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Water Damage: What to Do Before Help Arrives

Thursday, January 30th, 2020
water damage

Water damage waits for no one. Once the initiating event occurs, a fast-moving timeline is triggered. Water is naturally invasive and spreads rapidly inside structures. When coming face-to-face with a water damage incident in your house, it’s important to take a deep breath, and then do what needs to be done. Here are some important steps in the sequence.

  • Shut off the source. If the water originates from a broken pipe, ruptured water heater or other common plumbing-related cause, turn off water to the house at the main shutoff valve. Be prepared by knowing in advance the location of the shutoff valve. Test it twice a year to confirm that it turns easily. Contact a plumber if it doesn’t.
  • Be careful. Turn off electricity to affected parts of the house at the main electrical panel if it’s in a dry area and safe to access. If you can’t, call an electrician before entering saturated rooms or stepping into pooling water or danger zones like a flooded basement.
  • Make important calls. Two contacts should be made immediately: your homeowner’s insurance provider and a certified water damage remediation company. If you’re unable to immediately reach the insurance company, most insurers realize that the time-critical nature of these incidents requires fast response by professionals and advise summoning qualified water damage experts before contacting the company.
  • Avoid any contact with raw sewage that may be present in a sewage backup incident. Leave it to professionals.
  • Where possible, manually move standing water out of the house. Open exterior doors and use push brooms or floor squeegees to push pooling water outside. Mop up water or blot it up with towels or other absorbent materials.
  • Remove soaked rugs, saturated padded furniture, wet mattresses and other large absorbent materials from the house.
  • Move important papers, photos, paintings, etc, out of wet rooms and into dry rooms furthest from the water to prevent secondary damage due to water vapor.
  • Open windows and run fans to establish cross-ventilation and exhaust damaging high humidity. If it’s operational, run the HVAC system fan continuously to keep air circulating.

Water Mitigation Versus Restoration: What’s the Difference?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
water mitigation versus restoration

Dealing with water damage typically involves two phases: water mitigation and restoration. Most water damage incidents evolve from a time-critical crisis into a more predictable stage of repair and recovery. Research has shown that best results are achievable when this sequence of events is properly managed. In most cases, water mitigation and restoration techniques will be executed by a single company equipped and certified to handle all phases of the process and deliver optimum results.

Read on for definitions of the terms “water mitigation” and “restoration.”  

Mitigation is the fast, first response to an immediate emergency.  It is designed to address present water damage issues and put a stop to the process of further damage. Specialized equipment and proven techniques are immediately applied to address these specific issues:

  • Locate and stop the source of water if it’s still occuring.  
  • Establish safe conditions inside the house by identifying and resolving dangers like electrical hazards or collapsing ceilings.
  • Utilize high-volume water extractors to rapidly remove the major amount of water from the house.  
  • Remove soaked materials such as carpeting, mattresses and other absorbent items from the house.
  • Deploy industrial-grade dehumidifiers to prevent secondary damage due to spread of water vapor.  
  • Protect from further damage if necessary by taking actions such as installing roof tarps, boarding up windows, etc.  

Restoration is the longer-term process of total drying inside the structure, as well as neutralizing secondary effects of water damage. The goal of recovery is to fully restore the indoor environment to the status it was before the water damage incident occurred. These are some of the basic elements:

  • Replacement of permanently damaged materials like soaked drywall and flooring that cannot be restored to previous quality.  
  • Restoring damaged structural areas such as the roof.  
  • Utilizing moisture-detection technology to locate and eliminate any residual moisture in areas such as inside wall cavities and other hidden zones.  
  • Applying mold prevention techniques throughout the house. This will likely include later follow-up air samples to verify that mold is not an issue.
  • Testing to confirm that established industry standards for full drying inside the house have been met.   

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.


Don’t Settle for Anything Less than “Rytech Dry” for Commercial Water Damage Restoration

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

water removalTo meet the standards of commercial water damage restoration, just “dry” isn’t enough. After water damage, a building that appears dry may still harbor covert moisture that continues the ongoing process of structural deterioration. Addressing issues that occur with commercial water damage restoration calls for a higher standard. Rytech Dry takes restoration to the next level to ensure results that stop the progression of water damage immediately and also prevent long-term aftereffects like the growth of toxic mold.

Instead of settling for dry, make sure the job’s complete with the benefits of Rytech Dry:

  • First and foremost, the origin of water damage must be located and stopped. In the absence of outdoor flooding, that may not be as obvious as it seems. Water quickly migrates inside enclosed buildings and may pool far from its origin. Tracing it down often means looking for hidden causes like roof leaks, pipe ruptures and malfunctioning appliances.
  • What kind of water is affecting the structure? If it’s clear water straight from a broken water supply pipe, for example, recovery procedures are typically uncomplicated. However, if you’re dealing with backed-up raw sewage entering the building or inundation due to outdoor flooding, toxic biohazards are present and impose special techniques to neutralize the hazards of microbial contamination during and after the clean-up.’
  • No moisture left behind. After water damage, moisture may still hide in many places inside a commercial facility that appear dry—but actually aren’t. Utilizing moisture-detecting equipment makes it possible to probe suspect areas such as the inside of wall voids and underneath flooring to locate residual moisture. Advanced water extraction equipment and industrial dehumidifiers remove liquid as well as damaging water vapor from the building.
  • When is dry Rytech Dry? Only when scientific test equipment is utilized to track the state of dryness at various points in the recovery process. Moisture measurement criteria developed by the science of drying—called psychometry—determines when the optimum state of dryness exists inside a structure and the building is truly Rytech Dry.

When it comes to commercial water damage restoration, remember that the building isn’t dry until it’s Rytech Dry.


Rytech’s Steps for Drying Out a Wet Basement

Thursday, November 10th, 2016

wet basementThe need for drying out a wet basement is not a rare event in U.S. households. Basement waterproofing methods incorporated in the construction of most older homes have long since lost effectiveness, and water intrusion is now common in these houses. Moreover, the American Society of Home Inspectors tells us that the majority of new residences built today will develop basement leaks within 15 years or less. It’s not just an aesthetic issue, either: Over one-third of all homes with wet basements also test positive for the presence of active mold contamination.

Solving the problem requires a multi-faceted approach to address both cause and effect. Here’s the lowdown about drying out a wet basement.

Identify the Cause

  • Moisture accumulates as excess water vapor in the air condenses on cool surfaces like the concrete floor and cold water pipes typically routed through the basement.
  • Basement leaks where outdoor water infiltrates are the most common cause. The water source may be natural ground water pushing up through the foundation or water permeating the soil around the basement perimeter due to heavy rain, snow melt or overflowing gutters.

Reduce the Effect

  • Ventilating a basement with fresh air helps normalize humidity and temperature and reduce condensation. Installing a dehumidifier does an even better job.
  • Address direct leaks by making sure landscape surrounding the perimeter of the house is graded to divert rain water and snow melt away. Also keep gutters clog-free and install downspout extenders to discharge water at least two feet from the house.
  • Where a high natural water table pushes groundwater into the basement, install a sump pump in the basement floor to automatically remove water as it enters the sump basin.

Find Leaks and Fix Them

  • Fill visible cracks in basement walls and floors with epoxy or polyurethane repair materials specifically formulated for concrete.
  • Apply wall sealant. Basement sealant options range from a secondary coating of waterproof concrete that adheres to the wall, or acrylic waterproofing paints that are applied like standard paint.

Need more advice about drying out a wet basement? Ask the water damage professionals at Rytech, Inc.

Preventing Water Damage: Appliance Maintenance Tips

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

prevent water leadsWhen thinking about ways to prevent water leaks, most people naturally focus on defective plumbing pipes and fixtures. However, appliances are also frequently implicated in residential water damage. In our automated homes, we place a lot of trust in devices like washing machines, refrigerators and water heaters to function flawlessly with little attention. However, most of them receive the same municipal water pressure as other household plumbing and are equally capable of flooding the house in the event of a defect or malfunction. Here are some ways to prevent water leaks from common appliances:

Washing Machines

  • Don’t start the washer and then leave the house. A stuck fill valve or a clogged drain line can cause a catastrophic overflow while you’re gone, inundating the home with hundreds of gallons of water.
  • Shut off the washer’s cold and hot water supply valves when you go out of town.
  • Inspect the cold and hot water supply hoses and connections every six months. Replace these items every five years. Consider replacing rubber supply hoses with braided stainless steel lines for greater reliability.

Water Heater

  • Flush hard water sediment out of the tank annually. Sediment accumulation triggers corrosion and causes early tank leakage or total tank rupture. Water in the tank is under pressure and can cause severe water damage.
  • Schedule regular yearly water heater maintenance by a qualified plumber. He’ll evaluate the condition of the internal anode rod, a vital component that reduces corrosive substances inside the tank and prevents leaks. Anodes may need to be replaced periodically. He’ll also test the function of the temperature and pressure relief valve, a frequent source of minor leaks when it fails to seal properly.

Refrigerator With Ice Maker

  • Verify at least three inches of clearance between the refrigerator and the wall. Refrigerators frequently get pushed backwards, kinking the plastic water supply line and causing it to leak or rupture.
  • Inspect the water supply line and well as its connections and shut-off valve every six months.

Ask the water damage experts at Rytech, Inc. about more ways to prevent water leaks from appliances.

Has a Pipe Burst in Your Home? What You Should Do Immediately

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

When a pipe bursts in your home, it won’t happen at a convenient time. In most cases, the sudden inundation come as a total surprise and the first response is a feeling of helplessness. To minimize water damage to possessions and property, it’s important to move past that stage ASAP and take proactive steps. The quicker you react to this unplanned event, the less complicated eventual recovery will be.

Here are some suggestions for if/when a pipe bursts in your home.

  • burst pipeDon’t search for the source – Avoid wasting critical moments trying to pinpoint the exact location of the rupture. If it’s a typical water supply line, you won’t be able to make any sort of quick fix to stop the flow anyhow.
  • Shut off the water – Know where the main water shutoff is and how to operate it. Immediately upon seeing evidence of a burst pipe, shut off all the water to the house at the main valve.
  • Now call the plumber – You need professional help quickly, so don’t delay summoning a plumber. Don’t try to assess the damage yourself or take DIY measures.
  • Stay out of flooded areas – Water inundation from a ruptured pipe produces several hazards. There’s a severe danger of electrocution as water contacts AC outlets and wiring. In addition, depending on the location and source of the breakage, some of the water itself may be toxic with biohazards or other health threats.
  • Contact water damage recovery professionals – The aftermath of a water pipe burst begins quickly.  Active mold starts growing within hours, spilled water seeps deeper into the structure of the home, and saturated possessions begin to deteriorate. Get a water damage response team to the scene ASAP.

For more steps to take when a pipe bursts, contact the water damage experts at Rytech.

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What’s Involved in Water Restoration? Here’s a Guide

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

water restorationWater restoration involves more than simply returning a structure to the status quo before the flood or other inundation occurred. It means getting a family back into a home or a business on track again. It means salvaging valuable heirlooms or important documents. It means ensuring a long-term healthy indoor environment. All of it happens as the end result of criteria developed with the input of years of experience from water restoration professionals. (more…)

Hiring Water Damage Restoration Company? Tips to Consider to Find the Right Pros

Monday, March 24th, 2014

water damage scrapping roofWhen hiring a water damage restoration company, you want at professional job at a fair price. You want your home and daily routine restored to normal after a stressful water damage event. You want your life back. It’s important to remember, too, that the people you contract to accomplish this will be working inside your home and interfacing with you and your household. For all these reasons and more, do your homework and determine a few of things in advance about the company you hire to get the job done. (more…)

Is Your Basement or Crawl Space Suffering From Water Damage?

Friday, January 17th, 2014

water damageBasement and crawl space water damage often happens slowly and silently. Many people don’t spend much time examining their basement and, let’s face it, when’s the last time you visited your crawl space? While water intrusion upstairs in the living spaces is usually acute and obvious, basement and crawl space water damage can be subtle seepage that homeowners aren’t aware of—until it progresses to the point where it’s affecting the entire house. (more…)