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How Do Professionals Handle Water Damage Cleanup

When floods or plumbing disasters strike, water damage cleanup is often required, and it is something that only certified professionals should be allowed to handle. Even after soaked through materials have been removed, excess moisture can leave behind lingering problems. This is particularly true if the moisture has come in with a flood or other contaminated source. Bacteria, viruses, and molds can flourish inside organic materials like carpet, upholstery, drywall and wood, and these microbes can cause serious harm. It is extremely important, then, that a professional restoration crew knows how to remove excess moisture and all of the risks that comes along with it.

What does professional water damage cleanup typically consist of?

Dealing with excess moisture is a serious challenge, so a professional crew will first assess the extent of the damage. Once the source of the moisture has been discovered, the technicians will isolate the work area and remove any standing water immediately. When several inches of moisture are present, such as when a burst pipe floods the basement, commercial pumping systems are needed to get the space as dry as possible. Many crews have submersible and truck-mounted pumps for heavy duty jobs.

Once standing water has been removed, the technicians will survey the area and dispose of any materials that have been destroyed. Normally, any wet and contaminated organic materials will need to be eliminated, but if a crew responds quickly enough, they may be able to save some items. Carpet, baseboards, casings, portions of drywall, plywood, and particle board will not usually survive extended exposure to contaminated moisture, especially if these materials have been soaked through for more than 24 hours. At that point, mold growth can happen rapidly.

What are left should be materials that can be dried and saved, so the restoration crew will aim to wick off as much moisture as possible in as short a time as possible. This is usually accomplished with the use of commercial air movers and high volume dehumidifiers, both of which are capable of restoring the building to a normal moisture content within a few days at best. In some instances, special equipment like heat injectors may be required to dry hard to reach spaces, but dehumidifiers and air movers will normally work well enough. Technicians will monitor the drying process with a moisture meter, which is built with probes designed to be inserted into materials. Once the home has been returned to a normal level of moisture content, the technicians will take apart the work area, clean up, put all of the furniture back where it’s supposed to go, and properly dispose of any refuse.

Water damage cleanup also has to address microbial growth, so technicians who perform restoration will usually be equipped to destroy molds and other microorganisms as well. This is done with special  agents, which are applied to areas suspected of harboring the pathogens. By the time a certified restoration crew is finished working through the home, it will be ready to live in again. A family won’t have to worry about anything lying in wait for them when they return.

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