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Rytech’s Residential Water Damage Service

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Statistics show that residential water damage service of some type is required by about 14,000 homeowners every day. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage constitutes about 24% of all homeowner’s insurance claims and the average water damage claim is now around $10,900. The most common incidents that require professional water damage service include:

  • Leaking or ruptured plumbing pipes
  • Appliance defects or malfunctions such as a burst water heater or broken washing machine hoses
  • Roof leaks
  • Storms that include localized flooding
  • Sewage backups

First Things First

Because time is an important factor in minimizing the extent of damage, certain steps should be taken immediately if the need arises:

  • Turn off the water supply to the house at the main valve. If you don’t know its location or how to operate the valve, ask a plumber.
  • Stay out of rooms where water may have contacted electrical outlets or components.
  • Contact professional residential water damage service providers as well as your homeowner’s insurance agent.

Stages of Residential Water Damage Service

While any particular incident may impose slight variations, the typical sequence of water damage recovery can be broadly expressed in six stages:

  • Stage 1 – Emergency response. Reputable water damage recovery professionals are prepared to respond 24/7/365.
  • Stage 2 – Inspection. Room by room inspection to assess the type and extent of water damage.
  • Stage 3 – Water removal. A rapid removal of standing water from the structure using powerful extractors and pumps.
  • Stage 4 – Drying and humidity reduction. Residual moisture must be identified and dried utilizing air movers and professional dehumidifiers.  
  • Stage 5 – Cleaning and sanitization. Surfaces that were wet should be sanitized with antimicrobial solutions to prevent mold contamination.  
  • Stage 6 – Restoration. Removing and replacing damaged building materials—drywall, subflooring, ceiling materials, insulation, etc.—that were saturated by water and cannot be effectively dried. Electrical circuits may also require replacement. 

Water Damage Technologies

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

If a water damage incident occurs in your home, you’ll want the most up-to-date water damage technologies to restore the house rapidly and thoroughly. In most cases, effective water damage recovery requires much more than a mop and a bucket to blot up a small puddle. Identifying the extent of damage, then locating and removing all the moisture—seen and unseen—is vital to stop the ongoing process in its tracks and restore a safe, healthy indoor environment.

An array of water damage technologies are utilized by trained, certified restoration professionals. Here are some examples of the tools that get the job done today:

  • Rapid extraction. Fast water extraction is a priority to remove the largest amount of water inside a home and halt the ongoing damage process, ASAP.  Powerful water extractors can remove even deep standing water at a rapid rate of multi-gallons per minute. If the water is not contaminated, sub-surface extractors can be utilized to lift water out of carpets and even the padding underneath without removing these materials.
  • Continuous dehumidification. After water escapes, water may spread widely throughout the entire structure, spreading damaging moisture and inhibiting the drying process. Professional dehumidification equipment can remove hundreds of pints of water from indoor air each day. These units run continuously during the restoration process to sustain a super-dry indoor environment that, with the help of high-volume air movers,  pulls vaporized moisture out of the structure rapidly.
  • Moisture detection. Locating and removing all moisture inside a home is a challenge after substantial water damage. Today’s water damage technologies include moisture meters to identify areas still affected by water as well as confirm the state of dryness after a restoration procedure. The most common type utilizes sharp insulated pins that can be inserted into building materials, penetrate wall voids, check beneath baseboards, and test other locations to detect moisture where it hides.
  • Moving air. Keeping the air in motion throughout water damage recovery speeds the drying process. Multiple high-volume air movers provide rapid, directional airflow that can be aimed across wet surfaces, including walls and flooring, to provide continuous drying to targeted areas.

Water Damage Common Causes for Restoration

Tuesday, May 25th, 2021
water damage

If a common water damage incident occurs in your house, is restoration by qualified professionals always necessary? Maybe so, maybe not. Water can affect a structure in a spectrum of severity ranging from relatively minor events to widespread, extreme damage. In certain cases, fast action by homeowners to stop a minor source of water, then remove the small amount of moisture present before it spreads further, may be sufficient to avoid the need for professional restoration.  

However, there are many other causes and scenarios that make the services of professional water damage recovery experts necessary. If water damage is enough to trigger an insurance claim, for example, most homeowners insurance companies require restoration by certified professionals. Common causes that make the difference between a possible DIY scenario and one which requires water damage restoration experts include:

Amount of Water

If water released does not exceed a small pool on a hard surface floor and has not migrated beyond that limited location, timely clean-up with mops and drying with fans may be sufficient.  

If the water volume is sufficient to seep under baseboards and spread into other rooms, penetrate flooring material, or drip through ceilings into rooms below, qualified water damage recovery services are required. If carpet is present and saturated, this is also often an indicator for professional services.

Source of Water

If water originates from tainted sources like an overflowing washing machine or toilet—or it is the result of a sewage backup—this is a potentially hazardous scenario and requires professional water damage recovery.

If the damage is caused by outdoor flooding, all floodwater is considered toxic and restoration must be handled by properly equipped, certified personnel.  

Duration of Damage

Once water from any source has been present in a house for 48 hours, the requirement for specialized mold remediation becomes more likely. Active mold growth requires proven, effective techniques to sanitize affected surfaces and building materials and prevent the spread of contamination throughout the entire house. Restoration of a mold-contaminated house is always a job for professionals.

Typical Cost of Water Damage

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
cost of water damage

Water damage restoration is not a rare event in American homes. Over one-third of households in the U.S. have filed a homeowner’s insurance claim for damage due to water originating from some source. Statistics from one major homeowners’ insurance company show that residences are up to 10 times more likely to incur damage from water than from fire.

In general, the average cost of residential water damage restoration ranges from $2,000 up to $5,000 with a median cost currently at $3,600. At the extremes, damage from a minor incident that is quickly controlled such as a toilet overflow could be less than $800, while a home entirely flooded with over six inches of water would likely exceed $20,000.   

Some of the major factors that influence the cost of water damage restoration include:

  • Type of water. Where the water originates matters. A ruptured plumbing supply line leaking clean water is certainly damaging. However, the cost of remediation by water damage professionals will be substantially less than an incident that involves tainted water such as an appliance overflow—known as “gray water”—or, worse, a sewage backup that is hazardous toxic “black water.” Events involving these categories impose extra complications of removing contaminated water and then sanitizing the structure to make it safe to occupy again.  
  • How far it’s spread. From the outset of a damaging incident, the water’s on the move. Hour by hour, the more time that elapses before intervention by water damage professionals occurs, the deeper water penetrates into the structure and the more costly restoration will be. Reputable water damage recovery firms offer rapid response 24-hours a day in order to limit the spread of water, ASAP.  
  • Active mold growth. Mold contamination is a significant complication of water damage and adds to the cost of remediation. Active mold growth triggered by exposure to moisture generally begins in 24 to 48 hours following water damage. Prompt professional water extraction and drying techniques are critical to reducing costly mold contamination.  

Disaster Strikes! Seconds Count!

Thursday, May 13th, 2021
water damage

Water damage often doesn’t give advance warning and, once it strikes, the clock is ticking. Rapid response by certified water damage professionals is vital to minimize damage as well as ensure the most rapid and successful recovery. Here’s a sample timeline of events if proper professional treatment is delayed:

During the First 60 Minutes

Water rapidly spreads away from the point of origin, seeping under walls, penetrating ceilings into lower floors, and creating a saturated path of damage. Vulnerable items such as papers, books, photos, and artwork contacted by water may be already affected. Water entering electrical outlets or shorting extension cords may trip circuit breakers and shut power off.

After 24 Hours

Various materials affected by water begin to react as damage expands. Drywall absorbs water readily and begins to deform, but, if drying starts quickly, it can be saved. Laminated wood items in the house deteriorate as glues in the wood are dissolved by water. Fabrics in contact with water could bleed colors and may cause permanentl stains. HVAC ductwork may now be inundated. The pungent, musty odor associated with water damage becomes noticeable. 

At 48 Hours

Standing water inside the house may start to become contaminated by microorganisms. Paint on wet surfaces may begin to blister and affected doors could swell and become difficult to open or close due to the elevated moisture and indoor humidity. Hardwood flooring starts swelling, and eventually, warping and buckling.

Several Days Later

Depending on the volume and type of water involved, the house may be no longer safe to occupy. Residents, in some cases, may need to temporarily relocate elsewhere. Mold contamination can start to spread and indoor air may become unhealthy to breathe without N-95 face masks. If things continue to progress, the house structure may become unstable as saturated drywall walls and ceilings may collapse without warning. Water-soaked wiring and junction boxes could present electrical hazards. In some cases, the extensive restoration now required means the cost and time frame of recovery are increasing substantially.  The moral of the story is that seconds count in water damage mitigation. 

Ten Critical Steps for Visible Water Ceiling Damage

Tuesday, May 11th, 2021
water ceiling damage

Water ceiling damage is one of the most common and easily identified issues in homes. Because water always flows downward, a number of overhead sources may be to blame. No matter what the cause, what’s indisputable about water ceiling damage is it’s unsightly and shouldn’t be ignored.

Here are 10 steps for identifying and remedying ceiling water damage:

  1. “Sweating” pipes can cause water ceiling damage. Cold water pipes routed through a hot, humid attic form condensation that may drip down onto ceilings.
  2. Be careful. Water ceiling damage can also be hazardous. Severely saturated ceilings may collapse under their own weight.  
  3. Ceilings shouldn’t sag. Soaked ceiling drywall loses structural integrity and deforms, typically sagging downward. This is usually a sign of saturation caused by water ceiling damage.
  4. First, stop the source. Identify potential leak sources above the ceiling or in the attic and take necessary steps to eliminate the water source.
  5. If the room is directly below a bathroom, leakage from a water supply line or a bathtub/shower stall drain pipe is a prime suspect. 
  6. Investigate all stains. Discolorations mysteriously forming on white ceilings are never normal. They may be darkened areas or rusty-colored stains in a variety of shapes and sizes. In most cases, the explanation is water damage.  
  7. Mold growth = water damage. Mold growing inside moist drywall that forms the ceiling often appears as mottled black spots. Moldy discolorations on the ceiling typically indicate water leakage from an overhead source. 
  8. Relieve the pressure. If a portion of a ceiling is saturated and sagging, placing a bucket below the wet spot and punching a hole in the ceiling can drain some of the water.
  9. Replacement may be easier than repair. Replacing water-damaged ceiling drywall may be the quickest and more effective remedy than patching existing material.
  10. Roof leakage into the attic may eventually manifest as water ceiling damage indoors. Ceiling stains may not appear directly beneath roof leaks into the attic because water seepage may travel along attic rafters and other structures before damaging the ceiling.  

What Is Water Damage Triage?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
water damage triage

Water damage triage is the organized process of reversing damage caused by water and restoring a secure, healthy indoor environment to your home as rapidly as possible. Water damage often occurs out of the blue. Faced with snap decisions about what needs to be done first, a homeowner’s understandable response might well be, “Everything!”

Water damage triage applies a standardized method to water damage assessment and remediation, based on scientific research and experience in the industry. Professionals apply established techniques and procedures in a very specific sequence to produce optimum results in the shortest time frame possible.

While water damage triage necessarily varies according to many factors, here’s a general sequence in a typical project:

  • Inspection. Arriving on the scene, a rapid, extensive inspection is conducted to determine the source of the water as well as the extent to which it has spread within the house. Safety is part of water damage triage as electrical hazards in the wet environment and/or structural issues are identified. Moisture meters and other technology are utilized to track down the spread of water in the structure.
  • Removal of saturated material. Items that may retain water, such as soaked mattresses, sofas, throw rugs, and other movable material, are taken out of the house. Saturated drywall, soaked insulation, and other building materials which can’t be dried may also be removed.
  • Eliminating standing water. Using specialized equipment designed for high-volume water removal, all standing water is rapidly removed from the house. Powerful extractors are utilized to pull water out of carpets and even solid flooring. Where deep water exists, such as a flooded basement, submersible pumps are put to work.
  • Drying. Residual moisture inside the house is dried using a combination of high-powered air movers as well as industrial-grade dehumidifiers. These devices run continuously throughout the process to eliminate the remaining water in the structure.  
  • Testing and verification. Throughout water damage triage, moisture meter data and humidity readings track the reduction of moisture inside the house. The structure must meet published industry standards for dryness before the project can be concluded. 

What Is Water Damage Restoration?

Thursday, April 29th, 2021
water damage restoration

Water damage restoration is one part of the process of remediating the effects of water on your home. While water damage typically appears to occur as a single incident, two distinct phases are involved in returning your house to a restored and healthy living environment.  

First, Mitigate

Water damage mitigation is always performed first. It’s the process that includes extracting the water and drying the premises, getting damaged furniture and other saturated items out of the house, cleaning and ensuring that the structure is safe to inhabit.

Professional mitigation involves an array of specialized technology, purpose-built for water damage recovery. This includes powerful water extraction, high-volume drying and dehumidification equipment, and moisture detectors to track down all water present in the structure, wherever it exists.

Then, Restore

Water damage restoration is what comes after all the water is gone. Steps in the process differ according to variables such as the origin of the water as well as the materials and systems in the house that were affected.

Here are some typical aspects of restoration:

Replacing Damaged Structures

Drywall is a major construction material composing walls and ceilings in homes. Drywall is very absorbent and, once saturated with water to any substantial extent, the material is no longer structurally sound. Large portions of soaked drywall may not be effectively dried and could require replacement.

Standing water inside a room may have penetrated flooring materials such as hardwood and tiles, saturating the wooden subfloor beneath. The flooring may require removal in order to dry or replace the subfloor.  Professional mitigation experts will attempt to dry the materials in place before removing them.

Attic insulation saturated by water from sources like a roof leak will generally not dry in place. While fiberglass batts may be removed and dried, cellulose loose-fill insulation is generally ruined by water exposure and must be replaced.

Mold Remediation

Cleaning affected surfaces, HEPA vacuuming and applying EPA-approved antimicrobial solutions to prevent mold is another aspect of water damage restoration. Air samples may be taken to identify the presence of active mold growth triggered by water damage as well as confirm that remediation procedures are successful. 

Verifying Dryness

Moisture inside the house is continuously tracked by recording humidity levels in indoor air as well as testing structural materials with moisture meters. The house will not be considered fully dried until testing meets industry standards for dryness established by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification

Home Repair of Water-Damaged Items

Thursday, March 18th, 2021
water damage repair

Because most of your home’s interior is not waterproof, water damaged items may be numerous and wide-ranging after indoor flooding from any cause. The source of the water is an important determinant, as well as the elapsed time before professional water damage recovery begins. Here’s a general overview of typical water damaged items and how they may be repaired—or not.

Carpets and rugs. If water is from a clean source, water damage recovery professionals may use extractors to remove water and dry carpets and rugs. However, in many cases, the padding beneath carpet requires replacement and cannot be repaired. If water is contaminated drying and repair of wet carpets may not be feasible or worth the cost.

Drywall. In some instances, drywall on walls can be successfully dried. However, several factors such as type of water damage, length of time drywall has remained wet, and construction materials behind drywall will impact the likelihood of drywall walls needing to be removed, or dried in place. Affected drywall in ceiling and/or walls are water damaged items that can be repaired by cutting out small segments and replacing with new material. However, because drywall is usually readily replaceable, larger segments affected by water damage should be treated by removal and replacement with new material.

Tile and flooring. Repairing versus replacing most flooring depends largely on whether water has penetrated into the subfloor. Wet wooden subflooring swells and dislodges flooring materials. It’s also subject to rotting and mold. Therefore tile and flooring need to be removed and subflooring professionally dried. Certain flooring types may be reinstalled after subfloor drying, others require replacement.

Furniture. Wet furniture should be removed from the house. Commercial wood cleaning products can be used to clean wooden furniture and items slowly dried, away from sunlight. Water damaged items that are upholstered or include cushions are less likely to be economically salvaged, depending on the origin of the water and elapsed time since items were wet.

Appliances. If flooding was only a few inches, most major appliances can be saved. However, all should be checked before turning the units on. If water was deep enough to enter internal spaces in the unit and/or contact controls, motors, electrical circuitry, or gas valves or burners, these water damaged items should be replaced.  

How Serious Is Your Water Damage?

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021
water damage

All water damage is not created equal. Among the first tasks confronting water damage recovery professionals is an assessment of the severity of the incident in order to develop a recovery plan that addresses specific circumstances. To know what to expect in the recovery process, here are some of the factors in evaluating water damage to a typical home.

  • Extent of damage. Is the water limited to a single room? If water is pooled on a hard floor and has not yet spread under walls, the recovery process is generally uncomplicated. Conversely, if the water has spread and penetrated deeper into the structure, or if upstairs water damage is also affecting rooms downstairs, remediation will be more extensive.
  • Type of water. Classification of water involved is a major determinant of recovery techniques required. Water damage from a clean source like a broken supply line that occurred less than 48 hours ago—known as Category 1 water—is usually uncontaminated and remediation is straightforward. Category 2 water originating from an overflowing appliance or a roof leak, for example, is considered slightly contaminated. Raw sewage—Category 3 damage—is dangerously toxic and requires specialized techniques for removal followed by intensive decontamination procedures.  
  • Structural issues. Wet drywall is structurally unsound and may collapse. In most cases, portions or all of the saturated drywall panels in walls and ceilings require replacement. Examples of other structural issues include a flooded basement that may be damaged by the weight and volume of water and storm damage to roofing materials.
  • Electrical factors.  If water has entered electrical outlets, contacted the main circuit breaker panel or major electrical appliances, safety is the initial concern. After electricity to affected areas or the entire home has been shut off, recovery can proceed. Because many electrical components such as wiring inevitably corrode after contact with water, inspection is required and potential replacement may be necessary.
  • Mold contamination. If 48 hours have elapsed since water damage affected the house, mold growth is presumptive. Professional mold decontamination techniques must accompany the recovery process.