovery process must begin ASAP as corrosion affecting circuit boards begins rapidly after water exposure.

Water Submersion

In most cases, electronics totally submerged under water are not recoverable or not worth the high cost of attempting professional salvage. Replacing the unit is usually more financially viable. If data storage devices such as hard drives are involved, these components can be removed from the wet unit and are a good candidate for recovery services that can rescue the data, but this service can run high, as well.

Can Flooded Hardwood Floors Be Saved?

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

flooded hardwood floorNot all parts of a house are equal when it comes to recovery after a flood. Hardwood flooring presents its own set of specific challenges when affected by water damage. Successfully drying out a hardwood floor in place requires professional techniques and specialized equipment. Because wood is particularly prone to mold growth, rapid intervention to prevent mold contamination is also critical.

Moisture content of a hardwood floor in a dry environment varies from 6% to 12%. Following exposure to flooding, however, the moisture content may rise to 40% or more. Left alone, this high level may persist for weeks and even months, causing irreparable damage to a wood floor.

What Are The Options?

Simply plugging in a fan and attempting to air-dry the floor while hoping for the best isn’t a viable strategy. It’s a fact: In certain cases, hardwood flooring can’t be saved and must be removed. For the best chance of recovery, however, here are some of the techniques that may be applied by qualified water damage pros:

  • Water-soaked carpeting as well as all furniture must be moved from the room.
  • Utilizing a professional-grade extractor, standing water will be removed from the floor surface. After standing water is removed, as much residual moisture as possible will also be extracted from the porous surface of the wood.
  • The floor is scrubbed with a disinfecting cleaner to remove flood water residue, then dried with the extractor again.
  • An industrial strength dehumidifier set to the highest setting should run continuously in the affected room during recovery. Floor fans may also be utilized to move air.
  • A professional panel drying system may be adhered to the floor to inject dehumidified air directly into the flooring material and accelerate drying.
  • Moisture measurements must be made at predetermined intervals to chart the progress of drying and determine when goals have been met.

An experienced water damage remediation specialist can assist in making an informed decision to salvage a hardwood floor or to replace it.

5 Essential Flood Safety Tips For Your Family

Friday, April 20th, 2018

flood dangerFlood safety can be an issue no matter where you live. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, no geographic locale in the U.S. is totally immune to flooding from some source. In an average year, about 85 people are killed by floods in the U.S. However, “average” can be misleading: over twice that many (175) died in 2015.

The basics of flood safety sound simple: Go away when you’re told to leave and stay away until it’s safe to come home. However, a number of measures need to be taken while you’re home, when you leave and after you return.

1. Get Ready

If the potential for flooding exists, stay alert by monitoring TV and radio broadcasts. Prepare for  evacuation and inform all family members. Decide what to do about pets. Move valuables including furniture and electronics to a higher level in the house if possible. Disconnect electrical appliances.

2. Evacuate Promptly

If told to evacuate, do so without delay. Stay on recommended routes and don’t deviate to observe the flood.  If rising water stalls your car, abandon the vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground. Water less than a foot deep can sweep you off your feet so don’t wade into moving water. Avoid active disaster areas where rescue or emergency crews are working.

3. After The Flood Is Over

Don’t return home until you are given an all-clear. If the house is flooded, don’t enter it until electricity has been shut off—preferably by a qualified electrician removing the meter. Shut off natural gas at the meter valve.

4. Safety At Home

Be aware of hazards posed by contaminated floodwater. Avoid contact with bare skin, eyes and by inhalation. Stay out of rooms with sagging ceilings or bulging, drooping walls. Structure could collapse at any time.

5. In The Aftermath

Toxic mold growth in the house is a frequent after-effect of indoor flooding. Mold may cause illness and allergic reactions if not appropriately treated by qualified personnel. Report any symptoms to your physician.


5 Of The Most Common Questions Regarding Flooding In The Home

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

flooding questionsIf your home is flooded, you will invariably have questions about what to do. That’s entirely understandable. Outside of professionals, nobody really wants to become an expert on water damage by getting first-hand experience with it. Here are just five of the typical questions we hear from homeowners:

Why me?

According to insurance industry statistics, you are not alone. 37% of American homeowners have experienced indoor water damage serious enough to cause an insurance claim. It’s predicted that 98% of houses with basements will sustain basement flooding at some point. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that there is no locale in the U.S. with zero risk of flooding.

What should be my first priority?

Above all, stay safe. A flooded house poses serious safety risks including electrical hazards, wall or ceiling collapse, and danger from contaminated floodwater.

Should I wait for the insurance adjuster?

Contact your insurer ASAP. However, in a time-critical crisis where prompt contact may not be available, insurers generally expect that you will take whatever measures are necessary to prevent worsening damage to your home, including summoning qualified professional water damage recovery services to intervene immediately.

How long will recovery take?

The answer depends on how extensive water exposure is and how promptly recovery techniques are applied. In the average case, if qualified recovery service is accessed ASAP, it takes two or three days to dry out a home. If water exposure has continued for an extended period before help is summoned, the estimated completion time could run to five days.

What happens after the fact?

Water damage includes the potential for subsequent mold contamination. As the house is being dried, mold remediation procedures are also underway. After the initial recovery process has concluded, to verify that structural dryness meets industry specifications as well as confirm that mold contamination is no longer a potential threat, one or more follow-up visits will include moisture measurements as well as air samples for mold spores.


Cleaning Up After A Flood Doesn’t Have To Be Overwhelming

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

flood cleanupIs cleaning up after a flood doable for the do-it-yourselfer? Depends on the water source and the volume. Clean water leaking directly from supply pipes or common indoor fixtures and appliances is classified as Category 1. Common examples include ruptured hoses connected to the rear of a washing machine, a leaking water heater tank or water from other supply lines such as a dishwasher or a refrigerator ice maker.

The deciding factor in cleaning up after a flood yourself is how quickly you detect leakage and shut off the source of water. If you act fast and Category 1 water is limited to the floor of a single room, cleanup is feasible. However, if water has spread into additional rooms, saturated drywall or migrated down through ceilings into lower levels of the house—or if more than 8 hours elapsed before the leakage was discovered—seek professional water damage recovery services. In these cases, advanced drying techniques and preventive measures to inhibit toxic mold growth are required.

Here’s how to handle cleanup of smaller Category 1 cases yourself:

  • If necessary to stop leakage, turn off water to the house at the main shutoff valve.
  • Make sure a wet room is safe by shutting off electricity to the room at the circuit breaker panel.
  • Get any saturated throw rugs, cushions or other absorbent materials out of the house.
  • Water pooled on hard flooring can be mopped up or soaked up with towels. If the room opens to the outdoors, you may use a floor squeegee or wide broom to push pooled water out an exterior door.
  • If installed carpet is wet and you have a wet/dry vacuum (or opt to rent one) extract as much water as possible and allow the carpet to air dry with adequate ventilation.
  • High indoor humidity after flooding spreads and causes secondary damage. Ventilate the house by opening windows and running fans. If temperatures permit, running the central A/C also helps lower indoor humidity.

For professional advice and service cleaning up after a flood, contact the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc.


The Flood Is Over… But Is It Safe To Go Home?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

flooded homeReentering a flooded house is a priority for most homeowners as soon as the water recedes. However, it’s important to consider this: Any structure affect by floodwater must be considered a hazardous environment. Injuries and death frequently occur after the main disaster event has subsided—just when the occupants thought it was safe to come back again. Before hastily reentering a flooded house, stop and think about these factors first.

  • If evacuation was mandatory, you shouldn’t even be in the vicinity until local authorities have given the green light for residents to return. You may expose yourself to law enforcement sanctions if you come back to an area before it is officially permissible.
  • Don’t enter a flooded house if the electricity is on. Shut off electricity at the main panel only if the area of the house where the panel is located is completely dry. If it is wet, you’ll need an electrician or a technician from the utility to disconnect power at the meter. Even if the local power grid is down, stay out of the structure until house power has been shut off. Grid electricity could be restored without warning at any minute and result in electrocution.
  • If you smell natural gas, shut off the gas at the main shutoff valve. If you are unable to access the shutoff valve, stay out of the house and call the gas company.
  • Floodwater is contaminated and toxic. Take precautions to avoid direct contact with floodwater including proper clothing, gloves, eye protection and a breathing mask.
  • Be aware of structural hazards. Stay out of rooms with sagging, saturated walls or ceiling. They may collapse at any time.
  • Don’t wade into deep standing water such as a flooded basement.
  • Be aware that animals including venomous snakes may inhabit flooded premises.
  • Open doors and windows to initiate ventilation.
  • Once power is safely restored, don’t turn on any major appliances or your HVAC system if these components were contacted by floodwater. They should be inspected by an electrician first.

Ask the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc. for more about safely reentering a flooded house.


Flooding Aftermath: Cleaning up When the Unexpected Occurs

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

flood damaged carpetWhen flooding strikes your home, what can you do yourself and what should be left to experts? In most cases, an inundation by outdoor flooding calls for professional water damage recovery to protect your house and belongings—not only from the immediate damage but from long-term consequences such as toxic mold contamination. That’s one reason homeowner’s insurance companies typically require clean-up to be performed by a qualified water damage recovery firm with the training and specialized equipment to mitigate losses in the aftermath of significant flooding. However, that doesn’t rule out a few basic, do-it-yourself efforts to expedite the process:

  • First, don’t enter the house until it has been declared safe. If electricity is on, be aware of electrocution hazards in the wet environment. Wear a face mask for breathing protection, gloves and boots to avoid contact with flood water.
  • Remove as much pooled water as possible by pushing it out the door using a floor squeegee or, if one is not available, a wide floor broom. Don’t wade into deep standing water such as a flooded basement, however.
  • Excessive indoor humidity from flooding can damage parts of the house that aren’t directly contacted by water. Open doors and windows throughout the house to allow humidity to escape. If you have electricity, run fans to enhance ventilation but don’t use in wet areas.
  • If water inundation is due to widespread outdoor flooding, consider all water inside the house to be contaminated with sewage, toxic chemicals and/or other health threats. Any items contacted by flood water thus need to be disinfected with a mixture of 3/4 cup of chlorine bleach per one gallon of clean water. Items you elect not to disinfect should be removed and discarded.
  • Carpets soaked by outdoor flood waters should be considered contaminated and can be removed from the house immediately if practical. If water contacting the carpet came from a clean indoor source like a ruptured pipe, leave it in place for water damage professionals to extract the water. Throw rugs can usually be washed and disinfected.

For qualified professional water damage recovery services, contact Rytech, Inc.


Why You Need a Home Inventory of Valuables

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

When damage or disaster strikes, a home inventory of valuables can help pave the road to recovery afterwards. Personal possessions are getting more valuable as each year passes. Today, water damage is the second most common homeowner’s insurance claim. Average minimum losses from water damage start around $2,500, rising well into five figures in many cases. In the stressful aftermath of water damage, fire or burglary, attempting to recall entirely from memory all damaged or missing personal possessions—as well as their original value—in order to get proper compensation from your insurance company can be difficult and, often, inaccurate.

home inventory of valuablesThe Insurance Information Institute states, “The more documentation you have regarding your possessions, the better your insurance company will be able to handle your claim. Your claim will be processed more rapidly than otherwise and you are more likely to collect in full.” Insurance companies leave the burden of reporting full information about lost or damaged possessions entirely on the policyholder. That’s why you need an up-to-date home inventory of valuables.

  • Make a list. Go through all valuables stored anywhere in the home and make a written list of any items you would want replaced in the event of damage or theft. For electronics and other technology be sure to record model numbers and serial numbers.
  • Gather paperwork. Locate purchase receipts, warranty information or any other hardcopy proof of ownership and bring all these documents together in a central location.
  • Photograph and video. Create a visual record of valuables with a digital camera. For multiple items in a large space, it may be easier to video rather than shoot each item individually. Store the digital record on permanent media or in cloud storage and make backup copies.
  • Use an app. Numerous software applications are available to create an organized home inventory of valuables. These resources allow you to input all inventory data, including photos, into a standardized format such as .pdf that can be easily printed out or exported.

Don’t be caught without a home inventory of valuables when loss occurs. Contact the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc., for more information.