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How Do You Safely Get Rid of Water in a Flooded Room?

Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

flooded roomThe sight of a flooded room in your house can be panic-inducing. Standing water definitely doesn’t belong here and your first overwhelming instinct is to get it out. The consequences of water influx sufficient to flood a room generally require professional water damage recovery methods ASAP, as water damage spreads deep into the structure and mold growth is rapidly triggered. In certain cases, however, DIY methods can successfully remove at least some of the water before turning the job over to qualified pros.

First, note these cautions:

Never enter a flooded room where electricity is still live. Turn off circuit breakers that control power to that room. If the electrical panel is inaccessible due to flooding, call an electrician.

Consider the source. If water came from a ruptured water supply line or an event like an overflowing washing machine, basic personal protection such as gloves and rubber boots are likely sufficient. If it’s a sewage backup, outdoor flooding, toilet overflow or other potentially toxic source, however, leave water removal to qualified professionals.

To move water fast:

  • Before starting, take photos to document the extent of flooding.
  • Use buckets. Flexible plastic buckets to scoop up standing water is a quick way to remove a large volume. It’s also physically strenuous—one gallon of water weighs 7 pounds. Make sure you’re up for the effort and don’t strain yourself.
  • A wet-dry vacuum is better. If you have one, or can rent one quickly, use it. A typical consumer-grade wet-dry vacuum can pump out at least 5 to 10 gallons per minute. Many have suction attachments to skim the floor/carpet, too.
  • Push it out. Once the main volume of water is removed, if there’s an exterior door nearby use a floor squeegee to push remaining puddles outside. A push broom also works.
  • Mop and sop. For residual water on a hard floor, repeated mopping will get most of it. Old towels are also good for soaking up small stuff.
  • Now ventilate. Open windows and run fans to move air continuously through the room. Run the air conditioner to remove indoor humidity if temperatures permit.

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.

Remove Clutter NOW Before You Have A Flooding Issue

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

cluttered homeClutter happens, often without occupants of a home even being fully aware of it. Stuff seems to multiply when your back is turned. Sorting out the accumulation and storing or discarding surplus items slips further and further down the to-do list. As the stockpile increases and household disorder proliferates, however, the potential for exacerbated water damage also mounts. Here are three reasons why reducing clutter is a worthwhile DIY project to prevent water damage and its consequences:

  • Clutter makes water damage harder to detect. Stacks and boxes of miscellaneous items in certain rooms like the basement obstruct the view of early signs of impending water damage such as dripping plumbing pipes or infiltration of water from outdoors. By the time the problem becomes visible, damage may be well advanced and other consequences such as toxic mold growth have already taken hold.
  • Clutter absorbs water, making clean-up harder. Often, items stored are paper, clothing, cardboard and other absorbent materials. If a leak or flooding occurs, water can be quickly and efficiently extracted from a clear, unobstructed floor space. If the floor of the room is occupied by clutter that has absorbed large amounts of water, conversely, water damage remediation becomes more labor-intensive, takes longer to complete and is more expensive.
  • Clutter increases the potential for toxic mold growth, even without a significant water damage event. Mold doesn’t require indoor flooding to grow. Residual moisture from any source, including chronic high indoor humidity is sufficient. In a room stacked high with clutter, air circulation is insufficient to evaporate dampness naturally. Residual moisture from humidity may spawn active mold. Paper products and fabrics that are frequently included in clutter also provide cellulose which feeds mold. Because mold growth is typically hidden from sight by the disarray, it can thrive and become an ongoing source of contamination that spreads throughout the house.

 

3 Common Causes of Bathroom Flooding And How To Prevent Them

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

flooded bathroom
Because a bathroom typically contains more fixtures utilizing running water than any other room in the house, bathroom flooding is an all-too-common occurrence. Bathroom flooding can be particularly problematic because bathrooms are often located on an upper level. Water may migrate vertically, seeping through the subfloor and the ceiling below, causing expensive structural issues. Average damage due to bathroom flooding is over $10,000, making it one of the more costly home water damage events. Here are three common causes:

Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet bowl usually results from a clog, often caused by attempting to flush paper products (or other objects) that are not meant for the toilet and do not disintegrate in water. To minimize damage, take these steps:

  • Know the location of the toilet water shutoff valve. Check it occasionally to make sure it turns freely.
  • If the bowl fills unusually high after one flush, don’t flush it again! This can cause an overflow. Consider it clogged and either plunge the toilet with a toilet plunger or call a plumber.
  • Often, overflows begin after the person has left the bathroom. After each use, linger a moment to make sure the toilet flushes fully and refills properly.

Stall Leakage

A shower stall incorporates a built-in pan concealed underneath it to catch leaks and divert water down the drain. Over time the pan may degrade and no longer hold water. If a leak develops in the stall or surrounding wall, water may escape and seep through the subfloor and the ceiling below, as well as flow out horizontally. If you notice water pooling on the bathroom floor after showering, or water stains on a ceiling, call a plumber.

Ruptured Supply Lines

Water supply lines in under-sink cabinets that feed bathroom faucets aren’t conspicuous. However, they can cause major damage. Drips or “minor” leakage is not normal. It’s a red flag that a total rupture and bathroom flooding could happen at any time. Close the water shutoff valve adjacent to the pipe and call a plumber.

 

Flood Cleanup: Professional Content Drying And Cleaning Methods

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

flooded homeContent drying and cleaning technology have raised water damage mitigation to a science. Today, a trained specialist armed with advanced methods makes recovery a precision process guided by exacting measurements with specialized equipment. This eliminates guesswork and produces a consistent, predictable outcome.

Water damage quickly expands away from the point where it originates inside a home, spreading liquid intrusion in often unpredictable ways. Effective water damage remediation requires use of advanced tools and expertise to accurately map moisture wherever it moves, then dry it to recognized industry standards.

Mapping Wetness

The drying process of wet areas can be tracked and verified at intervals utilizing moisture meters, thermo hygrometers, infrared imaging and other technology to evaluate moisture content and document its extent. These results are compared to a baseline reading to determine the degree of wetness at defined points in the process. This information guides the most effective methods for content drying and cleaning. It also helps evaluate the progress of drying as well as determining the point when the structure is dried to highest standards.

Drying And Cleaning

Professional methods of water damage remediation have advanced far beyond the do-it-yourselfer’s mop and bucket. Specialized hardware is now purpose-built for expedited content drying and cleaning. Examples of equipment now in use include:

  • Rapid suction extractors that take uncontaminated water out of carpeting in place, eliminating the need to strip out carpets and other flooring.
  • Low-grain refrigerant (LGR) dehumidifiers pull water vapor out of interior air, critical to prevent secondary moisture damage.
  • Submersible pumps remove deep accumulation of interior flooding such as inside basements.
  • Air movers circulate a high volume of air, efficiently directed to target specific walls, floors and other surfaces to accelerate drying.
  • Intra-wall drying utilizes small access holes behind baseboards to introduce forced air into wall cavities and dramatically cut drying time and the risk of mold contamination.

Time is of the essence after water damage to effectively eliminate moisture before permanent structural damage as well as toxic mold growth occurs. For more about the benefits of professional moisture content drying and cleaning, contact Rytech, Inc.