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7 Things to Know About Water Damage Mitigation

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020
water damage mitigation

Professional water damage mitigation is a science, backed up by ongoing research and development of new techniques and technology. For homes and other structures affected by water and accompanying consequences such as mold, our goal is a safe, healthy, and fully restored indoor environment. While each job is approached as an individual project, certain fundamental facts apply to the process of water damage mitigation overall. Here’s a sample of things every homeowner should know:

  • About 65% of water damage incidents originating indoors result from a plumbing system failure—usually, a ruptured water supply line. Appliance or fixture overflows are the number two most common cause and ruptured/leaking water heaters are third.
  • Water damage is a dynamic process. As the clock ticks, water penetrates ever-deeper into the structure of a house, saturating absorbent materials and triggering toxic mold growth.  
  • The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has three categories of water damage. Category 1 is clean water from a sanitary origin such as a ruptured pipe. Category 2, known as “gray water,” refers to sources tainted with bacteria such as an overflowing washing machine or dishwasher. Category 3 “black water” is highly toxic sewage requiring extensive decontamination methods.
  • Drywall often doesn’t dry well. In just three hours, a half-inch of water contacting the bottom edge of a sheet of common drywall will be absorbed six inches upwards into the material. Saturated drywall usually needs to be cut out and replaced.
  • Dormant microscopic mold spores exist everywhere, outdoors and indoors. After contact with moisture, dormant spores begin converting into active toxic mold growth within just 48 hours. Successful mold remediation must, therefore, begin ASAP in combination with eliminating all sources of water and residual moisture.
  • Soaring humidity inside a water-damaged house is a significant cause of secondary damage, even in rooms not contacted by water. Professional dehumidifiers are continuously operated throughout the house and thermal hygrometers are utilized to track the humidity level during the recovery process.
  • Every successful water damage remediation project must meet published industry specifications for standards of structural dryness, indoor humidity reduction, and air sampling for mold contamination.

Repairing Ceiling Water Damage: Six Things to Know

Tuesday, May 12th, 2020

Ceiling water damage is common yet frequently more complex than damage occurring at floor level. In single-story houses, causes of ceiling damage include leakage from plumbing pipes routed through the attic or chronic roof leakage. In multi-level homes, damage affecting a downstairs ceiling usually originates from an issue in an upper floor—typically a bathroom—involving an overflowing bathtub or a leaking water supply pipe to a bathroom fixture. The trend toward locating laundry rooms on an upper level has also resulted in more ceiling damage downstairs due to washing machine overflows and ruptured washer supply lines.  

Ceiling water damage may manifest as simply a conspicuous stain on the ceiling, sagging ceiling drywall, or water dripping into the room below. Once the water source is identified and stopped, repairing ceiling water damage involves these steps:

  • Most residential ceiling panels are drywall that readily absorbs water. Saturated drywall permanently loses structural integrity even when dried and typically must be replaced. Usually, only the affected section will need to be cut out, rather than removing the entire ceiling.  
  • Once the ceiling is opened up, the interior structure must be thoroughly dried utilizing high-volume air movers. These units may be raised on scaffolds or other supports in the affected room in order to properly direct airflow.
  • In addition to drying, wooden structural components inside the ceiling must be inspected to determine if rotting or other deterioration has occurred. This includes the underside of the floor above in a two-story house as well as wooden ceiling joists. Any affected parts must be replaced.
  • In a single-story house, attic insulation above the ceiling leak may also be saturated and require removal and replacement.
  • After drying is confirmed with moisture meters, the affected area inside the ceiling should be treated with biocides to prevent mold growth.
  • New drywall ceiling material is cut to size, then installed with screws into the ceiling joists. The joint between the new material and the existing ceiling is taped, then covered with joint compound and primed. Usually, the entire ceiling is then repainted.

Can I Stay Home During Water Damage Restoration?

Thursday, April 16th, 2020
water damage restoration

If your home requires professional water damage restoration services, should you make reservations at a nearby motel or resolve to remain in the house during the process? Damage due to water is unsettling enough, without having to think about temporarily relocating elsewhere while the recovery process is underway. 

Still, there are definitely times when trying to maintain a normal routine inside a house with significant damage is impractical as well as inconvenient. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best decision.

Where did the water originate?

Water directly from a clean source (Category 1) such as a broken water supply line usually presents fewer issues, should you opt to remain in the house. Water from less-than sanitary sources (Category 2) like washer overflows or roof leakage may still permit occupation of the house but may require closing off certain areas for a limited time, making life less convenient. Category 3 water damage—from toxic sources such as a raw sewage backup into the house—may require temporary relocation for your health and safety.

How extensive is the damage?

Category 1 or 2 water affecting only one room or a limited area of the house is usually something most people can live with while restoration is underway. However, widespread water throughout the home, such as occurs due to major flooding, may present electrical and structural issues as the recovery process is ongoing. In that case, you’ll probably be more comfortable and safer elsewhere.

Can you deal with the disruption?

Professional water damage restoration crews are trained to go about their work efficiently, respecting privacy, and causing as little disturbance to residents as possible. However, the fact is, remediating significant water damage requires the use of powered equipment, including water extractors, high-volume air movers, and indoor dehumidifiers, as well as various manual procedures and tasks crews must perform to get the job done. Any of these factors might potentially disrupt normal peace and quiet and put a crimp on daily activities. Just keep it in mind when considering whether to stay or go. 

How to Prevent Carpet Mold After Water Damage

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Carpet mold is a common consequence in the aftermath of water damage. A carpet presents a perfect environment for mold growth. The fibers capture dormant airborne mold spores present in any home. Microscopic bits of cellulose—mold’s favorite food—are also attracted and retained in carpeting by static electricity. Moisture, then, is the only missing element. Once water damage occurs, soaked carpeting will often spawn mold growth in 24 to 48 hours.

Simply allowing carpet to air dry is not enough. Drying a wet carpet does not eliminate the inherent mold potential. Here are some standard steps to prevent carpet mold:

  • Not all wet carpet is an appropriate candidate for cleaning and mold disinfection. If water damage is Category 3 “black water” — raw sewage from a backup or outdoor flooding that inundated the house—the carpet is toxic and typically needs replacement.
  • The process must begin ASAP. The mold clock is ticking as soon as water contacts the carpet.
  • Remove standing or pooling water on the carpet with a wet/dry vacuum.
  • Powerful water extractors pull deeper water out of the carpet and, in some cases, out of the padding beneath, as well. If water damage is Category 1, originating from a clean source like a broken water pipe, professional extraction methods may eliminate the need to pull up the carpet and remove the padding. If Category 1 water has remained in the carpet for more than 24 hours, however, or if the water originated from a contaminated Category 2 or 3 source, the padding may need to be removed and replaced.
  • Steam cleaning—not just hot water extraction—provides superior mold decontamination. Professional carpet steam cleaners inject steam above 212 degrees, high temperatures necessary to kill mold growth. Most pro steam cleaning units can also inject mold disinfectants along with the steam, as well as deodorants.
  • Professional air-moving equipment designed to direct high-volume air across the surface of carpet and floors should be utilized to rapidly dry the carpet after cleaning. To support drying, dehumidifiers should be kept running in the affected room.
  • Moisture meters should be utilized to confirm that the carpet is fully dried.

What Is the Worst Type of Home Water Damage?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
home water damage

 If it’s your home that’s affected, there’s no such thing as good water damage. Even damage from a common source like a broken supply pipe is an emergency requiring professional intervention with proven, specialized techniques and equipment. But, of all potential water damage incidents, what’s the worst-case scenario? If you exclude events like catastrophic outdoor flooding from a hurricane storm surge, many homeowners might agree that a severe sewage backup is about as bad as it gets.  

What’s So Bad About It?

A significant volume of raw sewage—appropriately called “black water”—flowing backward into a home is an indoor toxic waste spill contaminating everything it touches. In addition to issues common with  Category 1 “clean water” damage, sewer backups also impose health hazards associated with bacterial and viral pathogens in sewage, noxious unsafe air, nasty odors, and the fact that saturated porous items—including structural materials like drywall—usually cannot be disinfected and must be disposed of. Often, the home will need to be evacuated until professional remediation is concluded.

Why Does It Happen?

Sewage backups typically result from two causes:

  • A blockage in the sewer line between the house and the street, causing wastewater to reflux back into the home.
  • A widespread event in the municipal sewer system such as inundation by heavy rain, causing city sewage to flow backwards into houses.  

How to Reduce the Risk

To avoid enduring the damage and disgust of a sewage backup, here are two strategies:

Get a sewer line inspection by a licensed plumber. An internal pipe inspection utilizing a video camera may reveal hidden issues that trigger sewage blockages and backups, including:

  • Tree root intrusion, the most common cause of sewage backups.  
  • An ongoing blockage caused by flushing inappropriate items, like paper that is not approved for sewage systems.
  • A collapsing sewer pipe.  

Install a sewer backflow valve. Typically placed in the sewer line just outside the house, this safety device permits sewage flow in only one direction—away from the home. Should the flow reverse for any reason, the backflow valve automatically closes to prevent raw sewage reflux into the house.

Four Worst In-Home Plumbing Disasters

Thursday, December 19th, 2019
Plumbing Disasters

A plumbing emergency is a special kind of crisis. If leakage is limited to a small pool on the hard surface floor of a single room, without migrating under baseboards or leaking to a lower level, you may be able to handle clean-up yourself. An amount exceeding that—or any amount of toxic sewage—requires the services of water damage recovery professionals.

Here are four plumbing emergency events you’d rather not experience:

Water Supply Line Rupture

Leakage from only a 1/8-inch crack in a typical indoor water supply line can exceed 250 gallons in a day.  Indoor damage may be widespread. Know in advance where and how to turn off the main water valve to the house if a pipe rupture occurs. Apparently “minor” pinhole pipe leaks can be a red flag warning of impending pipe failure. Call a plumber to diagnose and repair all supply line leaks promptly.

Broken Washing Machine Hose

Rubber washing machine supply hoses become brittle over time. Eventually, they are prone to rupture, releasing hundreds of gallons of water, often before you’re aware of it. It’s a good idea to reach behind the machine and turn off the water valves when the unit’s not in use. Even better is to replace rubber washing machine hoses with braided stainless steel lines that are more resilient and reliable.  

Sewage Backup

Sewage reflux into the house is a toxic contamination issue. Category 3 raw sewage, also known as black water, contains biological and chemical contaminants that present an immediate danger to residents. Clean-up and disinfection must be performed by professionals. Residents should avoid any direct contact with sewage and even breathing the air in contaminated rooms may be hazardous.  

Toilet Overflow

It combines a feeling of panic and embarrassment with an often disagreeable clean-up experience. All residents should be familiar with the water shut-off valve usually located behind the tank, near the floor. If a toilet overflow occurs, turn off the valve as quickly as possible to limit spillage. Once or twice a year, test the valve to make sure it still operates easily.

Five Facts About Water Damage Repair

Thursday, November 28th, 2019
water damage repair

Because water damage inside a home isn’t just a single phenomenon, effective water damage repair requires more than just one approach. Today, techniques to achieve successful remediation incorporate a wide spectrum of procedures and technology to get the job done. Here are some examples of what competent professional water damage repair is and what it isn’t.  

  • It’s a multi-faceted project. Repairing water damage involves more than removing visible water from a house with powerful extractors and controlling water vapor with dehumidifiers. It means using techniques to detect the water you don’t see that soaked deeper into the structure, infiltrating wall cavities and penetrating sub-flooring. Certain saturated building materials may be deemed unsalvageable and must be removed and replaced.
  • It’s not a do-it-yourself thing. Water damage repair also isn’t a job for a well-meaing handyman, the local carpet cleaner, or an all-purpose general contractor. Professional water damage remediation by technicians certified by recognized industry organizations is a specialty that combines effective tools and technology with proven methods based on research and verified results.
  • It’s an evolving event. Damage caused by water doesn’t end when the water source stops. As time elapses, water keeps migrating further from the source of the damage. Water on the move penetrates electrical components, seeps into ductwork, ruins insulation and damages vulnerable possessions. Extreme humidity pervades dry areas of the house, inflicting secondary water damage.
  • It’s a matter of mold, too. Mold growth triggered by water damage is considered inevitable unless proven, effective countermeasures are taken within 48 hours. Indoor air must be sampled to detect active mold spores. Procedures to remove verified mold contamination, followed by disinfecting affected areas with EPA-approved biocides, help ensure that water damage is not followed by toxic mold growth.  
  • It’s not over until it’s over. After water damage repair is concluded, multiple moisture level readings and air samples are taken to verify that the house meets industry standards for dryness and decontamination. One or more brief follow-up visits may be scheduled to repeat these tests and confirm successful remediation.

How Can Water Damage Impact Selling Your Home?

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019
Water Damage and Selling Your Home

Water damage can definitely impact a house’s sale. More than one-third of homes in the U.S. have experienced damage from water at some point in their history. Therefore, this issue is frequently encountered in the real estate marketplace.

Damage in the past is not necessarily a deal-breaker. Less important than the fact that an incident occurred is how the homeowners responded. If remediation was promptly performed by certified water damage recovery specialists, past damage is usually not a major issue affecting the value or sellability of a home.

No Secrets

Until all facts are known, however, damage issues are often considered a red flag by many prospective buyers. The following factors play a role:

  • Buyers have legal rights to be informed about issues that may impact the home’s livability or degrade market value. If a seller fails to disclose known damage on the standard pre-sale disclosure form, he could face civil liability.
  • Pre-sale home inspections are required by most lenders and strongly favored by prospective buyers, as well, including those paying cash.
  • Home inspectors are trained to recognize signs of existing damage, as well as evidence of DIY cover-ups to conceal past water damage that was not properly remediated.
  • If existing damage issues are ongoing and have not been resolved, the value of a home may be substantially reduced. Financing may be problematic and buyers may need to pay cash or qualify for a complex loan that provides both funds for water damage remediation as well as the purchase price of the house. 

Mold Matters

Water damage that is not remediated by qualified professionals rapidly leads to mold contamination. In a home with past damage, mold potential is another x-factor that must be resolved. Separate pre-sale inspections focusing on detecting mold contamination are increasingly common.

If a damage incident occurred in the past, home sellers should expect a separate inspection specifically for the purpose of mold detection. This is particularly true if the seller cannot produce proof that proper restoration was performed by qualified water damage specialists.    

3 Reasons Flood Cleanup is Not a DIY Project

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

So, you’re handy around the house. But what if the house is flooded?  The impulse to take immediate first-person action when faced with distressing water damage to your property and possessions is understandable. However, the fact is, a structure that has been inundated with water requires specific expertise and specialized equipment well beyond the scope of any household chore you’ve tackled before. The determined DIY approach has its place in many home projects, but a flooded house is not that place.  Here are three reasons why:

You’re At Risk

Any structure inundated with water is a danger zone. Hazards faced by water damage remediation professionals include:

  • Electrical danger. Until a qualified electrician has completely disconnected a flooded house from the power grid—including removing the electrical meter if necessary—the risk of electrocution is present.
  • Toxic water and air. Floodwater picks up dangerous substances as it spreads including raw sewage, chemicals and biological hazards.  Inside a flooded house, water is hazardous on contact and the air may be toxic to breathe. Water damage professionals typically wear OSHA-approved full-body protective garb including face masks or respirators, as well as eye protection in the initial stages of the job.
  • Structural hazards. Saturated building materials such as drywall become dangerously heavy and unstable. Structural components may collapse at any time without warning.
  • Vermin infestation. Snakes, rodents and stinging insects may occupy a flooded house and pose dangers.

You’re Not Equipped

Water damage remediation teams utilize professional equipment designed for the job, not all-purpose stuff from a local rental outlet. This includes high-volume air movers, powerful water extractors, and industrial-grade dehumidifiers as well as specialized monitoring technology to track and verify the progress of remediation.

You’re Too Slow

As long as moisture remains inside your house, damage continues to spread and secondary consequences such as mold contamination intensify by the hour. There’s no time for trial-and-error experiments or a casual do-it-yourself learning curve. Professional water damage remediation teams are on-duty 24/7/365 and arrive on the scene already up to speed: fully trained, experienced and equipped to intervene immediately and execute a proven, effective recovery plan, ASAP. 

Why 24-Hour Emergency Service Matters

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

True or false: Water damage always occurs between the hours of 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. Of course, we know that’s not true. As a matter of fact, when water damage strikes your home, it’s most likely to happen at the least expected, most inconvenient time for you. For us, however, we’re always ready to respond with 24-hour emergency service — weekdays, weekends and holidays. We have trained telephone counselors to take your call and a complete team of water damage specialists, fully equipped and ready to roll anytime you need us. More than 20 years’ experience has confirmed that maintaining a fully staffed, 24-hour emergency service is the only way to perform effective water damage mitigation that minimizes losses and fully serves our clients. Here are some reasons why;

  • 24 hour emergency serviceWater damage never sleeps or takes a day off. Random events like a ruptured indoor plumbing pipe or damage from external flooding don’t follow any predictable schedule. So, professionals who take responsibility for mitigating water damage and helping homeowners fully recover from these events must commit to 24-hour emergency service without exceptions.
  • The clock is always ticking. Once water inundation occurs in a home or commercial building, time is not on your side. Water spreads insidiously and relentlessly inside a structure, no matter what time of day it might be. The longer professional water damage mitigation is delayed, the more widespread damage will be and the more likely that possessions and structure will be extensively affected. Waiting until “normal business hours” to get help in these critical emergencies should not be an option any homeowner should have to accept.
  • First water, then mold. Dormant inert spores that exist everywhere activate into toxic growing mold when contacted by moisture. This inevitable natural process occurs over a time span of mere hours. If professional water and mold mitigation techniques are applied in an expedited, time-critical manner, mold contamination, and the long-term consequences that may result from exposure to toxic mold, can be avoided.

For 24-hour emergency service when water damage strikes, contact the professionals at Rytech.