Recent Water Damage Posts

Primary and Secondary Water Damage

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

A water intrusion can have immediate and long-term effects on building materials and contents such as furniture, electronics, art work, clothing and more.  The immediate effect that water has on materials is known as primary water damage, the long-term effect that water has on materials is referred to as secondary water damage.

Immediate, primary water damage is evident when a large volume of water comes through an upstairs floor and into the ceiling below.  The weight of the water which causes the ceiling to sag and the drywall tape to pull apart are examples of primary water damage.  Another example would be when water comes in contact with particle board which is used to make many types of furniture; the swelling of the particle board is immediate and irreversible.  Materials that are not made to encounter water and suffer immediate damage cause primary water damage.

Secondary water damage occurs over a period of time.  Excess humidity caused by a water intrusion and materials that are hygroscopic, or easily absorb water, are susceptible to secondary water damage.  Secondary water damage includes loss of structural integrity, dimensional changes and microbial growth.

Both primary and secondary water damage can be costly; however, the total impact and dollar value of the loss can be mitigated.  It is important to start the mitigation process immediately, which includes extraction of water, setting drying equipment and implementing controls to prevent secondary damage.  If you are experiencing a water damage emergency don’t delay – call SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange at 919-596-1242 any time, day or night.

Oh No! Water Damage and My Hardwood Floor

5/22/2020 (Permalink)

One of the most common calls our franchise receives is from customers in distress over a water loss event impacting their hardwood flooring.  The #1 question they have is, “Can my floors be saved?”  It is a well-known fact that water causes significant damage to hardwood flooring.  Wood is hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air, and is subject to catastrophic damage if not dried quickly.  Our customers have every right to be concerned, but the answer to the question as to whether the floors are salvageable is not a yes or no response, but depends on numerous variables that must be accessed by our ICRC certified technicians.  These include:

  • Category of water loss
  • Class of water loss
  • Amount of time flooring has been wet
  • Type of hardwoods

Category of water loss simply defined relates to amount of contaminates in the water.  A Category 1 water loss is indicative of clean water from a burst pipe.  A Category 2 water loss contains significant levels of contaminates, such as an overflowed washing machine or dishwasher.  A Category 3 water loss contains gross levels of contaminations including harmful pathogens and toxins and could be the result of sewage or a toilet back flow.  A Category 1 water loss is the most likely category for hardwoods to be saved because the water is clean.  A Category 3 water loss is not salvageable.  However the amount of water impacting the floors, which is indicative of the Class of water loss, has a significant bearing on how much absorption of water the floors will take in and has a direct correlation to flooring damage.

 There are 4 Classes of water loss. The greater the amount of water directly impacting the hardwoods the more likely it is for water to penetrate the joints and impact the sub floor.  Once water is trapped in the flooring joints it would requires specialty drying equipment, making it a Class 4 water loss.  SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County has specialty drying systems to remove moisture trapped in the joints of hardwood flooring.

Time or Duration of Moisture is a huge factor in determining whether hardwood flooring can be saved.  It is imperative to respond immediately.  The longer the flooring stays in contact with the water the more damage it creates limiting the chances of saving the floors.  Hardwood flooring that is mitigated within the first 24 hours has the greatest chance of being salvaged.

The Type of Hardwood Flooring is a critical factor as to whether the flooring can be saved.   Real Hardwood flooring is made out of a single layer of wood, and is salvageable if mitigated in time and is not a Category 3.  Although water in the subterranean layer will cause the ends to bow upwards a condition called cupping, the floors can be sanded down and refinished.    Engineered hardwood flooring is made of multiple layers of wood going in different directions.  The veneer finish cannot be sanded and refinished.  Often when engineered floors are impacted with moisture the expansion of the wood will result in a cracked finish or the popping up of the wood because it expands in all directions.  With these conditions present, the engineered hardwood flooring cannot be saved. 

Regardless of whether the floors can be saved or have to removed, SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County can help clients through the mitigation and the restoration process, making it "Like it never even happened."

Water Damage and Odor Control

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

One of the first things homeowners often notice in a water damage environment is the persistent, unbearable malodors.  There have been times where homeowners had a small water loss that they felt was unnecessary to call a restoration company to dry because they felt they could easily handle it themselves, until the manifestation of odors forced their hand.  The looming question is why does it seem that water damage and odors go hand in hand?

Moisture is one of the key components in odor creation as microorganisms, such, as mold, fungi, and pathogens and other bio-pollutants need it flourish.  In a water damaged environment the moisture creates a suitable environment for them to multiply.  The organic materials, such as wood, drywall and carpet backing found in homes are the food source these organisms thrive on.  They are already present in most home environments, but at very low levels; because without moisture they are unable to survive.  This is one of the reasons why proper drying to the IICRCS500 standard is necessary for each water damaged environment.  When water is trapped under flooring, behind baseboards, wall cavities, and behind toe kicks of cabinets and is not properly dried it creates the conditions for exacerbated microbial growth and the mycotoxins they release are the odors that are smelt.  These malodors are a warning of danger and it is a well-known fact that water damaged environments can pose serious health risks if not properly mitigated.  The number 1 reason for residual malodors in a water damaged environment is improper drying.

The solution to odor elimination is to remove the source of the odor and this is not done by spraying air freshener and masking the odor.  The well trained water restoration specialists of SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County will not only treat the odor, but will leave you with the peace of mind that your home or business has been returned to a condition 1 , level of dryness, which is the drying goal of the industry standard aforementioned.  SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County will make it "Like it never even happened."

The Dynamic Duo of Air Movers and Dehumidifiers

5/8/2020 (Permalink)

green air mover and green dehumidifier Our signature green air mover and dehumidifier at work.

Like the superhero Batman, who was armed with a utility belt with gadgets to fight crime, every SERVPRO crew chief and technician is armed with a formidable arsenal of air movers, dehumidifiers and the science behind them, to thwart the perils associated with water damage.  The science of water damage mitigation is called psychometrics. 

  • Psychometrics is the scientific relationship between temperature, humidity and air flow.

Understanding the aforementioned relationships allows the SERVPRO team to dry materials quicker and more thoroughly.

When materials such as flooring, walls and ceilings are wet the SERVPRO crew will extract any standing water because the most effective means of drying is removal of the water.  Once the standing water is extracted and areas where trapped water could be located have been opened, the dynamic duo of air movers and dehumidifiers comes into play.

The Air Mover is engineered to create high volume air flow across a wet surface increasing the rate of evaporation which is the process of turning a liquid into a gas.  The air mover alone is not enough, in order to be most effective, adequate temperature and proper dehumidification are required.  The higher the temperature the more moisture molecules the air can hold.  This accelerates evaporation. 

The Dehumidifier is a piece of drying equipment that pulls the moisture created by evaporation out of the air and collects it so it cannot re-evaporate.  Dehumidification also lowers vapor pressure and reduces the relative humidity which allows the wet materials to dry quicker.  Vapor pressure is the force exerted by water vapor (humidity) in the environment.  The area with the greatest amount of moisture will have the highest vapor pressure and it will seek equilibrium or balance.  The danger with this is that moisture created due to water damage in one area will spread and cause secondary damage in adjoining areas if not mitigated properly. 

The SERVPRO team uses the science of psychometrics along with the dynamic duo of air movers and dehumidification to quickly and effectively dry your structure and get you on the road to recovery; making it “Like it never even happened.”

Categories and Classes of Water Damage

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

Not everyone knows that water damage has different categories and classes, and just because it is a low category doesn't mean that is is a low class.

Categories of Water Damage

Assessing the severity of the damage is important for determining what is needed to start the water loss repair and mitigation. 

Category 1 - clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of damage include broken appliances or sink overflows. 

Category 2 - gray water, this means that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness if ingested. This type of water contains microorganisms. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps and seepage may cause category 2 water damage. 

Category 3 - black water, this type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of black water damage include sewage problems and contamination of standing water. 

Classes of Water Damage

The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options.

Class 1 is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation.

Class 2 has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage. 

Class 3 has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture. 

Class 4 requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster and concrete. 

If your home or business experience a water loss or water damage, call us here at SERVPRO of South Durham and Orange County, the leading water removal and restoration company, dedicated to protecting your biggest investment, at 919-596-1242.